Adidas says Pitino was 'aware and supported' pay-for-play payments

(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Nov. 27, 2017 at 7:22 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Sporting goods giant Adidas is asking a federal court to toss a lawsuit filed by former University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino.

The claim states that Pitino was "aware and supported" the pay-for-play scheme that cost him and athletic director, Tom Jurich, their jobs.

Adidas asks a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, or move it to another jurisdiction.


Pitino filed suit claiming Adidas made it look like he participated in the funneling of money to the family of a recruit, saying he was harmed publicly.

While no UofL coaches were named in the documents released on Sept. 25 by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, it is alleged "that at least one UofL coach (identified as "Coach-1") was aware and supported the scheme of direct payments to the families of basketball recruits."

In the federal documents, UofL "Coach-1" is caught on tape telling "Coach-2" that they must be extra careful in funneling the Adidas money to the prized recruit because the basketball program already was under such close scrutiny because of the stripper sex scandal.

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The recruit in question, Brian Bowen, was told last week that he will not play for the Cards and will be allowed to contact other schools.

Adidas terminated its contract with Pitino when he was fired.

Monday night, Pitino's lawyer sent us the following statement regarding the Adidas motion to dismiss or move his lawsuit:

The motion filed by adidas, Inc. to dismiss the federal complaint filed by Coach Pitino against the company cites no new facts and relies solely on the allegations contained in an indictment filed by the United States against adidas employee, James Gatto and others acting on behalf of adidas. Any suggestion by adidas that Coach Pitino knew or should have know [sic] of the payments made by an adidas representative or on behalf of adidas to any recruit or the family of any recruit is totally false and misleading.

In its motion, adidas has attempted to avoid accountability and deflect attention away from its own misconduct and that of its employees and representatives. Coach Pitino has clearly demonstrated that he did not know and could not have known of the conspiracy by adidas employees and representatives to make payments to the family of a recruit. The indictment does not allege otherwise. Indeed, Coach Pitino has passed a polygraph examination on this very issue. Every former player and assistant coach interviewed corroborates that Coach Pitino would never permit or tolerate an improper payment to be made to any recruit or player or their family.

The guilty parties at adidas will eventually be held accountable for their conduct – whether in federal court in Kentucky or another forum. A change of forum will not change the facts: Coach Pitino had no knowledge of the conspiracy hatched by adidas representatives and others to make payments to a recruit or their family. That conspiracy has damage Coach Pitino immeasurably.

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