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Pitino Subpoenaed as Part of FBI Investigation

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Former University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino received a grand jury subpoena as part of the FBI's investigation into college basketball recruiting, his lawyer told The (Louisville) Courier-Journal on Wednesday.

Steve Pence, Pitino's lawyer, said, "We've already acknowledged that the coach has a subpoena and he's gathering documents for the ... U.S. attorney."

He added that he thought he previously disclosed that information in the packet submitted to the University of Louisville Athletic Association that contained an affidavit from Pitino, the results of a lie detector test and copies of text messages sent to an Adidas executive and a sports agent who were arrested as part of the investigation.

However, a Courier-Journal review of those documents shows no mention of the word "subpoena." The affidavit does say Pitino voluntarily spoke with the FBI.

Dawn Dearden, spokeswoman for the U.S. District of New York, said she could not comment on the "existence of grand jury subpoenas."

University of Louisville athletics spokesman Kenny Klein declined to say whether anybody at the university received one.

Pence downplayed the existence of the subpoena, and he has not answered what documents Pitino is specifically gathering for the U.S. attorney.

"If the FBI thinks you have anything, like on your phone or any records, they don't issue a subpoena, they issue a warrant and they take it, so you can't destroy anything," Pence said.

It remains unclear if former Louisville assistant coach Jordan Fair or suspended associate head coach Kenny Johnson have also received a subpoena in the case. Neither Fair nor Johnson's attorneys responded to requests for comment Wednesday.

Pitino was fired as head coach of the Louisville men's basketball team this week in the wake of the university learning it is included in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting.

"We felt our initial decision ... was still in the best interest of the university," Louisville interim President Greg Postel said at the time.

Pitino also saw his Adidas contract terminated hours after being fired by the school. In response, he filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky alleging the apparel company deliberately damaged his reputation.

The FBI complaint accuses Adidas of attempting to funnel money to the families of two Louisville recruits in return for them to attend the university, sign with Adidas and hire certain advisers when those players turned pro.

Adidas spokeswoman Maria Culp said in a statement this week, "Pitino's lawsuit is clearly a reaction to his termination yesterday and is without merit."

Jurich fired: Tom Jurich was fired with cause as Louisville athletics director on Wednesday after a vote by the school's board of trustees.

The board of trustees voted 10-3 in favor of letting go of Jurich, who had been in his position for nearly two decades.

The meeting was in closed, executive session for roughly three hours before the board made its vote just after 4:30 p.m.

"On behalf of the board of trustees, we thank those who have taken the time to write us in the past weeks," Louisville interim President Greg Postel said in a prepared statement. "Your passion and support for the University of Louisville will ensure that our best days are ahead of us. To our students, faculty, staff and Cards fans, this is our opportunity to demonstrate the unity and integrity that define being a Louisville Cardinal."

Then, Postel added, "When I walk around campus I'm always inspired when I see a student wearing one of our T-shirts that reads, 'Rise to the Occasion.' Right now, we need to challenge ourselves to do just that."

None of the trustees spoke when offered the chance in the meeting, and none answered questions from reporters.

Papa John's founder John Schnatter, a trustee who has had tensions with Jurich in the past, said as he left the meeting that he would not comment on his vote to fire Jurich.

In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, Jurich's lawyers said he instructed them to "vigorously defend his rights and reputation under his longstanding contract with the University of Louisville."

"We are disheartened by the actions taken by the University of Louisville Board of Trustees this afternoon against athletics director Tom Jurich," his legal team said in a statement.

"We believe that their vote to terminate his contract was done in haste with inaccurate information that should have had no bearing on continuing his employment."

Contributing: Jeff Greer. Greer, Sayers and Bailey write for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, part of the USA TODAY Network.

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October 19, 2017
 
 
 

 

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