When news broke late Friday night that Louisville had placed assistant Clint Hurtt on administrative leave and took him off the recruiting trail, the first question that crossed my mind was, "What took so long?"
Hurtt has been a part of the NCAA investigation into alleged violations at Miami for years now, but he had remained a full-fledged member of the staff and athletic department until three days ago.
Coach Charlie Strong said the move was made so that Hurtt could concentrate on his response to the NCAA, which charged him last month with receiving and providing impermissible benefits while working as an assistant at Miami. We can question whether the move should have been made sooner, but there is no doubt it is a complete no-brainer for the Cardinals to put Hurtt on leave given the severity of the allegations.
This now leads to two more questions: Does Hurtt have a future at Louisville? And how does his absence impact the Cards on the recruiting trail?
During an interview last month with local reporters, athletic director Tom Jurich did not guarantee that Hurtt would be with the program in 2013. Much of that depends on how this case turns out. Though it is still too early to tell what will happen, there is no doubt that Hurtt's reputation has taken a hit.
You can bet that opposing coaches are using this NCAA investigation against him, and therefore against Louisville, on the recruiting trail. I don't think anybody would blame Jurich if he decided to cut ties with Hurtt before a resolution is made in the case.
As for the impact on recruiting, Hurtt is the team's recruiting coordinator and one of its top recruiters in the South Florida area. He has helped Strong build a pipeline into Miami. Back in 2011, he was named ESPN.com recruiter of the year for the very work he did in the state, helping land quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Eli Rogers. Of the players he had a direct impact on signing that year, six are scheduled to start this season.
So there is no understating how valuable a recruiter Hurtt has been for the Cardinals. Strong and several other assistants on staff have ties into South Florida, so that pipeline is not going to shrivel up. But losing your recruiting coordinator -- even for a brief period of time -- is going to put added responsibilities onto the staff. Some impact is sure to be felt. How big -- or how little -- that impact is won't be known for a little while.