Ex-Louisville coach Rick Pitino pointed to a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
In an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas that aired Wednesday night, ex-Louisville head coach Rick Pitino repeatedly denied having any knowledge of his former school’s scheme to pay prospective basketball players.
Pitino backed up his claim by saying he passed a lie detector test about Louisville’s alleged $100,000 payment to Brian Bowen.
“I was asked two questions,” Pitino said. “And I said, ‘I want you to ask me if any other recruits in my tenure were ever given anything.’ And [the person administering the test] said, ‘That’s not what we're here for. We’re here for: Did you have any knowledge of the Bowen family getting any money? Did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?’ I answered ‘absolutely not’ on both questions and passed the lie detector test. So I had no knowledge of any of this.”
The Supreme court ruled in 1998 that lie detector tests are not reliable evidence.
“To this day, the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. “There is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's conclusion is accurate.”
Pitino did take responsibility for having hired two assistant coaches—Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair—who were implicated in the scandal. Fair was fired by the school while Johnson remains on paid administrative leave.
The FBI alleges that an Atlanta sports agent named Christian Dawkins said in a meeting with an undercover FBI agent and an FBI informant that he had spoken “spoken with [Pitino] about getting additional money for [Bowen’s’] family.” Dawkins said he told Pitino to call Adidas executive Jim Gatto and Pitino’s phone records show three phone calls to Gatto between May 27 and June 1. Bowen committed to Louisville on June 3. Pitino told Bilas that he spoke with people from Adidas “maybe two or three times a year.”