The Louisville men’s basketball program must vacate all its wins from 2011-15, including the 2013 national championship, the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee determined on Tuesday.
Louisville must also pay back any money it received from appearing in the NCAA Tournament from 2012-15.
It is the first time in modern Division I NCAA men’s basketball history a program has had a championship vacated.
Bronx born Kevin Ware, who suffered a gruesome broken leg in the Elite Eight that season, doesn’t sound ready to vacate anything.
“Still got this fat a– ring which means my guys definitely won a chip, if I’m not mistaken of course,” Ware tweeted after the NCAA’s ruling was announced.
Van Hancock, mother of 2013 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Luke Hancock, told the Daily News via email that she was heartbroken over the news.
“It breaks my heart — the Committee of Infractions, wiping out my son’s entire college basketball experience,” she said.
“As far as taking banners, wins, and awards away — I will always hold the memories of those games played, scores made, wins won, and watching my son achieve his lifelong dream of playing in a national championship,” she added. “I was there, my friends and family were there, my gravely ill husband was there (praise God) and that experience will never leave my memory and my heart I would not change a thing.”
The ruling upholds the Committee of Infractions original decision in June 2017, which Louisville appealed and also marks the end of a two-plus year investigation that began in October 2015 when the program was accused by former escort Katina Powell that she and others were paid to strip and have sex with recruits and student-athletes.
The NCAA said in its announcement of the decision that “The panel found that a former Louisville director of basketball operations acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation. The violations in the case resulted in some men’s basketball student-athletes competing while ineligible.”
Louisville interim President Greg Postel expressed his displeasure in the ruling and called the NCAA “wrong” in a statement he made on Tuesday.
“I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,” he said. “We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case – based on NCAA precedent – that supported our argument.
Louisville self-imposed a ban for the 2016 ACC and NCAA Tournaments and recruiting sanctions after they confirmed Powell’s allegations that a Louisville staffer paid women thousands of dollars and gave them tickets to games in exchange for dances and sex for players and recruits.
Louisville hoped the self-imposed punishment would help it win its appeal.
The school had already accepted four years of probation and scholarship reductions, but argued in its appeal that vacating wins and paying back its NCAA Tournament share was excessive.
Former head coach Rick Pitino was also suspended for five conference games, which he appealed. That appeal was dropped when he was fired by the school in October after an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting implicated Louisville.
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