Louisville basketball’s 2013 National Championship no longer belongs to the Cardinals in the NCAA record book.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that the Cardinals must vacate all wins from the 2011-12 to 2014-15 seasons and return the money it received in revenue-sharing agreements with the NCAA in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a fine. Those wins include the team’s 2013 NCAA Tournament championship.
This is the first time the NCAA has ever vacated a men’s basketball national title.
Per an NCAA statement:
Louisville must vacate men’s basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible during the 2011-12 through 2014-15 academic years according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. The appeals committee also upheld the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions penalty that requires the university to return to the NCAA money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships.
In its appeal, the university argued the vacation of records and financial penalty should be set aside because they are excessive. The university contended that the penalties were based on participation of student-athletes who were not culpable in the violations, received negligible benefits as a result, and for whom reinstatement would likely have been granted.
Why is Louisville losing its title?
This all stems from a scandal involving then-graduate assistant Andre McGee allegedly hiring escorts for visiting basketball recruits from 2010 to 2014. Then-head coach Rick Pitino, who was fired in October 2017 after another scandal involving payments to recruits, has maintained he had no knowledge that McGee hired escorts from Katrina Powell, who told her version of the story in a book title “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”
One of the former players said he had sex with a dancer after McGee paid her. Each of the players and recruits attended different parties at Billy Minardi Hall, where dancers, many of whom stripped naked, were present. Three of the five players said they attended parties as recruits and also when they played for Louisville.
Said one of the recruits, who ultimately signed to play elsewhere: “I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”
The ACC suspended him for the first five conference games of the 2017-18 season, but Pitino was fired before he could serve that suspension.
Louisville beat Michigan in the 2013 NCAA Championship Game, 82-76. With the 2013 title vacated, Louisville now has two official national titles: in 1980 and 1986.