On Tuesday, the University of Louisville stated that Clint Hurtt would remain on the staff at the University of Louisville.
This comes after the NCAA announced a two year ‘show cause’ penalty against Clint Hurtt as result of the investigation to the University of Miami.
This comes after that punishment would take Hurtt off the recruiting trail until 2014. An aspect of Hurtt’s attributes that probably attracted the University of Louisville to make the hire in the first place. In 2012, Hurtt was named ESPN’s ‘Recruiting of the Year’. During his stint at the University of Louisville he’s been directly responsible for the signing of 7 of 12 four star recruits.
All of this – at least until the end of his current contract – is taken away from Hurtt, leaving a simple question: If he can’t recruit, why take the risk of having a negative-mark on the University due to retaining him?
Athletic Director Tom Jurich was direct in answering that question on Tuesday saying that- for better or for worse- the penalties set forth by the NCAA weren’t enough for Jurich to exchange his loyalty.
What the NCAA said was that Hurt broke several recruiting rules while at the University of Miami. Things like letting potential recruits sleep at his house. Things like getting close to boosters, borrowing large sums of money and promising to pay back.
The NCAA even took it a step farther when they said that Hurtt knowingly misled the investigation team following the investigation.
“I’ve chosen to reinstate coach Hurtt today. Clint has worked with us diligently to make this happen,” Tom Jurich noted.
A simple statement by Jurich that is sure to set forth a whirlwind of critics.
They are justified.
In essence, the claims of the NCAA are a textbook example of an noncompliance. It said as much in it’s 104 page report regarding the investigation into the University of Miami.
“Former assistant football coach B (Hurtt) knowingly engaged in unethical conduct, including the offer of impermissible inducements and benefits and providing false and misleading information to the enforcement staff in the investigation of this case.”
That’s ‘Story A’.
‘Story B’ goes a bit different. Hurtt takes full responsibility for his actions at the Miami. Jurich acknowledged them saying that he’s matured through such things. Here’s where things change. The NCAA says Hurtt misled the investigation of Miami while at UofL because his story didn’t match the ones of a dozen-plus recruits that they interviewed. Hurtt says that’s not the case.
By all accounts, Jurich has chosen to believe Story B.
“I take Clint [Hurtt] at face value,” Jurich explained. “I really believe in the four years he’s been here, he’s been very truthful and very honest. He looked forward to those meetings with the NCAA. He’s even requested those…I’m more inclined to look at what he’s done here these four years [At the University of Louisville].”
Louisville choose to believe a coach over the NCAA that continues to show it’s negligence with each passing day.
The NCAA that has displayed not much of a leadership arm.
The NCAA that had it’s own investigators removed from the case while probing Miami. An investigation that forced them to fire their own Vice President of Enforcement in Julie Roe Lach for “knowingly circumvented legal advice.”
I can’t explain to you how crooked that it is. Perhaps I lack the vocabulary but the mess of the NCAA left by the Miami investigation has left even the finest writers at a loss for words.
Should we be skeptical of Louisville’s decision?
Sure, UofL is keeping a person after he’s violated NCAA rules.
Should we be critical of Louisville’s decision?
Sure, if Clint Hurtt actually lied (and unfortunately we have no way of knowing) then Louisville has now made a strikingly hypocritical move by keeping a coach who violates one of their core values – no lying.
But you should also applaud the University of Louisville’s decision.
Yes, read it again, applause is in order. For two reasons:
The Louisville Athletic Department took a stand against the NCAA. It shrugged off the notation that one of it’s coaches violated serious bylaws and knowingly lied to the NCAA. It accepted the notation that Hurtt violated rules while at Miami – and there is no indecision about that as Hurtt said so himself – but denied that he did anything wrong at Louisville. Now whether Louisville has any moral ground to stand on in which to do this is no matter. But, I’ll applaud them for taking a stand against the perhaps the most hypocritical governing body around.
“I went out and was truthful about what I said. Obviously there was some disagreement, and that’s fine. But I was truthful from the get-go. I didn’t change my story,” Hurtt noted on Tuesday. “My whole purpose going into this was to be truthful and get everything off my back. I know I made mistakes and wasn’t trying to hide anything and was willing to live with any repercussions that came with it. But the decision that they made, I have to respect it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with it, but I accept all the accountability for it because that’s what I believe, I was wrong and I made mistakes. I owned up to it.”
Louisville choose to believe their Coach over the dozen of High School recruits that NCAA interviewed who said otherwise.
Why shouldn’t they?
The NCAA has proven to be as credible as a convict in prison. Countless of times their ‘investigation’ tactics and ways of obtaining information have proven to be unethical and laughable. Maybe it started with the Penn State scandal that left the NCAA with it’s first black mark, maybe it was when the NCAA decided that an member of the Armed Forces shouldn’t play in a sport because of mindless intramural games. What Louisville did on Tuesday is best described metaphorically: They believed a coach who was sincere in his atonement over a guy that has proven to be a lifelong felon.
What would you do?
The Athletic Department and Tom Jurich has continued to show their unwavering loyalty to their Head Coaches. For better or worse, it’s the way it’s been. The most notable instances came when Rick Pitino was at the height of the Karen Sypher scandal. Jurich maintained his unwavering support for Pitino. There have been countless of occasions where Jurich has supported his leaders through times of peril and more often than not, he’s been rewarded.
Jurich has quite possibly been as perfect as an Athletic Director can be during his tenure at Louisville. There are no unethical or anything that would directly violate the NCAA rules on his record. Jurich has been about as squeaky clean as you can get when it gets to the NCAA and compliance. It’s been his calling card since his arrival at Louisville.
Tom Jurich has set a precedent of excellence and has provided little reason for me to be critical of him. Even in a moment that may leave a temporarily stain on the program, the loyalty of Jurich and company will pay terrific dividends down the road.
The NCAA has said that Hurtt lied at Louisville. The Miami situation – while striking and serious – is the issue here. I think most folks expected Louisville to take the simple road and kick Hurtt to curb. I can’t say I agree with Louisville’s decision to retain him. But I will applaud a University for – finally – not passing judgement on a human being that they’ve displayed to be nothing but a ‘model citizen’.
As the odd adage goes: “Believe nothing you hear.” Quite possibly the author of that quote forgot to add ‘From the NCAA’ on the end of that. I applaud Louisville for taking the gamble, it’s about time somebody did.
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