It is time to close one painfully long chapter to turn into a new one filled with hope, freedom, and levity. The Louisville Cardinal basketball program has had this metaphorical monkey on their back for five years. And that monkey is the ruling by the Independent Accountabilty Resolution Process, abbreviated IARP.
The IARP finalized their ruling and implemented the penalties below:
- $5,000 Fine
- 2-Week Ban on Unofficial Visits
- 2-Week Ban on Recruiting Communication
- A Week Less of Recruiting Days
- 2 Years Probation
What the IARP did not implement is any further punishment towards former Head Coach Rick Pitino or Chris Mack. Pitino, in his press conference that was held after the announcement of the ruling, stated that he was “disappointed” by the NCAA investigation and much more pleased with the IARP investigation. He stated that it was much more professional.
Pitino is arguably the best coach in Louisville history, and if not, then he is only behind Denny Crum. Both of these Hall of Fame coaches led Louisville to dominance while they were on the sidelines and nobody can take that away from them. For example, Pitino also mentioned in his press conference that his players won the 2013 National Championship. The banner still exists, the rings still exist, and the memories still exist.
On an exciting note, Athletic Director Josh Heird mentioned it is on the ‘to-do list’ to get that banner raised up back in the rafters. But that is further down the agenda than today’s worries. The Louisville program has suffered the losses of Rick Pitino, Tom Jurich, Vince Tyra, and Chris Mack since the time that these allegations began.
The loss of Pitino is one to lament, but the future is bright with Coach Kenny Payne at the helm. Now, Coach Payne and staff can recruit without a lingering penalty coming in the future. Without the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with a lingering ruling, the players, staff, and recruits can find hope in the Louisville program again.
The dark cloud has been lifted and the air is easier to breathe. But that did not come without a cost. Arguably the most lamentable aspect of this case is the malignment of Brian Bowen II and his family. He was the face of a scandal that was much larger than himself.
The IARP determined that Bowen did not breach a violation due to the inconsistencies in his story that also aligned with the inconsistencies in his father’s stories.
However, in the past five years, Bowen was never able to restore his reputation due to the lack of a ruling and the NCAA ruled him ineligible to play. The 6-foot-7 winger was suspended by Louisville in September 2017. So he transferred to South Carolina for the 2018-2019 season, but was never able to take the court in a collegiate game.
He ended up going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft and has yet to become a consistent player on an NBA roster. Remember Bowen was a former five-star recruit with a lot of potential. He just couldn’t ever recover from this incidient, while all the other players at other schools were able to recoup their careers.
Bowen was a martyr for Adidas and a victim of a broken system.
Unlike Bowen, the man behind recruiting him got another chance, joining the University of Rhode Island coaching staff. Former Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson landed another opportunity. But he did have to face his judgement day. He will be prohibited from recruiting during the April and July live events for the next two years.