LOUISVILLE (KT) – While Louisville’s men’s basketball team has been absent from March Madness and all the surrounding hoopla, that doesn’t mean the Cardinals haven’t been making news — at least locally, if not nationally.
Several developments over the weekend have ramifications for the program’s future, both near and long-range.
For starters, Louisville has officially filed its response to the seven allegations by the NCAA’s complex case unit (CCU) in a process that seems likely to drag into its sixth year. The next step will be a hearing in the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) that hasn’t been scheduled yet.
The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations (NOA), originally served in May of 2020 and then amended last September, combines charges stemming from the recruitment of Brian Bowen Jr. with allegations against former head coach Chris Mack.
The most serious is a Level I violation alleging that U of L’s coaching staff and Adidas made impermissible recruiting offers to Bowen involving a planned payoff of $100,000 for signing with the Cards. Five of the violations are Levil II and the other is Level III.
Not surprisingly, U of L is disputing either the legitimacy or the severity of all seven allegations. Reiterating its response to the original NOA, the university said it was the “victim of the conspiracy, not a participant in it,” and that the panel “should reject the CCU’s dramatically overbroad theory.”
Three of the Level II violations are alleged to have occurred under Mack, including the use of graduate assistants in practice and the production of impermissible recruiting videos. The other says that Mack “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance” due to his involvement in the previous two violations.
U of L contends that the first two should be categorized as Level III because the use of grad assistants in practice “was limited in nature and demonstrated a misunderstanding of the rules” and that the recruiting videos “did not provide any more than a minimal recruiting advantage.” Thus, the school argues, the third charge against Mack “is not warranted in this case.”
The enforcement staff has 60 days to submit a written reply to the hearing panel, U of L and individuals involved. Following a prehearing conference, the enforcement staff is to prepare a statement of the case that summarizes the parties’ positions on each allegation and a list of remaining areas of disagreement.
There is no deadline for the IARP’s decision, which will be final. In the only IARP case that has closed so far, NC State waited 132 days between its hearing and a ruling.
CARDS LOSE ANOTHER PLAYER AND A RECRUIT
U of L’s roster churn in the wake of the coaching change from Mack and Mike Pegues to Kenny Payne is picking up steam as the Cards are losing a part-time starter from the past three seasons and a key recruit.
Samuel Williamson, a 6-foot-7 junior who is a former McDonald’s All-American but never reached his expected potential at U of L, has entered the transfer portal. And Tae Davis, older brother of current Card Dre Davis, has requested a release from his letter of intent.
Williamson, from Rockwall, Texas, played in 30 games this past season, with six starts. He averaged 5.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and shot 44.8 percent (64-143) while playing 16.4 minutes per game.
Tae Davis, who signed with Mack’s staff in November, posted on social media that he was reopening his recruitment “because of the recent coaching change.” He thanked the coaches and Louisville fans “for all their love and support they gave me throughout the time I was committed.” He verbally committed in December, 2020, choosing the Cards over Indiana, Purdue and Xavier.