Louisville men’s basketball announced a self-imposed 2016 postseason ban in a press conference Friday afternoon amid an ongoing investigation into a former staffer providing high school recruits with prostitutes.
Now first in the ACC (19-4) and coming off a six-point home win against then-No. 2 nationally ranked North Carolina, the Cardinals season will end in eight games on March 5.
Ranked 19 and 14 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll respectively at the time of the announcement, a surefire postseason threat has been ousted due to an investigation launched in October surrounding Katrina Powell’s book alleging prostitutes were hired for recruits between 2010-2014. (RELATED: This ESPN Investigation Into The Louisville Prostitution Claims Will Shock You [VIDEO])
“Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” detailed her position in providing an ex-graduate assistant. (RELATED: Were Louisville Basketball Recruits Provided Prostitutes For Sex? [VIDEO])
After delivering the news, Rick Pitino noted fifth-year seniors Cardinals Damion Lee and Trey Lewis as particularly devastated, crying as the team gathered to console them.
“It’s never easy for the people that don’t deserve it, it happens all the time,” said Pitino, Louisville’s head coach for the last decade and a half.
“This is not a team that wasn’t going to make the tournament, this is a team that is very much favored to go very far in the tournament.”