Rick Pitino: We need to get shoe companies out of players' lives

Thursday October 9th, 2014

Rick Pitino wants shoe companies out of young basketball player's lives and thinks the NCAA should host and operate all AAU events according to the Louisville Courier-Journal's Jeff Greer

Pitino's comments came during a general media session after a practice on Thursday that quickly turned to the topic of shoe companies' impact on college recruiting. 

Pitino remarked that it was more difficult to recruit AAU players with an affiliation to an athletic apparel brand different from Louisville's affiliated brand, Adidas. The reason no one discusses this issue, Pitino went on to tell Greer and others, is because the school "makes a lot of money" through Adidas. Shoe companies, he said, are "recruiting like us in the summertime. It's very tough to address because our pockets are lined with their money."​ 

Pitino's comments come as Louisville is in the middle of renewing its contract with Adidas.

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According to Greer, Pitino repeatedly mentioned his angst toward shoe companies was a reference to a specific instance the school had had with a non-Adidas recruit. Top 25 recruit Antonio Blakeney committed and then decommitted from Louisville last month. Blakeney played for Nike-sponsored AAU team 'Each 1 Teach 1.'

- Will Green

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