The University of Louisville Athletic Association’s board unanimously voted Monday to begin the process to terminate Rick Pitino “for cause,” which will take the school off the hook for the $44 million buyout in his contract if it succeeds.
Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave last week after he was tied to an alleged scheme to funnel $100,000 to the family of five-star recruit Brian Bowen Jr. with cash arranged by Adidas executive Jim Gatto.
“The board requested of me and authorized me to initiate the process to terminate for cause, as defined in Coach Pitino’s employment contract,” interim president Greg Postel said after the athletic association board’s meeting.
Postel said Pitino’s success at the school was not factored into the board’s decision.
Attorneys for Pitino, according to WDRB.com, officially served a breach of contract notice to the school on Monday, which means Pitino and the university are likely headed toward a contentious legal battle over the millions he believes he’s owed.
The school, according to Postel, believes it is only responsible for “10 days additional salary” from the day Pitino was removed, per the coach’s contractual stipulations related to termination for cause.
In a letter dated Sept. 27, 2017, and released Monday, Postel told Pitino that his ties to a corruption scandal that’s rocked college basketball “constitute material violations of your Employment Contract.”
Earlier Monday, Postel said the school would also re-evaluate its recently negotiated 10-year, $160 million extension with Adidas.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell confirmed that Jurich’s daughter was hired by Adidas as an NCAA brand communications manager earlier this year, prior to the negotiation of the school’s extension with the shoe and apparel giant.
Her father’s status was not decided at Monday’s board of trustees meeting. The board will make a final decision on Jurich at their Oct. 18 meeting.
“There has been no termination of Mr. Jurich,” Postel said.
Jurich has internal support. Football coach Bobby Petrino said Saturday that he hopes his “close friend” returns as athletic director, even though his exit would cut the football coach’s buyout in half.
And Louisville swim coach Arthur Albiero tweeted Monday that the school’s coaches had met and unanimously backed Jurich.
Postel said he hopes to meet with the coaches Tuesday and discuss their concerns.