As of Wednesday, Rick Pitino was on unpaid administrative leave from the University of Louisville. In other words, fired.
At some point in the near future, though, his situation could worsen considerably.
“He hasn’t been charged, (so) let’s start with that,” CBS Sports legal analyst Amy Dash said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “But I think Rick Pitino is going to be charged in the same vein as these other characters. I think he’s going to be charged with bribery, with conspiracy, and with fraud.”
That, obviously, is not good.
“(There’s) a federal law that says when you work for an institution that is publicly funded by the government, if you deceive your employers, then you’re committing fraud,” Dash explained. “The university can be fined under the NCAA if their employees aren’t following the rules, but also you are deceiving the taxpayers because they’re paying your salary. So I could think he could face up to 80 years like the other guys.”
The other guys are assistant or associate head coaches from Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arizona and Southern Cal.
But 80 years? Really?
“That’s the maximum,” Dash said. “I think these other guys are lower-level, so I think the whole point in arresting them first was to get them to turn on Pitino. I don’t think they have enough yet. I think they have some things, but they need the testimony of these guys. So if Pitino is the big fish that they’re going after, he may not get a lenient sentence – and these other guys might in exchange for their testimony against him.”
Dash believes that Pitino is “Coach 2” in the FBI’s investigative report. If so, Pitino could have an uphill legal battle on his hands.
“The FBI already (has) evidence against Pitino,” Dash said. “If he is, in fact, Coach 2, they have his phone records, and they have phone records of him talking with Jim Gatto, the Adidas executive, around the time that Brian Bowen was being recruited. And there was this scheme going on, the government says, where Adidas was paying $100,000 to Brian Bowen’s family, and the idea was that it was at the direction of Rick Pitino. That’s going to be the allegation.”
One must wonder why Pitino, who is set for life financially, would be so reckless with Bowen – and recruiting in general.
“He wanted the kid on the team,” Dash said. “He wanted the kid. He’s probably a competitive guy, and the kid was being offered money from a rival company, according to this complaint, and he wanted that kid on his team.”