NCAA denies Louisville’s appeal, rules team must vacate 2013 national title

Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — The Louisville men’s basketball program won the NCAA Championship in 2013, but there will soon be no record of it. The NCAA ruled Tuesday that the team will have to vacate its 2013 title and 2012 Final Four appearance, despite an appeal to what the school called “Draconian penalties” placed on them last year.

“I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,” Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a statement. “We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case — based on NCAA precedent — that supported our argument.”

The penalties are a result of an investigation that included allegations that a former Louisville staff member arranged for striptease dances and sex acts for players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011 to 2015. This same investigation led to the firing of legendary head coach Rick Pitino, who denied any knowledge of the incidents, athletic director Tom Jurich and university President James Ramsey’s resignation.

Louisville will be the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, but in a news conference after the announcement, interim athletics director Vince Tyra said the wins will not be forgotten.

“We’ll remove the official recognition, but it won’t remove it from our hearts and minds,” Tyra said. “It brings closure to one of these situations. It’s not going to bring closure to the successes and memories our teams had. I’m sad for our players and certainly our staff members.”

What’s next for Louisville? Postel says it’s time to put this behind them and move forward as a program and university.

“This dark cloud has hung over our heads for more than two years, and it has had a negative impact on our athletics program, our fans and the entire university family,” he said. “While we disagree with the NCAA’s decision, it is time for the university to close this chapter and move forward with a stronger commitment to excellence on and off the court.”

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