UofL president, athletic director discuss NCAA allegations against men’s basketball program

Updated: May. 4, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - University of Louisville officials are preparing to respond to the NCAA following allegations concerning the men’s basketball program.

UofL president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi and athletics director Vince Tyra discussed a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 men’s basketball program Monday afternoon.

“We’ll accept responsibility for violations which we are in agreement with, if they are based on undisputed facts, but we will not hesitate, repeat, we will not hesitate, to push back against those allegations that we simply don’t believe are supported by facts or by NCAA law or by precedent,” Dr. Bendapudi said.

Tyra does not anticipate a postseason ban in 2021 and does not believe that the death penalty is on the table. The men’s basketball program was on NCAA probation during the time that alleged violations were committed.

“As far as the death penalty, I don’t see that,” Tyra said. “I think it’s clear to the NCAA what we’ve done, but I don’t want to get too far that path and speculate, but I think we’ve done all we can do here. We’ve made some pretty strong, unparalleled corrections in our program and I think they’re appreciated by them as well as inside this university and community and so I think that’s, I get that where we are a repeat offender that people are going to be provocative and push for strong language and it makes for interesting read for sure, but that’s not what I for see and not what we’re gonna be approaching here.”

Dr. Bendapudi made it clear that UofL will also not be self-imposing any penalties. The university self-imposed a postseason ban in 2016.

UofL has retained Mike Glazier, of the Kansas City based law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King. Glazier represented North Carolina in the schools academic fraud case.

According to UofL, the NCAA allegations against the program include:

  • A Level I allegation that an improper recruiting offer, and subsequent extra benefits to the family of an enrolled student athlete; and a recruiting inducement to a prospective student-athlete’s non-scholastic coach/trainer, were provided by certain individuals, purportedly identified and defined by the NCAA as “representatives of the university’s athletics interests”, none of whom had traditional connections to the University beyond their affiliation with Adidas or professional athlete management entities, as well as by a former assistant coach and a former associate head coach
  • A Level II allegation of recruiting violations by the same two former men’s basketball coaching staff members in providing impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact in the context of recruitment-related activities
  • A Level II allegation that the institution failed to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete
  • A Level II allegation that the former head men’s basketball coach did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance

In a letter addressed to the University Community, Bendapudi and Tyra stated, “Over the last two-and-a-half years, we are proud of how the University of Louisville has worked hard to transform itself into a model of compliance and ethical conduct and has not shied away from difficult decisions, going well-beyond reforms at any other involved institution.

  • The University changed its leadership on campus, in athletics and in the men’s basketball program, as part of a series of personnel, systematic and cultural changes.
  • Athletics Compliance now reports outside of athletics directly to the Vice President for Risk Management, Audit and Compliance.
  • All counsel for Athletics now reports directly through the office of the University’s General Counsel.
  • The University completely revised the Head Coach contract language regarding NCAA compliance expectations, particularly as it relates to Head Coach responsibility.
  • The Department of Athletics enhanced rules education and compliance monitoring for all staff.
  • Compliance staff provided in-person rules education to the University Board of Trustees and to the ULAA Board.
  • Compliance staff provided in-person rules education to the President’s Leadership Team and to other key University offices.
  • The Department of Athletics began an ethical leadership series required for all athletics staff.
  • The University placed a renewed emphasis on the faculty-led Committee on Academic Performance.
  • The University remains committed to complete and transparent reform.
  • None of the men’s basketball staff members involved in the allegations remain at the University.
  • Neither of the involved men’s basketball prospects referenced in the allegations ever represented U of L in competition.”

UofL basketball coach Chris Mack released the following statement:

“Since arriving at Louisville, I have seen up close the incredible changes that have taken place under the leadership of President Bendapudi and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra in our university and in our athletics department. The shared values and commitment to integrity is evident in their actions and has always been demanded in the programs that my staff and I have led. While I understand the allegations brought today, I am confident that the University will do what is right, which includes fighting back on those charges that we simply do not agree with, and for which the facts do not substantiate. The future is bright for Cardinal Basketball. Our focus will continue to be on our tremendous student-athletes.”

UofL has 90 days to respond to the allegations.

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