UofL men denied opportunity to cheer on UofL women in New Orlean - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

UofL men denied opportunity to cheer on UofL women in New Orleans

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UofL players getting their luggage after return to Louisville Tuesdya afternpoon. UofL players getting their luggage after return to Louisville Tuesdya afternpoon.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The national champion Louisville Cardinals are back home. The team flew into Louisville International Airport from Atlanta around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, despite wanting to go to New Orleans instead.

Players told Coach Rick Pitino after their win against Michigan Monday night, they wanted to fly to New Orleans. That's where the UofL women will play Connecticut in the national championship game Tuesday night. The men's team was known to attend several of the women's game during the regular season.

"I think it's awesome. You should always cheer on the athletes and support them no matter what," said fan Dana Avondolo after learning of the men's plans.

Kenny Klein, Louisville Sports Information Director, said when the team asked to travel to New Orleans, the school looked over the NCAA rules, but determined chartering that flight would be an extra benefit and a violation.

"I was hoping they were going to be able to, but rules are rules so it was hard for them to be able to pull something off like that," said fan Clayton Elliott.

By Tuesday morning, the NCAA told the team they could expedite a waiver to keep them in compliance.

"We reached out to the university to let it know that, despite current rules around championship travel, accommodations are available if Louisville decides to utilize them," explained Stacey Osburn, NCAA Director of Public and Media Relations.
"This is consistent with NCAA membership's ongoing efforts toward providing flexibility, particularly in unique circumstances like this one."

Klein said by that point, the university already finalized their travel plans and could not rearrange for the men to join Coach Pitino, Athletic Director Tom Jurich and President James Ramsey who will be attending the women's game in New Orleans.

Even though the players won't be there in person, fans like Elliot are still "hopeful they'll be able to send all their regards."

Louisville is the first school in nine years to have two teams playing in the national championship game. UConn, the women's opponent, was the last school to do it in 2004.

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