Photo from Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The University of Louisville announced Friday afternoon that it will impose a postseason ban for this season.
This is a result of the NCAA's ongoing investigation into a book written by Katina Powell, a former escort. Powell, in early October, Powell published the book entitled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” a tell-all which alleged that former Louisville staff member Andre McGee paid Powell $10,000 over a four-year period to provide escorts for private parties for Louisville players and recruits.
McGee later resigned from his assistant coaching position at UMKC, a job he left Louisville for in 2014.
Louisville is currently ranked No. 19 in the country and is coming off its biggest win of the season, a 71-65 victory over No. 2 North Carolina on Monday night. The Cardinals will have nine remaining games before their 2015-16 season comes to an end.
The midseason, self-imposed punishment has been highly criticized, and rightfully so. None of the players on the current Louisville roster were implicated in the book written by Powell. The punishments are especially harsh for the team's two best players, Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. The two were highly sought graduate transfers -- Lee from Drexel and Lewis from Cleveland State -- who chose to use their final year of eligibility at Louisville in hopes of reaching an NCAA tournament.
During Friday's press conference, head coach Rick Pitino said players hugged Lee and Lewis as they cried upon hearing the news.
"This is as harsh a punishment I've seen," Pitino said. "Damion and Trey have nothing to look forward to. ... They were hit with a sledgehammer for actions they weren't involved in."
If the NCAA were to ban Louisville from the following year's tournament, that would have a negative impact on recruiting. Louisville's announcement comes one year and one day after Syracuse imposted its own postseason ban for the 2014-15 season, although, the Orange were not destined for an at-large berth.
Louisville's season ends on March 5, but the NCAA is continuing its investigation.
Shawn Stewart is Host of The Shawn Stewart Show Tues-Thurs 6-8pm est on Sports 4 Fanz Radio.