Troubles in the House of Cards

Ahhhh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears/ Bury the rag deep in your face/ For now’s the time for your tears

— Bob Dylan (Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)

I am sad.

I am mad.

I am ashamed.

This is a fourth incarnation, a fourth written recitation, a fourth attempt to gather and express my jumbled thoughts about the state of the University of Louisville and University of Louisville basketball program in the wake of the NCAA penalties.

There have been umpteen more conflicting contemplations roiling about in my head and heart, since the recent announcements about malfeasance at the Foundation and the basketball penalties and the defiant, in your face response by the powers that be at U of L to NCAA sanctions.

I had essentially decided to abstain. I was tired of thinking about it. There’s been enough said already, it seems. What does one more opinion matter?

But, for some odd reason, and honestly I’m not sure why, I’ve been implored by readers and fans for my opinion. Beats me why, to be frank. I’m simply a half century U of L Cardinal acolyte, a double alum, a guy with too much vocabulary but enough knowledge of Word Press to type out some opinionation and click the publish button.

But my take on the matter is no more valid than anybody else’s.

But the gauntlet has been thrown down.

One loyal reader, wondering why I hadn’t weighed in, accused me of being “blinded” by my loyalty.

Another said my failure to address the untoward situation was an “abdication.”

As if I were Edward VII and there was a Mrs. Wallis Simpson obscuring my vision.

So, here goes, what I feel, short and quick.

To Jim Ramsey, I simply gotta ask: WTF?

For all your many good deeds while captain of the ship, what turned you into Bernie Madoff?

To the power brokers in the athletic department, what happened to reason during the recent “branding” and build up of U of L sports?

Here’s how you displayed your empathy with the Cardinal hoops faithful , long time fans now facing a record book erasure of the 2013 NCAA hoops title: A ticket price INCREASE for next season.

How, uh, sweet and understanding and compassionate.

A ticket price increase at this moment of ignominy? Really?

And, to the coach, who got a token five game suspension, which is not even a slap on the wrist, but more granny wagging her finger at you because you ate one of the snickerdoodles she baked for her quilting bee, be a stand up guy and take the punishment like a man.

I, like most, truly believe you didn’t know what was going on, but you’re in charge. The meretricious Minardi shenanigans happened on your watch. Rules were broken. Serve the minimal sentence and move on.

As for Andre McGee, well, I’ll ask you the same thing I inquired of Ramsey, WTF? What could you possibly have been thinking? In the wake of late season meltdowns against Michigan State, California and Morehead State, was the pressure from above to ratchet up recruiting that intense?

Truth: That ’13 title will more than likely be wiped from the NCAA’s books. The banner will be ordered down from the rafters and mothballed.

But, you know what?

The Cards won that championship. On the hardwood. Fair and square.

Louisville 82, Michigan 76.

Luke Hancock netted those four treys in a row.

Montrezl Harrell slammed that go ahead dunk.

Jim Nantz indeed exclaimed, “And just like that, in the blink of an eye, Louisville comes from twelve back and takes the lead.”

Peyton Siva played the most relentless forty minutes of any Cardinal in any game in the school’s storied hoops history.

It’s on tape and entwined in the helix of the DNA of all true Cardinal fans.

There’s not an eraser large enough to eradicate what actually happened.

That win, that fairly won crown, lives in my/ our hearts and souls.

It matters not a whit to me what the NCAA chooses to do.

Louisville will forever and always be the 2013 national champion.

The legacy of the school I attended, and basketball program that has been the love of my life since 1952, is indeed tarnished.

But we shall forge ahead.

My loyalty is true and deep.

I am embarrassed.

I am sad.

I am pissed.

But I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And neither are the University of Louisville Cardinals.

— Seedy K


20 thoughts on “Troubles in the House of Cards

  1. Since it was widely assumed that Pitino would be suspended for at least a few games, I initially blamed Smrt for not advising UL to impose a suspension on Pitino in the 2016 “throwaway” season, since the season had been rendered meaningless by the self-imposed ban, rather than 2017-18 when much more is at stake.
    After listening to Pitino, I now suspect that Smrt probably DID recommend a self imposed suspension, but that the defiant Pitino rejected it.

  2. I recall Pitino saying that NCAA punishments should hit coaches where they live: their multi million $$$ salaries. It would be a welcome gesture for Pitino to voluntarily give up his salary and endorsements for 1 year. And for Jurich and Ramsey to waive their salaries, bonuses and perks for the same period. But that’s not happening.

  3. A fair-minded take, as per usual. I would feel exactly the same if I was a Cardinal faithful.

  4. We don’t need no stinkin’ banner ! We WON on the hardwood and can’t nobody deny it. Now if the NCAA wants to take back the NCAA championship merchandise they sold at their tents and reimburse me I would happily comply. I can do just fine with the memory and knowledge that the NCAA title was won in 2013 by our Cards

  5. O me!, what eyes hath Love put in my head
    Which have no correspondence with true sight;
    Or if they have, where is my judgment fled
    That censures falsely what they see aright?
    —William Shakespeare [on Blind Love]

  6. Seedy, a five game suspension for Pitino, and you’re willing to just move on?

  7. I’ve been struggling with any kind of perception for this miss. You have provided a little. Thank you Chuck!

  8. I guess living in Louisville can damper your thoughts. My, being a graduate in 1955 and a very long and devoted fan, it’s difficult living In North Carolina, in the heart of the ACC. The university is truly an embarrassment. I have contiplated removing my UL sticker from my automobile. I have wonderful memories of Peck and Frank and victories in the armory and at Parkway Field.

  9. Hey Chuck; Thank you for sharing your feelings. You and I could have been sitting in the same row at the old Armory in 1952.

    The luster of UL basketball has been tarnished. Even after thinking of the great Bradley, Bearcat , Memphis, Syracuse,Notre Dame, Duke games,the NIT and NCAA Championships and the Dream Game there is an empty feeling.

    I know when I travel and basketball is brought up I will get hammered. I can only imagined how some of our great players feel or what is said to them out on the street,

    The over/under for how many times the TV announcers will say sex scandal or dancers is 40 for next basketball season. It will start with the first football game.

    1. Bob, I was surprised that, at least as far as I can recall, the situation was not mentioned during U of L games in the College World Series.

  10. I should have mentioned that a friend from Atlanta called the other day to say that he had just seen a banner running on ESPN that Louisville players honored for both football and baseball player for the first time in NCAA history. So there’s that !

    1. On the ESPN CWS telecast, they mentioned that it actually was done once before. At Oklahoma State, when Barry Sanders won the Heisman, and Robin Ventura won the baseball award. I’m just wondering if college baseball’s highest award then wasn’t called the Golden Spikes? Which, if so, would mean the U of L boast is technically correct. Either way, it’s very cool. Though both the football team and baseball teams underperformed at the end this school year (along with basketball), though the baseball team did make it to the equivalent of the Elite 8.

  11. Quick research tells me U of L’s boast might not be true. Ventura and Sanders, both Oklahoma State Cowboys, won the awards in 1988. Though, technicality, Sanders might have won it for the following football season, which would be a different school year, same calendar year.

  12. Odd & eerie that you quoted Hattie Carroll — as I sent you that a few days later – weird wacky wonderful –

    I’ve told you the story but I’ll say it again – FOLLOW THE MONEY – it was the SHOE COMPANIES !

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