On Monday, the University of Louisville made public (with redactions, of course) its 75-page response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations related to the FBI’s
1974 2017 probe into the world of college basketball.
In addition to the document — which you can read here — U of L also released an accompanying statement:
If you’re looking for the skinniest summary possible, here’s my best attempt ...
U of L’s main and most important defense is also the most obvious one. The school is going all-in with the “these Adidas employees who were convicted in federal court of defrauding U of L can’t possibly be considered U of L representatives” argument. Mike Glazier essentially said all the same things in his response for Kansas, who he’s also representing through this process.
They also argue and provide supporting evidence that no one associated with U of L had any idea what Christian Dawkins and the boys were up to. The lone exception is the Las Vegas meeting with Jordan Fair, where a “scheme” was presented to Fair that he promptly ignored and never followed back on.
Getting the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions — or, far more likely, the IARP — to agree that this label of university representative “defies common sense” is, realistically, the only way Louisville could avoid receiving “the hammer” when all is said and done.
U of L served up two other arguments that did surprise me.
The first is that they strongly went to bat for Rick Pitino, vehemently denying that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance, which the NCAA alleges in one of its “Level I Violation” charges.
The second is that U of L outright denies that the infamous payment between associate head coach Kenny Johnson and Brian Bowen Sr. ever took place. It highlights the fact that Bowen twice told investigators that Johnson never gave him any money, and only changed his story when he was on the stand during the federal trial. U of L also cites Johnson’s bank transitions as further evidence that Bowen Sr.’s story is bogus.
Next up: Sixty (55 now) days for the NCAA to respond, an agreed upon set of facts, and then an appearance in front of the infractions committee. OR, at some point during this time, U of L will choose to go the IARP route.
As for what this response means in the grand scheme of things, I’m going to stick to the mentality I’ve had since this whole thing started and continue to expect the worst. If you want to be more optimistic, that’s certainly your right as a fan, but I’m not sure what event that has happened over the last five years could lead you to that warm and sunny place.
The NCAA knows its image is in shambles, and it knows Louisville remains an easy target that the public won’t rush to defend. I hope I’m wrong, but I think that one sentence is going to wind up being all you need to know.