Rick Pitino Invokes Pope to Address Louisville Prostitution Scandal

Rick Pitino
The Associated Press

Rick Pitino announced that he plans on coaching the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team despite the prostitution scandal engulfing the program.

The statement came through his personal website rather than the team’s, which appears silent on the scandal.

Pitino, who met the pope last month on his trip to the United States, invoked Francis in his post. “The Pope on his recent visit was asked many controversial questions,” Pitino noted. “He would often answer, ‘We will let God judge.’ There can be no better advice regardless of what religion you are than his words. Let’s not try to justify, but let the Lord judge!!”

Nobody asked the pope whether he provided prostitutes to high school students. But journalists question whether Pitino knew of or endorsed such a scheme to entice recruits.

Pitino, who coached Louisville to a national championship in 2013, refused to kill the messenger in his post:

First, above all, I’m sorry we all have to endure the pain of these allegations. I so appreciate your support and friendships.

I will not resign and let you down. Someday I will walk away in celebration of many memorable years but that time is not now. I do not fight these accusations by others but rather turn the other cheek. Couldn’t do it at 33, but at 63 it’s the wise thing to do. Let’s let the investigators do their job and we will play basketball.

I am really excited with our ball team. Their attitude and willingness to learn is the best I’ve witnessed as a coach. We have the potential to be a very explosive offensive team. We must defend like past years. That will come when they come together as a unit.

An admitted prostitute claims in a book written about the program that a graduate assistant set up parties for players featuring strippers in an athletic dorm. The woman, and two of her daughters, admit to exchanging sex for money as part of Louisville’s outreach efforts to recruits and their families. Several Louisville recruits affirm the allegations.

Pitino says he knew nothing of any such ribaldry.