The University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program will have to forfeit its 2013 NCAA championship after losing its appeal to penalties sanctioned by the NCAA for its involvement in a 2015 improper benefits scandal laced with sexual misconduct.
Pro athletes—including former UL players, as well as other athletes with no ties to Louisville at all, have used social media to voice their displeasure over the NCAA’s ruling that led to the first time ever a school had to forfeit a national championship.
NBA star Donovan Mitchell, who played two years for Louisville from 2015-‘17, wasn’t a member of the 2012-‘13 Louisville team that won the title. But that didn’t stop him from sending off a tweet in their defense.
“You can take away the banner but you can’t take away the long hours in the gym, the incredible wins, the passion that this team played with,” the 2018 NBA Dunk Contest winner tweeted. “They were an inspiration to young athletes, including myself!! Go ahead take away the banner but we all know who won in 2013 #L1C4.”
Along with the ‘13 National Championship, Louisville will also be forced to vacate more than 120 wins that were earned in games played from 2011 through to 2015. UL will also have to give back approximately $600,000 in money earned from NCAA Tournament appearances during those years. Louisville’s legendary head coach, Rick Pitino, was fired back in October 2017 because of the allegations.
The NCAA’s ruling is based on an investigation that first began in 2015 when a woman claimed that a member of Louisville’s coaching staff, Andre McGee, solicited her services as an escort; she also claimed that McGee and university had been paying for strippers to dance for and have sex with team’s players for years.
“Because the student-athletes received improper benefits, it follows they competed while ineligible, which in turn supports the vacation of records and financial penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions,” an appellate panel made up of four officials stated in its legalistic decision, according to the New York Times.
While Mitchell’s frustration with the NCAA may be centered around his love for his alma mater, other players with no connection to UL also weren’t thrilled to hear the news.
Kyle Kuzma, a breakout star rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers who played three years of collegiate basketball for the University of Utah, took the announcement of the appeal decision as an opportunity to point the moral compass back in the direction of the NCAA. Apparently, Kuzma believes what many have argued for years – that the NCAA has gotten extremely rich off of student athletes’ backs without paying them. He sent a tweet out late at night on Feb. 20, lashing out at the Association.
“Someone take down the NCAA for generating billions of dollars only to pay its student athletes a cost of attendance of a $900 a month.”