Louisville basketball: NCAA response shows process far from over

NCAA logo at mid-court (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
NCAA logo at mid-court (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

On Monday morning, the University of Louisville released the response from the NCAA on allegations to the public.

It has seemingly been a never-ending process for the University of Louisville and the fans that follow the program closely over the last few years.

Now, in Dec. 2020, there still seems to be no end in sight for a resolution to the NCAA’s presence that has been overwhelming the university for what seems like five straight years.

The current NCAA dealings pertain to the Brian Bowen scandal back in 2017. If you are unfamiliar with this case, you can read up more on that here.

Ever since, the university has had an uphill climb to reduce their inevitable penalties as much as possible. So far, it has not gone too well for them.

In May, the NCAA presented their original allegations that included one Level I and three Level II allegations against the basketball program that would likely result in hefty penalties if not reduced.

Then, in September, Louisville shot back proclaiming that the program was not under the same regime that got them into this mess with the college athletics governing body. That old regime of Rick Pitino, Jordan Fair, and Kenny Johnson has been removed and the university attempted to use that to their advantage in their response.

The NCAA did not sympathize with them and instead responded to the University of Louisville with a passionate stomping of their foot despite any glimmer of hope that they would be changing their mind.

You can read the entirety of the NCAA’s response here.

In the first line of the document, it states that “following is a list of key factual information that the NCAA enforcement staff relied on in bringing forward the allegations.”

That alone could have told you how the document’s points were going to come across.

At this point, the NCAA enforcement staff is the prosecution in the case and the University of Louisville is the defendant. That is really the best way to make sense of all of this.

"The enforcement staff is unaware of any factual information that warrants a lower penalty range for the institution related to the Level I and II violations present in this case."

That line is very damning and really sums up the entire response as a whole that the NCAA is all in on their allegations against the university.

The way that the NCAA responded was not unexpected as they were originally the ones that conducted the investigation and made their logical assessment of the necessary allegations against the program.

But it is still fair to say that this was a disappointing outcome regardless of whether it was expected or not. Now, the university will have to continue their battle to avoid countless penalties through a new avenue.

Where can Louisville turn to next for appeals?

The Independent Accountability and Resolution Process is likely the next step for the university. The IARP has been working in close relation with the NCAA and member institutions since early in 2020 to solve complex cases related to the NCAA.

Essentially, the IARP is just an arbiter to settle these kinds of disputes and come to a final conclusion on what penalties will be dished out.

The unfortunate part is that the process could be quite lengthy for the university as the program looks for final answers.

According to the NCAA website, Louisville would be the fifth Division I basketball program to enter the IARP system if they so choose to do so and the second ACC program.

With Louisville being now fifth in line for their process to be settled, the program is likely going to have to wait until well into 2021 (if not 2022) for their case to be settled. Memphis was the first program to use the IARP and has been in the program since March with no word on the status of the hearing in sight.

There is no precedent here. At this point, it’s not really known how the IARP will conduct their work since no cases under their jurisdiction have been decided upon yet. The way that the Memphis case is handled in the future should give us more insight on that.

Unfortunately, another long waiting process is ahead and until things are resolved, this situation will continue to hang over the head of Chris Mack and staff, the players, and the program as a whole.

Louisville fans, buckle up… the ride is just getting started.