Former Louisville basketball stars Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng, along with three teammates, will have their previously vacated statistics restored. Why this was a common-sense decision for all involved.
Five Louisville basketball players settled in a lawsuit against the NCAA on Monday, and though they won’t get what they were ultimately fighting for, they will get a chance to leave their personal legacy with the University.
The players- Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese, Gorgui Dieng, Mike Marra, and Tim Henderson– will have their stats acknowledged on the official record books, and Hancock, named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 NCAA Final Four, will have his award restored.
Hancock led the charge and lawyered up with big-time class-action specialist John Morgan in July of last year.
After over a year of on and off litigation, the plaintiffs and the NCAA concluded that the NCAA did not have to reinstate Louisville’s title, but must remove all asterisks from the records of the five plaintiffs. This will restore all stats recorded over the time in which over 100 wins, three conference titles, two final fours, and a national championship were earned but then stricken from the record books.
Ultimately, the players did not get what they demanded in the lawsuit and, to be honest, that was a long shot given then that the NCAA does not operate under the jurisdiction of the law. However, the former Cardinals did get credit for what they earned individually.
Hancock, who hit 8 of 10 three-point attempts in the 2013 final four, including four straight that catapulted Louisville within striking distance in their national championship battle with Michigan, will still be recognized for his efforts.
This seemed like a no-brainer for the NCAA. These five players did not have their name mentioned anywhere in allegations brought forth by the NCAA and were not found or any wrong-doing, thus making them eligible to play every game in their careers.
For players like Gorgui Dieng, that means restoring statistics from a storied career that saw him become second all-time in blocks in school history.
Henderson, a walk-on turned scholarship player receives credit for limited playing time, but also some massive shots that he hit in his career nonetheless. Much of the same can be said of Van Treese, who was another fan favorite who had some memorable moments in 34 career starts.
Marra, who was with the team as a student assistant coach during the 2013 championship season, saw a career with a lot of potential shortened due to injuries- but will still be credited for 33 games in which he scored over 200 points.
In the end, these were players that worked incredibly hard to earn a prize that was ultimately taken away in a manner than even the NCAA constitutes unfair.
Louisville basketball had a special era that included some incredible human beings that played from 2011 to 2015. For those not accused of any wrong-doing, it only seems right to receive proper credit for their performances.
The NCAA’s rulings seem inconsistent, and in this case, completely contradict what FBI investigations found as inconsequential in regards to the letter of the law. In that sense, it feels unfair that the university was forced to remove banners and not recognize the accomplishments of some of the greatest teams, players, coaches, and moments in program history.
However, for a school still under probation and still amid investigation for further NCAA rules violations in 2016, this seems like one of the best-case scenarios for five players who were more than deserving of recognition.
Given the target that this era of former players and coaches have on their backs, and the penalties that have been levied, for once, Louisville basketball players can say they received a fair ruling in their favor.
Perhaps down the road things may reopen for further discussion but, for now, some Louisville alums- Particularly Hancock- can take solace in this small win.