I’ll be the fist person to admit that I’m pretty naive. When University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich assured its fans that “the worst was over” a few months ago, I truly believed that all of this Katina Powell and Andre McGee drama would soon be a fading memory, a long, painful nightmare that has at last come and gone. Finally, I’d be able to get back to carelessly enjoying Louisville Basketball the way that I’d done as long as I can remember, without that enormous black cloud lingering overhead. Oh, how foolish I was to believe them.
I’m not the only one that chased that stick off the porch. Local media types and sports “experts” completely bought into this propaganda and consistently explained to me that after Louisville meets with the NCAA Committee of Infractions and receives its punishment, this bullshit will finally be over. Adding to that, the ongoing narrative was that at worst, we should expect (at most) a Rick Pitino suspension and perhaps a few more scholarship reductions. Maybe probation. But that 2013 championship banner, there’s no way the NCAA would flirt with the possibility of taking that down, right? Yeah, that’d be impossible. Rest easy, Cardinal fans, Tom Jurich can do no wrong.
“I mean, holy shit, this can’t be happening, right? We’re the good guys!”
Then yesterday happened, and reality quickly floated to the surface like a turd in a punch bowl. The NCAA finally laid down its cards (pun intended) after UofL called its bluff, and holy shit, the penalties turned out to be far worse than we were led on to believe they could ever be. I’m not surprised by the 4 years of probation, Pitino suspension or further scholarship reductions, but in no way was I prepared for the actual vacation of the 2013 national title. I mean, holy shit, this can’t be happening, right? We’re the good guys! We’re not like that dirty team down I-64, or that team up in Indiana that we made fun of a few years ago when their coach made too many phone calls. We’d never end up like the Fab Five or UMASS, or even Memphis. Like I said, WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS, RIGHT?!
As I said before, we (as Louisville fans) were led to believe that this was the end, but as it appears, this dumpster fire is just getting started. Sure, Louisville plans to appeal, but who knows how that will turn out? And then what happens when the penalty more than likely stands? An ongoing lawsuit against the NCAA that could last years leading to no probable positive resolution leading to endless negative publicity? No thanks, I’m good.
“My Cardinal pride is quickly evaporating with every negative news hit, and to be frank I’m sick and tired of my team being a national punchline.”
As a fan base, how many more of these shit storms can we handle? How many more betrayals can be withstood? Personally, I’m finding it harder and harder to stick up for anything pertaining to UofL athletics, a realization that has been incredibly painful to realize. My Cardinal pride is quickly evaporating with every negative news hit, and to be frank I’m sick and tired of my team being a national punchline.
To be clear, I’m not saying Rick Pitino knew or was completely unaware, that’s not the point. The fact of the matter is that regardless of who is directly responsible, these scandals have irreparably devastated a very large portion of the Louisville faithful. Despite the recent recruiting success and promising future, there has been an ominous, negative energy that continues to linger making it a fucking chore to brave through it in an attempt to actually enjoy the game of basketball itself.
In closing, I’m not too sure it’s worth the pain and suffering anymore. In plain English, this just isn’t fun anymore. It sucks, and I’m tired of it. As a fan of Louisville sports, I’m embarrassed and disgusted with each angle of every scandal that we’ve been forced to deal with. I’m not saying I’m completely finished as a Louisville fan, but I’m not sure how much more fuel I have in the tank. Hopefully the athletic program realizes that I’m not alone and at last they get their shit together before permanently crippling the fanbase. Sadly, I’m not overly hopeful.