IARP Panel Issues Ruling in Louisville Matter



The panel convened in the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) issued its decision in the Louisville Infractions Case. In finding that many of the current members of the athletic department, coaching staff, and men’s basketball team had “little to nothing to do with the behaviors at issue,” the panel issued only minor penalties to the University of Louisville.


In 2020, Louisville was given a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, largely based on the pay-for-play scheme unveiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) probe into multiple programs. At Louisville, the probe centered around former top 100 recruit Brian Bowen Jr. during Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino’s tenure as head coach of Louisville’s men’s basketball team.


As a part of the scheme, former Adidas employees Jim Gatto, Christian Dawkins, and T.J. Gassnola attempted to pay Brian Bowen Sr.—through Louisville assistant coaches—thousands of dollars for Brian Bowen Jr. to commit to Louisville. In October 2017, within a month of the FBI revealing the scheme, Louisville fired Rick Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich. Brian Bowen Jr. was never allowed to play for the Cardinals.


The NCAA added more allegations in October 2021 involving an assistant coach’s extortion attempt on former Louisville head coach Chris Mack. In January 2022, Louisville parted ways with Mack.


Despite acknowledging that many of the individuals involved in the scheme/recruiting violations are no longer at the institution, the panel issued multiple penalties, including:

  • $5,000 fine;

  • Two years of probation;

  • Prohibition of unofficial visits for two weeks;

  • Prohibition of recruiting communications for an additional two weeks; and

  • Seven-day reduction in the number of recruiting days;

Importantly, current Iona University men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino avoided sanctions due to the panel finding that Pitino “promoted an atmosphere of compliance.” Thus, he was not involved in the scheme.


Note, there is no appeal process for the IARP. Therefore, this decision brings the Louisville pay-for-play saga to an end.


With the Louisville decision, the IARP continues to wind down its case list. In August, the Division I Board of Directors decided to eliminate the IARP. The Louisville case demonstrates the big issue with the IARP—final decisions took far too long. Therefore, the Board of Directors is aiming to accelerate the timelines for issuing infractions decisions. Now, Louisville can begin to move forward as a program.


Landis Barber is an attorney at Safran Law Offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or via his blog offthecourtdocket.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Landisbarber.