McCarthy: Rick Pitino must go

Emmett McCarthy

There’s just no other choice, not when there are hookers involved.

It has nothing to do with the beatdown Louisville put on Colorado State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament when I say Rick Pitino should resign as the Cardinals head coach.

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Andre McGee, the key figure implicated in the U of L scandal, has already resigned from his assistant coaching job at Missouri-Kansas City. The writing is on the walls.

Coaches hear things. Rick Pitino gets paid over $4 million a year to devote endless energy and attention to this program. Until these rumors, he probably would have said that he always has.

It’s almost worse if he didn’t known. Either way, ignorance is not an excuse anymore. Just ask SMU head coach Larry Brown; legacy doesn’t always cut it.

Prostitution is a Class D felony in Kentucky, and it was allegedly happening in a U of L dorm. Billy Minardi Hall was named after Pitino’s late brother in-law, who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Five former players told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that they attended dorm parties on the U or L campus where they were provided dancers by strippers and, in some cases, sex. McGee, who joined Pitino’s staff as a graduate assistant in 2010 and was promoted to director of basketball operations in 2012 before leaving in 2014, supposedly footed the bill for all of it.

For four whole years, a member of Pitino’s staff allegedly paid for prostitutes for Pitino’s players in a dorm named after Pitino’s deceased brother in-law. No matter Pitino’s actual involvement, his name is all over this.

Turning a blind eye is inexcusable, much like the way the head coach is handling the situation with ACC Media Day this week.

Pitino will not be present Wednesday at ESPN’s Charlotte studios. Two of his players, Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, will be there answering questions, and the topic will almost surely be breached.

The guy who makes over $4 million to represent the program won’t have to answer questions about the scandal at Media Day, but the student-athletes who make nil might. That’s so wrong for so many reasons.

The excuses Pitino has ran out almost sounded valid for a second. He doesn’t want to be a distraction and he’s been legally advised not to talk.

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Then you remember he makes seven figures while the players make none, and that they will be doing his job for him at one of its most difficult junctures. That’s weak, and it’s cowardly.

The only way Pitino can be exonerated is if this whole situation is proven to be a fabrication. Not technically impossible, but it seems that way. 

This metaphor might not exactly fit, but bear with me: think of any job you’ve ever had, and imagine that a scandal broke that involved employees paying for prostitutes. Whether or not the boss knew, they wouldn’t have been your boss for much longer. You can’t just have prostitutes coming in and out on your watch.

If the allegations made in Breaking Cardinal Rules are true, then Rick Pitino, one of the most heralded coaches in college hoops, must go. There’s no other way around it.

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.