CRAWFORD | An Open Letter on the eve of the Louisville NCAA Hearing | sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — An open letter on the eve of the Louisville NCAA hearing.

TO: NCAA, NCAA Complex Cases Unit, Independent Accountability Resolution Panel

WHERE: Secret Underground Lair, Los Angeles, California

RE: University of Louisville secret hearing

On the eve of this weekend’s opening of the NCAA’s independent liability resolution process, the hearing of allegations against the University of Louisville that were first filed four years, eight months and 21 days ago, some thoughts.

We all know what happened. Adidas tried to pay Brian Bowen (or his family) money to attend the University of Louisville, play basketball, and then sign with adidas upon turning pro. We are clear about this. It happened. The FBI investigation is over, as are the federal lawsuits.

We are less clear on some details. But given the back-and-forth in the records, you (the NCAA) are reasonably certain that Louisville’s then assistant coach Kenny Johnson was involved, as well as Louisville’s then assistant Jordan Fair. You have text messages and some bank records from Johnson that look suspicious. You have Fair on an audiotape of the FBI in a meeting discussing a plan.

Interestingly, despite the FBI’s reach and investigative powers, it never got anything on then-Louisville coach Rick Pitino, despite him being the guy they really wanted, apparently. So you, in turn, don’t really have the kind of evidence that would allow you to file a case against him in court, although at a lower standard, you’ve sued him anyway.

Regardless, Louisville will discuss some aspects of this, but it’s a little ridiculous. It’s the old college try, as they say. The rules were broken. And Louisville was on parole, it’s true.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen at that hearing in Los Angeles. If that’s where it is. If there really is an audience. This is all happening in secret, so of course it’s all legit. (Pause to roll eyes).

It should happen in public. It should be taking place without the entire cloak and dagger. But it’s your show.

I would only be interested in knowing, at this point, what is justice like? How is it distributed?

We are 1,724 days after the original claim. The University of Louisville is on its third president since that day. It is on its third athletics director. It’s on its fifth basketball coach – if you count the two acting coaches.

In all that time, he went to an NCAA tournament. He hasn’t won a single NCAA Tournament game. He won just two conference tournament games.

Louisville fired a basketball coach from the Hall of Fame. He parted ways with an athletics director who helped remake his campus and who led him from the US Conference to the ACC.

And my question, nearly 57 months after the allegations were announced, is who exactly are you going to punish?

In fact, this amount of time, in a university environment, is an eternity. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that it takes an average of 52 months to complete a bachelor’s degree program, from first enrollment to course completion.

This process literally took the equivalent of college athletics to an entire generation just to go to an audience. And in Louisville, which has taken more radical steps than any university in this entire process to change its people and culture, the leadership of college basketball and track and field is now at least two administrations removed, and sometimes more.

Which brings me back to the question, on which head will this hammer fall?

Head coach Kenny Payne, who was in Kentucky when these events took place? Athletics director Josh Heird, who was at Villanova? The current Louisville players who were in high school? Louisville acting president Lori Gonzalez, who was in Memphis as vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

About “the institution?” Institutions act on their leadership. And there is no one else in the leadership in Louisville with ties to these events. Still, I know this is how the NCAA has regularly done business in the past, so let’s consider the matter of fairness.

Not a single player involved in this scandal played a minute of basketball for Louisville. Not a single senior administrator who could have been involved in such a scheme – had the university been found to be complicit in the scheme, which it has not – remains. There is no single link to these events, except for the university’s association with Adidas itself.

Has the NCAA decided to sanction adidas for its role in all of this? Did the NCAA have any interactions with the apparel company that started this whole mess?

Louisville did not take any advantage of this scheme (although it was certainly an attempt to gain an advantage from Louisville) and, in fact, deliberately and deliberately redefined its basketball program in reaction to its participation in it. No school in the country has dealt with its program more quickly or harshly after these allegations. No, it didn’t end men’s basketball. It did not condemn the program to death. But it sure did dismember him, and the effects are still being felt.

On the other hand, another show embroiled in this same scandal – whose coach was far more complicit judging by text message evidence – just won the NCAA championship this past April. You probably remember. You gave them the trophy.

If I were Louisville, I would simply summon my defense and be silent. And we all just sat there, one minute for every day this whole ridiculous process took.

Assuming you spend eight hours in session for these hearing days, you would be sitting in silence for 3 and a half days.

That would give everyone time to think about what exactly is the right thing to do here, about what exactly justice looks like in this situation. (Also, there are some minor allegations against another Louisville coach, Chris Mack, included in the more serious charges. I don’t understand how these charges were attached to these charges. It’s like getting a speeding ticket years after the fact, in a murder charge. It’s so ridiculous it’s insulting. But here it is.)

The university will have operated under this self-imposed cloud for nearly 5 years before all this is said and done. He has relegated one of his most visible institutions, men’s basketball, to the status of also played.

That time served is punishment enough. Adding to that would only hurt the innocent.

The NCAA has excelled at doing just that for decades. But with name, image and likeness compensation now the law of the land, isn’t it time for the NCAA and its various watchdog bodies to think about what justice really looks like?

In this case, the process was the penalty. Fair.

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