When Pitino was the Cardinals’ coach, the NCAA released new charges against Rick Pitino in the Louisville violation case involving Brian Bowen’s recruitment. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, which obtained UL’s response to the NCAA’s revised notice of charges, the source of the new charges is Merl Code’s “Black Market” book, which paints the former Louisville coach as an accomplice in the bribery scheme. It involved Bowen – a five-star recruit in the 2017 class – and Adidas
Cod, who has already spent time in prison, published his book earlier this year. In it, Pitino wrote that he was aware of and approved the $100,000 offer to Bowen’s father. The Courier-Journal was the first to report the news of the NCAA’s complex case division filing additional charges after obtaining information through an open records request. The CCU issued an amended notice of suit last September, which will be determined through an independent liability resolution process.
“As a consultant for Adidas, I did not act on my own, nor could I do this,” Code wrote in the book. “I simply presented the idea to my superiors, who did the same after consulting with Rick Pitino, and the response from above was, “Rick needs our help. Finish it.”
In February, Tim Sullivan reported that Pitino’s lawyer tried to stop the publication of the “black market”. However, the efforts failed as they were still released in March. So far, Pitino – now the coach at Iona – has not commented much on the book, but has denied the code claims.
“For the 10th time, I don’t know who Merle Code is and why he’s using me and others,” Pitino said in February. “Confirmed non-participation by Brian Bowen’s father, Christian Dawkins and TJ Gasonola.”
PitinoAdidas has denied knowing anything about the money it paid Brian Bowen’s family.
Meanwhile, Louisville has denied the coding allegations, calling the claims “hearsay.”
“Reasonably prudent persons would not rely on statements in the Code’s book to guide serious cases because the Code is guilty of criminal fraud by engaging in subject matter on which CCU relies,” read Louisville’s response. According to USA Today.
“…including sensational allegations in the book, regardless of their accuracy, are a clear way to boost Goose’s book sales (and code revenues) and, perhaps, to some, lessen his guilt for his crimes and rehabilitate his image.”