In a shocking and unexpected twist to the alleged sex scandal surrounding the University of Louisville men's basketball team, the school has self-imposed a ban for this postseason.
U of L President James Ramsey, athletic director Tom Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino met with the media at 1:30 p.m. and Ramsey announced the postseason ban.
The Cardinals will not participate in the ACC or NCAA men's basketball tournament.
"It's reasonable to conclude that violations have occurred in men’s basketball program in the past," Ramsey said as he started the news confernece by reading a prepared statement.
Added NCAA investigator: "This is a very significant step for an instution when a case is not concluded."
Pitino informed his current team before the news conference. He said the team stood up and while crying, hugged graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, who came to Louisville for their final season in hopes of their first NCAA tournament bid.
"They were hit over the head with a sledgehammer," Pitino said. "Watching our guys stand up and cry and just seeing the emotion, it was pretty tough."
The has been investigating - along with also the NCAA - since October after self-proclaimed madam Katina Powell came out with a tell-all book "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen." She alleged former U of L staff member Andre McGee paid for strippers and escorts for U of L recruits and players.
Louisville immediately hired former NCAA investigator Chuck Smrt to investgate for the school. The NCAA then started its own investigation but no formal Notice of Allegations from the NCAA has been received. A source told Cardinal Authority last week the Notice of Allegations wasn't expected until after this season.
U of L could have waited and watched this season play out. The Cardinals are 18-4 and in second place in the ACC with a game tomorrow at the KFC Yum Center against Boston College at noon.
Louisville has played in nine straight NCAA Tournaments, the sixth-longest active streak.
"A week ago after speaking with Tom, I didn't think there was any way this would happen this year," Pitino said. "Tom and I have been kept in the dark on this from the beginning. And that's the way it was supposed to be.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen."