NCAA Response Casts Cloud Over Louisville Basketball

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It appears that the University of Louisville’s pleas for leniency have fallen on deaf ears.

The school had made an attempt to rebut the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations for one Level I and three Level II violations committed by the men’s basketball program. A 70-page document released by the school on Monday showed that the NCAA had all but formally rejected those rebuttals, saying that enforcement staff saw no reason to ease up on Louisville.

The Louisville cases are tied to the college basketball corruption scandal that caught up a number of high-profile programs. Among the most severe violations are allegations that Adidas, through its employees, offered impermissible recruiting benefits. According to CBS Sports, Louisville tried to argue that those impermissible benefits were part of “a criminal conspiracy to defraud the University of Louisville,” and that the school was unwittingly caught up in the scheme. Louisville argued that those violations should be reduced from Level I severity — subject to the harshest penalties — to Level II-mitigated severity. The NCAA disagreed, claiming that Adidas was acting as a representative of the institution’s athletic interests.

"The enforcement staff refers the panel to section II-C-1 of this reply and asserts that Adidas is a representative of the institution's athletics interest," the enforcement staff said in its written reply. "Adidas' financial contributions to the institution's athletics programs were large, formal and well-known by the institution and its athletics department administration. Furthermore, Adidas actively assisted the institution's athletics marketing staff in promoting the institution's athletics department and its athletics teams."

Louisville could be subject to major sanctions as a result of the violations.

“The  enforcement  staff  is  unaware  of  any  factual  information  that  warrants  a  lower  penalty  range for the institution related to the Level I and II violations present in this case,” the NCAA response reads in part.

The institution, which at the time of the violations in this case was under NCAA probation in a stripper scandal that caused it to vacate the 2013 National Championship, could be viewed as a repeat offender, per CBS Sports.


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