All eyes in the world of sports this morning are focused keenly on the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where there appears to be a preponderance of evidence that the University of Louisville organized private sex shows for basketball recruits. It’s a scandalous, salacious story that half of the state is sick about, and the other half is gleefully gloating about. You see, in the Bluegrass, you are often defined by which of the state’s basketball powerhouses’ logo you have chosen to adorn your car. If you are a Kentucky fan, you simply cannot drive a red car. If you are a Louisville fan, you would never dream of wearing a blue shirt. Every single flight I take to Lexington has at least five people wearing UK logowear, and often it’s as much as half of the plane’s passengers that are so attired.
But, I digress. There is one figure that is even more polarizing within the context of this rivalry, and his name is Rick Pitino. For those of you who don’t live and breathe college basketball, or even those who do but do it outside the borders of Kentucky, you may not know that there is nobody who is simultaneously revered and reviled like Pitino is. He led Kentucky to an NCAA title in 1996 and a runner-up finish in 1997, and then fled for the greener pastures of the NBA, only to return to college coaching with his tail between his legs after massive failures in both Boston and New York.
When he returned, however, he returned to the one school that UK fans could never forgive him for choosing—their archenemy, Louisville. Even worse, he turned Louisville into a national power again, winning a title in 2013.
It looks like he may have done it using some less-than-wholesome methods, though. In less than an hour, ESPN will have a live interview with the former escort who alleges that the ‘Ville paid her around $10K to provide strippers and escorts to prospective players when they visited the campus. Pitino has, thus far, claimed ignorance of the entire situation. However, if the allegations prove to be true (and everybody says that she appears to be credible), then it’s hard to imagine that Pitino survives.
But is it really that hard to imagine?