In a salacious interview on the Dan Patrick Show, former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino defended himself against allegations of illegal recruiting tactics, such as paying prospects and enticing them with strippers. He also explained why he would come out on top of the ongoing lawsuit he is involved in.
On the subject of strippers in dorm rooms, Pitino denied any knowledge, claiming further that his assistants knew nothing of the matter, neither. He went on to cite findings from the NCAA. “They interviewed over 118 people, the NCAA…” he said when pressed by Patrick, “that said Rick Pitino had no knowledge, nor his assistant coaches.” He also argued that he could not have known because he did not keep track of how his players spent “Friday and Saturday nights.” He called the concept of stripper parties “reprehensible.” He did not, however, deny that these parties took place, saying that he knew of “four” occasions on which they happened. His central argument was that he simply had no knowledge of them at the time.
Pitino argues that a new board of trustees at Louisville “jumped the gun” in firing him, who he says “had no clue to what I am, what I’m about at all” and were more interested in “cleaning house” than taking a genuine moral stance.
On the Brian Bowen scandal, Pitino once again denies knowledge of wrongdoing, which in this case was an alleged 100,000 dollar payment to a prospect (Bowen) and/or his representatives. He cites a passed polygraph test he took in the immediate aftermath of the scandal breaking in September as evidence for his innocence. He claims he wouldn’t even give “five hundred dollars” to Michael Jordan, his favorite all-time player, to come play for him.
Asked about the rumors that he was offered the head coaching job at the University of Rhode Island, Pitino says “no I was not,” though he has “great memories” at nearby Providence, where he coached in the 1980s, and “loves the state.” He does say, however, that contacted by another school, which he does not name, and that the NCAA blocked the school from proceeding further with him.
When asked by Patrick whether or not he would believe his defenses if he was somebody else, Pitino responded “absolutely not,” but goes on to explain that within context, it surely all makes sense. He defends Miami Coach Jim Larranaga’s innocence in the FBI/NCAA investigation though he says “I don’t know about the other people involved.” Even so, he states that “90 percent of college basketball is clean,” but that like any other profession, there is “10 percent that’s not.” He declares that he is indeed part of the 90 percent and has never given a player “five dollars in [his] life.”
The Dan Patrick Show is available on DIRECTV CH. 239.