The University of Louisville will appeal the NCAA's Infraction decision

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino puts his faith in the NCAA Infractions Appeals process

The NCAA Committee of Infractions notified the University of Louisville of its findings and judgement on Thursday morning with a 35-page document that detailed the reasoning for their punishment decisions.

In it's release, the NCAA noted that it was putting the U of L program on a four-year probation that includes the reduction of four scholarships over the period, a to-be-determined number of games to be vacated - potentially including the 2012 Final Four and 2013 National Championship - a suspension of five ACC games for head coach Rick Pitino, and return to the NCAA the money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Tournaments.

Additionally, the NCAA also accepted the prior self-imposed penalties, which included recruiting limitations, scholarship reductions and a ban from the 2015-16 tournament.

Those decisions surprised and stunned all within the program and in the President's office.

U of L Interim President Greg Postel was quick to state that he believes the NCAA "levied additional severe penalties that we believe are excessive."

Chuck Smrt, a former NCAA Enforcement staff member and council to U of L through this process, added that "the severity of this penalty we think exceeds the severity of this case."

Head coach Rick Pitino said all were "devastated" with the news and that the added punishment was "over-the-top."

The next step is an appeal.  The school quickly announced that it would appeal the NCAA's decision and its Hall of Fame coach is hopeful that the next committee will view things differently.

Related: Louisville will appeal NCAA penalties

Related: NCAA announces penalties

Document: NCAA Infractions Decision (35 pages)

Listen: NCAA Conference Call

"Personally, I've lost a lot of faith in the NCAA in everything that I've stood for in the last 35 years with what they just did," Pitino said, further adding  that, "I'm going to put all my faith and all my beliefs in the appeals committee that they will do the right things for the university, for the players and for everyone else."

The run of the late-night stripper parties organized by Andre McGee, the program's former Director of Operations, at Minardi Hall went undetected for four years.  No mention by players, managers, coaches and not a peep ever made on social media.

A statement made on behalf of Pitino by Scott Tompsett, an NCAA Infractions attorney, referred to the disappointment in evidence regarding these facts.

"The original allegation was that Coach Pitino failed to monitor by not actively looking for and evaluating red flags. But throughout the entire investigation and the nearly twelve-hour hearing before the Committee on Infractions, not once did either the enforcement staff or the Committee ever identify a single red flag. And today’s decision does not mention the phrase “red flag” a single time.

Instead, the decision hinges on a vaguely-worded rationale about creating an environment in which the violations eventually occurred, alleged delegating of monitoring to assistant coaches and Coach Pitino’s failure to train Mr. McGee."

Pitino expressed deep remorse and embarrassment for what occurred, but felt that the NCAA went to far in punishing the group for the actions of one individual.

"We are embarrassed about what went on and we're extremely contrite about what went on," Pitino said.  "One person does not determine the worth of what we are all about as a program because we do it the right way and we do the right things."

While he admitted pondering a career change he never truley considered leaving the program.

"Not one time," he said.

Instead, he sounded even more determined to guide the Cardinals to additional championships.

"I plan on staying here and winning multiple championships and not just one," he said.  "I plan on going to multiple Final Fours, not just one.  And, that's what leader's do.  They lead the players that they are coaching.  They ask for forgiveness for what happened.

"I know the committee was sickened by it, but so were we.  We did not deserve what they gave us and that's the bottom line.  They made a very large mistake."

Louisville has 15 days to officially notify the NCAA of its decision to appeal and then will have 30 additional days until it must provide the appeal documents.

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