Louisville Cardinals in talks to separate with men's basketball coach Chris Mack, sources say

The future of Louisville men's basketball coach Chris Mack is in peril, as sources told ESPN the school is engaged in discussions to separate with the fourth-year head coach.

With Louisville hosting Duke on Saturday, the potential looms that Mack will not be on the sideline and has coached his final game there.

A joint meeting between the Board of Trustees and the University of Louisville Athletic Association was suddenly called for Wednesday afternoon "to discuss proposed or pending litigation and personnel matters." Mack's future as Louisville's coach and any potential separation proposal is expected to be discussed at that meeting, according to sources.

Mack's buyout is approximately $12 million, but a lower number could be negotiated as part of a separation agreement, sources told ESPN.

The looming decision on Mack comes at a time when Louisville athletics is being run by an interim athletic director, Josh Heird, and is without a full-time school president after the recent departure of Neeli Bendapudi to Penn State.

Louisville sits at 11-9 overall and 5-5 in the ACC after losing five of its past six games, including Monday's listless 64-52 defeat at Virginia. Mack was suspended for the first six games of this season without pay for not following university guidelines and procedures in last spring's firing of former assistant coach Dino Gaudio.

Following Saturday's home loss to Notre Dame, senior forward Malik Williams was asked whether the players are still responding to the coaching staff.

"I don't have a comment for that," Williams said after a long pause.

Mack took over Louisville in 2018 after nine seasons at Xavier. Mack led the Cardinals to the NCAA tournament in 2019 and a second-place ACC finish in 2020 before the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last season, the Cardinals went 13-7 but missed the NCAA tournament.

In September, the NCAA amended a previous Notice of Allegations against Louisville to include three alleged violations by the men's basketball program under Mack. The alleged violations stem from last spring's firing of Gaudio, which resulted in Gaudio attempting to extort Mack. In a recording, Gaudio told Mack he would expose violations if not paid the remainder of his salary.

The NCAA alleged that Mack "either participated in, condoned, or negligently disregarded violations involving graduate assistants and others participation in practice as well as the creation and use of personalized recruiting videos and aids."

It also said "Mack did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance."