LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Rick Pitino's attorney struck back Wednesday evening with defiant and harsh words after it was announced the UofL head coach had been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
In a statement, the hall of fame coach's legal team said Pitino has in effect been fired and now the legal process will follow its course.
The statement goes on to say Pitino has done nothing wrong and the judgment is quote "regrettable."
WAVE 3 News anchor Scott Reynolds spoke exclusively with Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, who believes the university clearly violated its' own policy along with Pitino's contract.
"They changed the locks," Pence said.
"Did he try to get in?" Reynolds asked.
"Well he was there and of course he was saying goodbye to the players but they did change the locks on the doors," Pence said.
Pence said the university changed its own policy and what Pitino's contract stipulates - no disciplinary action until written notice and Pitino would get a hearing with university leaders.
"In this case the process was completely reversed. What they did is they first took action and said we'll give you a hearing later, it's tantamount to a judge sending the jury out and saying give me a guilty verdict and when you come back I'll tell you what the evidence is," Pence said.
Pence pointed out that at the four universities with assistant coaches who were actually named and arrested by the FBI no action has been quickly taken regarding head coaches.
"No one with UofL has been charged with anything, certainly we don't know what the circumstances were, nobody does. There's been, as I said in my statement and as coach said, a real rush to judgment here less than 24 hours without anybody really knowing what the facts are," Pence said.
Pence said he fully expects the university to pay the remainder of Pitinos contract through 2026. That's more than $40 million.
"It's the new administrations the new boards team to build up now because it clearly has been burned to the ground today," Pence said.
Will this be a protracted legal battle, Pence said that will be up to the university and he said he absolutely believes Pitino will be exonerated of any knowledge of wrongdoing in this FBI probe.