This past Friday, the president, athletic director, and men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville announced a self-imposed ban on the team’s eligibility for this upcoming postseason, according to coverage from ESPN.
The University of Louisville expects to find itself in a lengthy investigation with the NCAA, after revelations about both illegal and unethical violations during their player recruitment process – including allegations of the administration throwing parties and hiring escorts to dance and/or have sex with potential recruits.
Given the lengthy and burdensome nature of NCAA investigations, the University of Louisville’s postseason ban is an admission that a violation has occurred and the beginning of an internal inquiry. It is now up to the NCAA to compile and deliver a notice of allegations, as well as to decide on sanctions.
Not only does this announcement bring critical attention to the heinous leadership of the University of Louisville administration, who provided funds for and approved of such recruitment practices, it also highlights the irresponsible lack of oversight in the recruitment process. The process has become so corrupt. This and other revelations call for comprehensive NCAA reform.
The decision by Louisville to self-impose the ban has the thinly veiled intention to simply lessen the punishment by the NCAA, rather than address and correct its wrongdoings. It allows them to opt-out of more scrutiny and preserve their reputation in whatever way possible.
This ban does harm the program, as the team was expected to be elite this March. Even worse, the ban punishes student-athletes on the university’s men’s basketball team. Many of these players decided on or transferred to Louisville with the hope of playing in the postseason tournament, where they would have the opportunity to be scouted out and recruited for the NBA.
Shifting the burden to the students not only dismisses responsibility, but it also prevents the University of Louisville administration from being truly held accountable – and ensuring that similar conduct does not occur in the future.
The NCAA must remain vigilant in its investigation of the university and possibly reconsider how it handles non-compliance violations, in a way that brings more regularity and accountability and discourages self-imposed bans as an easy way out.