Louisville places Rick Pitino, AD on administrative leave (copy)

Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino leaves Grawemeyer Hall after having a meeting with the university's interim president Greg Postel on Wednesday in Louisville, Ky. Louisville announced Wednesday that it has placed Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Michael Clevenger, Courier-Journal via AP

University of Arizona assistant basketball coach Emanuel Richardson entered the U.S. District Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, wearing the same clothes he was arrested in earlier in the day Tuesday, there to face charges of accepting bribes and paying at least one recruit to attend the school.

Across the country, nine other people, including three more assistant coaches, were arrested after a federal probe revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents, even tailors.

In a related move, the University of Louisville placed head men's basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich on administrative leave.

Charges against Taylor include conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes by an agent of a federally funded organization, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and travel act conspiracy. If convicted, Richardson is facing a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, court officials told the Arizona Daily Star.

The arrests will have an immediate — and potentially long-lasting — impact on the programs involved. As the tentacles of the probe reach deeper into college basketball, more schools could come into the crosshairs and the black eye on the sport could darken.

"The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one," acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in New York.

Richardson, along with fellow assistant coaches Chuck Person of Auburn, Southern California's Tony Bland and Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans were all suspended after charges against them were announced.

James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, Rashan Michel, a maker of custom suits for some of the NBA's biggest stars, and various financial advisers and managers also were charged. Michel worked as an NBA referee for four seasons starting in 1997. ESPN reported Wednesday that two football players, former LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, were among the players who wore Michel's suits on the first night of the NFL draft.

Federal prosecutors said at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name the schools but contained enough details to identify them as Louisville and Miami.

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Louisville is already under NCAA probation over a sex scandal after an investigation into a Cardinals staffer hiring escorts for sex parties and to strip for recruits and players. The NCAA said Louisville must vacate up to 123 victories earned with ineligible players and suspended Pitino five games for failing to monitor former staffer Andre McGee.

Pitino also had to testify in 2010 in a federal extortion trial for the wife of the school's equipment manager, when he acknowledged under oath to having an extramarital affair with her in a Louisville restaurant.

Pitino is not named in the federal documents, though the school acknowledged it is under investigation by the FBI.

On Wednesday, Louisville moved swiftly to oust Pitino and his boss, athletics director Tom Jurich. UofL acting president Greg Postel placed both on administrative leave, Pitino unpaid and Jurich paid. The coach's attorney, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has "effectively fired" Pitino.

"I'm more angry than embarrassed," Postel said Wednesday at a news conference, adding that an interim coach would be announced within 48 hours. "We will be looking for someone with integrity. ... There's no reason this team can't have a good season."

Postel also said Wednesday that one student-athlete has been informed he will not practice or play for the university until the investigation is resolved. He did not name the athlete allegedly involved in the investigation, which federal documents list as a high school All-American.

The player's name also was not released by federal prosecutors, but details in the criminal complaint make it clear investigators were referring to 6-foot-7 Brian Bowen. The freshman has yet to play in a game with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have been winning under Pitino, who has a 416-143 record over 16 years at Louisville, including a 2013 NCAA championship. But there have been continuing off-court issues.

As the leader of the program, Pitino could end up taking the blame if the allegations prove to be true. The NCAA could also give Louisville the death penalty, grounding the basketball powerhouse.

Jurich, who has been at the school for nearly 20 years, has always supported Pitino through many embarrassing transgressions.

But Postel said, "It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior."

Pitino's future meanwhile will be evaluated at a later date, Postel said, while his assistants' status will be examined by the interim AD. Jurich's future will be determined by the school's Board of Trustees.

As part of the fallout from the sex scandal, Pitino's program had been ordered to vacate up to 123 victories in which ineligible players received improper benefits — a period that includes the 2013 title, Louisville's third national championship— along with the 2012 Final Four appearance. The NCAA also placed the school on four years' probation and ordered the return of money received through conference revenue sharing.

Pitino was ordered to miss five unspecified Atlantic Coast Conference games this season.

Jurich previously was athletics director at Northern Arizona University from 1988 to 1994.

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Auburn coach Bruce Pearl could face similar heat.

He coached at Tennessee from 2005-11 before being fired and hit with a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA for lying to investigators about recruiting violations. Pearl was given a second chance at Auburn, but another scandal could spell trouble for him if the allegations are proven true.

Regardless of whether the federal probe leads all the way to the top, the programs could take a hit — and not just from the NCAA.

With the prospect of an NCAA investigation on the horizon, top recruits may stay away. Current players in the programs could be declared ineligible if the probe finds they accepted money from an agent or an assistant coach.

Arizona coach Sean Miller has one of the top recruiting classes for 2018, and the Wildcats have been projected to be a top-10 team this season. Andy Enfield has a strong incoming recruiting class at Southern California and has a potential top-10 team this season.

The trajectory of the two Pac-12 programs could be altered as the probe deepens.

Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami, announced on Wednesday that it has confirmed with the U.S. Attorney's Office that it is investigating a "potential tie to one member of our coaching staff and a student recruit." The University of Alabama announced in a news release Wednesday afternoon that it has initiated an internal review of men's basketball operations, and that men's basketball director of operations Kobie Baker has resigned.

In its statement, it said its review hasn't identified any NCAA or Southeastern Conference rules violations.

And the initial charges could be just the tip of the iceberg. More programs and coaches could be entangled as the FBI digs deeper, and schools where the arrested coaches previously worked could face scrutiny.

The FBI and U.S. attorneys have the reach and the power to expand the investigation. It has also set up a tip line and encouraged anyone with information on the case to come forward.

This is far from over, and the implications could last for years.

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