I recently called the Duke-Louisville game and was so impressed with the Cardinals' resiliency.
Louisville self-imposed a penalty that ended any chance of participating in the upcoming NCAA tournament. So Rick Pitino and his team have focused on a different goal, winning or sharing the ACC regular-season title. The Cardinals are not eligible for the ACC tournament either, so there are four league games remaining: at Pittsburgh, at Miami, Georgia Tech at home and at Virginia.
In the Louisville locker room, the ACC standings are clearly posted. The team understands what it is shooting for, and there is no doubt they continue to play hard. Just look at last week, when they beat Syracuse and Duke.
The decision by the administration to self-impose the penalty sold out innocent kids. I understand that it was an effort to receive a more lenient punishment when the ongoing investigation in completed. There is no guarantee that Louisville won't receive more harsh penalties down the line. It will take some time before the NCAA completes the investigation, so why penalize these innocent kids? They have competed so hard this season.
The system has got to change. I know it was the school's decision to self-impose, but hurting this current team, which had nothing to do with the allegations, is wrong. Do not punish innocent people for the sins of others. What did these kids do wrong?
If you want to really hurt an institution and provide a deterrent for the future, slap a huge fine. Make the school write out a check for $25 million, hit them where it hurts, the bottom line, the wallet.
It is a real shame because these kids have performed with a lot of pride for the name on the front of the uniform. Given the parity of college basketball today, and Pitino's success in the big dance, the Cardinals would have had a chance to make some noise in the tournament.
These last four games will be crucial for Louisville; this is their season, playing for a great finish in the ACC. With three road games, the schedule is certainly challenging. Closing at Virginia is tough because the Cavaliers were the one team to blow out Louisville this season.
It is really frustrating to see kids playing their hearts out, being denied an opportunity to play for a national championship because of actions of others. The allegations against former assistant coach Andre McGee have been out there, and the investigation continues. If half of it is true, it is an embarassment to the university.