Before you continue reading, let’s get something straight. I do not support the activities by the Louisville basketball team, the staff or the recruits whatsoever. That is not what this article is about. This article is advocating for the athletes who just got their 2013 National Championship vacated and their wins. This is coming from a former Division 1 Athlete whose life belonged to NCAA for four years of my life and even before that during recruiting. Please keep an open mind while reading this article.
So you’re a former basketball player from UofL, enjoying retirement and you get news that all the wins you worked day in and day out for, is being vacated. If you were a team that didn’t get a lot of wins maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. But here at Louisville, wins were the standard. You racked up wins and then you even went on to win a National Championship. You gave your blood, sweat, and tears, (literally) to this program and the NCAA is going to punish you by ruling those wins no longer valid for activities off the court. Talk about heartbreak.
Again, I do not condone the activities that got them this punishment but I do not agree with how the punishment was carried out. The activities that got them suspended were wrong, I agree but they were carried OFF the court and they are being punished for the victories that happened ON the court.
What people have to understand about being an athlete is that your entire life basically belongs to the NCAA. They have rules in place starting from when you are in high school all the way until your last game. We personally don’t make money for the things we do on the field. Or the things we do off the field. We are publicized, but see no profit from the jerseys made, autographs signed, or appearances. We love every minute of it, but those championship trophies and rings and just the title of getting to call yourself a champion, mean everything to us.
I’m a firm believer that you CANNOT take those wins from those players. They earned them. To be stripped away of everything that you have ever worked for your whole life, is heartbreaking. Some of the players on the team didn’t even participate in the off the court activities so why should they be punished as well?
Did the activities that happened off the court affect their ability to beat Michigan? I don’t think so. Now some will argue well it’s those activities that got those players to sign to Louisville. Well still, those activities probably had 0 correlation to their performance on the court for that game. So now who’s the champion? Michigan? I don’t think I would want the pity title. What does taking away the wins do? Everyone knows who actually won those games. It just doesn’t make sense to me and I feel that it does nothing for anyone. There are so many different ways Louisville could have been punished. Make their fine bigger, fire staff, I don’t know. I’m not a judge. But to rule someone’s hard work on and off the court, invalid, that’s unfair.
It is 2018 and 5 years later they are installing this punishment. What's done is done. I think the people handling this case should have just charged a fine and moved forward. I don't think it did anything to just take a title away. They literally have been the champions for 5 years now. However, I was not on the case, and I'm not going to sit here and argue, I just sympathize with those players.
Now moving on to another part of the scandal. Louisville self imposed a post-season ban for 2015-2016. Again, I disagree with this punishment. There are guys that were a part of that team that year who signed to U of L with the opportunity of playing in the NCAA tournament as a big reason. They didn’t get the opportunity to. There were guys a part of that team that didn’t participate in the controversy being punished. I sympathize with these guys.
My prayer is that hopefully with all these punishments in place, Louisville can move forward and no longer have to live that nightmare. I wish nothing but the best for not only Louisville, but college athletics in general. It’s a hard culture to be a part of, but I pray that it continues to change people’s lives for good, give opportunities nothing else can, and can leave this negativity behind.
All in All, I think at the end of the day, Louisville has handled this situation well. I commend David Pagett for doing what he did this season. Being thrown into a messy situation, I’m sure has been no easy task. They fought adversity all year and those guys handled it with class. Proud of be a Card!