Five former members of the University of Louisville basketball team are suing the NCAA, alleging that by stripping their 2013 team of its national title, the association has placed them in a "false light" — a claim similar to defamation, according to a report at si.com.
For the first time in its history, the NCAA vacated a Division I basketball national championship after it determined that a Louisville basketball official had paid an escort thousands of dollars and game tickets spanning five seasons in exchange for providing sex for players and recruits. The association upheld that ruling in February. In addition, Louisville was ordered to vacate 123 wins total from 2011 through 2015, and return all revenue earned through NCAA tournament appearances during that span.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the suit claims that in stripping Louisville of its championship, the NCAA "implied that the Plaintiffs engaged in lewd and lascivious behavior, that the Plaintiffs received improper benefits, that the Plaintiffs competed while ineligible and the Plaintiffs are not champions." The suit seeks a declaration that the players "are completely innocent of any wrongdoing as implied by the NCAA" and that the championships and awards won during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons remain intact.
An attorney representing plaintiffs Luke Hancock, Gorgui Dieng, Stephan van Treese, Tim Henderson and Michael Marra argued at a press conference Wednesday that the NCAA had no authority to investigate the escort scandal — a crime — in the first place. John Morgan all but guaranteed the NCAA will reinstate Louisville's 2013 title. "They’re going to do it," he said. "By God, they’re going to do it if we have to drag them down here by the hair."