A lot of people think that since we write for a website, we get information before it is released to the public. In some cases we do but when the NCAA Committee on Infractions released its ruling on the U of L case, I was just like you – A fan listening to the radio and scrolling social media with my stomach in knots. And when I heard the voice of Steve Rummage reading the verdict, I was confused as I didn’t get the clarity I needed to know that this whole mess was behind us.
I wanted to write something right away to let you know that everything was going to be okay and to voice my displeasure with the ruling. I decided to wait a week to gather more information and also to prevent from writing a reactionary piece. Well, its been a week and here it is ….
I felt, without question, the NCAA overreached with their punishment. I believe the NCAA did so to send a message to Baylor, Ole Miss and any other school who has, or will, violate the rules set forth by the almighty NCAA. I also believe they overshot their punishment with the expectations of an appeal. I compare it to selling a house where you set the sale price higher than the price you are willing to accept. I felt that the punishment was more in line with a lack of institution control rather than the four Level I violations that they were actually charged with. It was stated that Louisville avoided the dreaded lack of institutional control death punch because the amount of money (less than$6000) deemed to be used for impermissible benefits was so minimal. However, the sexual nature of these violations made me understand why the hammer was dropped. It also bothers me that innocent players like Luke have to be punished due to actions of his teammates (not to mention Damion and Trey). I don’t have the answer how to punish without hurting the innocent but it just seems that there has to be a better way.
I’ve read everyone’s posts and stories about the fact that it doesn’t matter if the banner comes down or not because it happened. I get it, but that just reminds me of trading punches in the arm with your buddy in high school and he frogs you pretty good. You act like it didn’t hurt but really you are trying not to scream in pain. Remembering all the feelings from 2013 is just a preventative measure or a diversion from the impending pain, because if the banner comes down, its’s gonna hurt. Why? Because it matters. I understand that nobody can take away the memory I had of that Monday night in April of 2013. My pregnant wife had gone to bed and I sat alone on my couch. As the last few seconds ticked off the clock, a single tear ran down my cheek and landed in my hands as I was clapping. I also understand that the Bellagio will not ask me to refund the small amount of money I won from a future wager I placed on Louisville to win the NCAA tournament while I was visiting Vegas in July of 2012. I’ll never delete my audio file that Paul Rogers gave me of his call of the national championship game. My brother (@rawlingsStreet) will never forget sitting in his free lower level seats for both games at the Georgia Dome. Tell him it didn’t happen.
But if the banner does come down, the world will never forget that Louisville was the first school to have a basketball national championship vacated. They won’t forget why either. It will not be in the record books but everyone will forever remember. There is a certain stigma placed on that type of infraction and all the memories in the world can’t stop that if the title is vacated.
As much as I wanted this all to be over, I am prepared to fight as long as it takes. The outcome is not looking good but the university must dig in and fight this. Not because nothing happened but rather because they owe it to the fans for allowing it to happen on their watch. I am not naive enough to believe that nothing happened because obviously something happened. But the fact that the government said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the “author” of that book and that her statements were not credible enough to move forward, makes me wonder why or what the NCAA believed or could prove. That alone is enough to appeal the rulings.
I also believe that Pitino didn’t know anything about this. I know he cares about what people think of him and if he knew he would have put a stop to it. He might not have made it public but he would have stopped it before it damaged his reputation. The NCAA made it clear that they didn’t think he knew either because a five game penalty is very mild. Regardless, he is the coach and by rule he must be punished. I’ll accept that even though U of L will appeal and probably get his suspension moved to the first five games of the season rather that the first five ACC games. (Just my opinion)
Two other points I want to make are that, 1) the self-imposed post season ban was absolutely the right thing to do. We probably would have been given a 2 year ban if we had not self- imposed, based on how harsh the other penalties were. 2) The UNC situation is not comparable to Louisville’s so please stop with the “ Yeah but, UNC.” They have a loophole in the rules. I’m not saying what they did was okay. I’m just saying it has nothing to do with us and we all know the NCAA has it’s own agenda. Move along.
Nobody knows what will happen when it’s all over with but there is one certainty, I am certain that I will still be a Louisville fan. Nothing will ever waiver my loyalty. #L1C4. I assume if you are reading this then you feel the same. It’s gong to be a rough ride but as LJ tha Fiasco said, We Are Built For This. Let’s stand strong, continue to support our Cardinals as we always do but please stop saying it doesn’t matter if the banner comes down. It matters!
As Always, GO CARDS!