Rick Pitino is seeking $36 million from the University of Louisville because he believes the university did not have "just cause" to fire him, reports The Courier-Journal.
Louisville fired Pitino in the wake of the F.B.I's probe into college basketball, which uncovered bribery, wire fraud and corruption across many of the nation's top programs. A man referred to in the F.B.I. complaint as "Coach-2"—which is believed to be Pitino—is accused of funneling $100,000 from Adidas to secure the commitment of Brian Bowen.
The $36 million is what Pitino would be owed under his contract, but the university is arguing that it does not have to pay the remaining money because it had good reason to fire him.
The crux of Pitino's lawsuit is the coach's assertion that he had no knowledge of Adidas' alleged bribes, and that their corrupt activity resulted in his firing.
In an affidavit submitted to Louisville's board in a meeting to discuss his firing, Pitino said, according to ESPN:
"I had no part—active, passive, or through willful ignorance—in the conspiracy described in the complaint. I had no reason to know about the conspiracy described in the complaint, and no reason to know about the complicity of any UL assistant coach or staff member in any bribery conspiracy. I never have had any part—active, passive, or through willful ignorance—in any effort, successful or unsuccessful, completed or abandoned, to pay any recruit, or any family member of a recruit, or anyone else on a recruit's behalf, as an inducement to attend UL."
It's not the first scandal Pitino has been a part of. In 2009, Pitino admitted to having consensual sex with a woman who then extorted him. Six years later, a woman detailed illegal activities that went on at parties thrown for Louisville recruits. Louisville imposed a self-imposed postseason ban for the 2016 season, and Pitino was later suspended for five games for failing to aptly monitor the program.
Last month, Pitino reportedly filed a suit against Adidas, ostensibly for their role in his firing.