After five-plus years, the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) Independent Resolution Panel released its ruling on the infractions case against the University of Louisville men's basketball program Thursday, with the program avoiding a postseason ban and other major penalties.
The IARP is responsible for reviewing select complex infractions cases in NCAA Division I athletics. It was created in response to recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball, chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
As reported by UofL News, the university was cleared of almost all allegations of recruiting violations in its men’s basketball program. Louisville was found to have committed one violation, with the IARP concluding that a former assistant coach was knowingly involved in funneling cash to the trainer of a potential student-athlete.
The university received several penalties, including a $5,000 fine, two years probation and several recruiting restrictions.
The university issued a statement that read in part, “…For our University, the Louisville community, our men’s basketball program and our passionate fans, today marks the beginning of a new chapter and we are only looking forward.”
Louisville fans took to social media, lobbying for the vacated 2013 national championship banner to be lifted back into the rafters of the KFC Yum! Center, according to Sports Illustrated.
At a post-ruling press conference, Louisville athletic director Josh Heird said that while there are other priorities for the university to address first, he isn't ruling out a return of the banner.
"For me, it checks this situation [the infractions case] off the to-do list, which allows us to focus on potentially other things on the to-do list," Heird said. "While I'm not gonna sit up here and make any promises, I can tell our fan base, unequivocally, that if there's an opportunity for us to do something along those lines, we're going to try to do it."
The vacation of the 2013 national championship is not tied to the scandal that was resolved Thursday, SI reported. That came as a result of the Andre McGee and Katina Powell sex scandal, leading to the vacation of 123 wins and 2013 title back in June of 2017.
"In all seriousness, 2013 was an extremely, extremely important year to this program," Heird said. "I think everybody knows what happened during March and the first week of April in 2013. While that's never going to be taken away from our fans, from our student-athletes that played in that game, to recognize them is important to me. If there's an avenue to get that done, that's what we're going to try to do."
Rick Pitino, the coach who led Louisville to the 2013 title, was fired following the sex scandal and is now with Iona. He also held a press conference Thursday regarding the IARP's ruling, and said he believes the 2013 banner will one day be back in the KFC Yum! Center rafters.
"I believe the championship banner will be hung again. I believe the 2013 national championship will be recognized again because I believe in the NCAA," he said. Pitino also noted that if the IARP was involved in the case that resulted in the banner coming down in the first place, that it "would still be hanging today."
According to SI, Louisville announced earlier this week that, as part of their theme games for the 2022-23 season, they will "honor the iconic 2013 team with various promotions and recognitions" during their Feb. 18 matchup with Clemson.