Ever since the NCAA denied Louisville’s final appeal nearly two years ago, Cardinal basketball fans have been clamoring for the school to put something inside the KFC Yum Center that could pay homage to U of L’s 2013 national championship without explicitly breaking the rules of the NCAA’s punishment.
The powers that be within the Cardinal athletic program have been listening.
U of L announced Tuesday that a new banner honoring Louisville’s three Final Four Most Outstanding Players will be unveiled during the team’s home game against Michigan on Dec. 3. Those three players — Darrell Griffith (1980), Pervis Ellison (1986) and Luke Hancock (2013) — will be honored during a ceremony at halftime of that game.
“Our legacy of championship basketball includes many great teams and individual players,” said U of L athletic director Vince Tyra. “This is an opportunity for the university to permanently recognize, and show our appreciation for, the achievements of three former greats who pushed themselves and their team to the highest level of play. Our fans and their teams will never forget their success nor their teams’ success.”
Would Louisville be creating a banner to honor its three MOPs if the NCAA hadn’t forced the school to take down its 2013 title banner? Of course not. Is it ridiculous that the NCAA thinks removing a piece of cloth has the same effect as that flashy memory-eraser from Men in Black? Of course it is. Do I love this not-so-subtle middle finger to both the NCAA and the idea that vacating records is a punishment that has any place in sports? Of course I do.
Long live the MOP banner. Let’s unfurl that bad boy and then add another name to it here in a few months.