Louisville Cardinals place two basketball assistants on leave

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 6, 2017 at 4:52 PM
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Louisville placed two assistant coaches on leave Friday amid the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball as the university continued its investigation into NCAA violations involving paying a recruit.

The suspensions leave the program with only acting head coach David Padgett to lead the Cardinals as practice for the 2017-18 season begins.

The university announced associate head coach Kenny Johnson and assistant coach Jordan Fair were placed on paid administrative leave.

The investigation by the university led to the suspensions and potential firings of head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich after the FBI alleged members of the team's basketball program used money from apparel sponsor Adidas to pay prospective recruits.

"We are in the process of executing our due diligence as it relates to an ongoing investigation and feel that this (is) an appropriate step at this time," Louisville acting athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement about the suspensions of Johnson and Fair. "Our university will continue to fully cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation."

Padgett, 32, was named the Cardinals' interim head coach a week ago. He will rely on his father for guidance in the coming weeks and months, according to ESPN. Pete Padgett, a former standout at Nevada and Division I assistant coach, will be a consultant with the program.

Pitino and Louisville were linked to an alleged scheme to pay $100,000 to the family of five-star recruit Brian Bowen Jr. in a deal arranged by Adidas executive Jim Gatto.

The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted unanimously on Monday to initiate the process of dismissing Pitino for cause.

Louisville interim president Greg Postel said he is planning to learn more about the school's $160 million sponsorship extension with Adidas.

Pitino received 98 percent of the money from the university's current contract with Adidas, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Thursday. According to the newspaper, Pitino got $1.5 million of the money as part of his personal services agreement with the shoe and apparel firm, with the school getting only $25,000. The prior year, Pitino received $1.5 million and Louisville got $10,000.

Four assistant college basketball coaches were among those arrested on federal corruption charges on Sept. 26 after they were caught taking bribes to steer NBA-destined players toward certain sports agents and financial advisers. Court papers showed the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student athletes affiliated with the NCAA since 2015.

The assistant coaches arrested were Chuck Person (Auburn), Tony Bland (USC), Emanuel "Book" Richardson (Arizona) and Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State).

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