Morality issues asside, the question I'll pose in the wake of the Pitino/Sypher affair/abortion revelations is whether or not the Louisville coach can still effectively do his job?
There's no question Tuesday's revelations have damaged Pitino's reputation, perhaps permanently. There's also little doubt that Pitino's actions reflect poorly on the University of Louisville, the school he's handsomely paid to represent.
There's been a lot of buzz in Louisville since the story broke Tuesday night about Pitino's future. Some believe Pitino should resign from his post or be fired because of his actions. Others stand behind the coach, claiming he did nothing that violated the law. Opponents of abortion have also weighed in, though Pitino claimed through his attorney Wednesday that he gave Sypher $3,000 for health insurance not an abortion.
So how will Pitino's story play out at Louisville? InsideTheVille.com asked FoxSports.com's college basketball analyst Jeff Goodman, who spoke with Pitino by phone on Wednesday.
revelations have on
"I don't think he resigns unless there's so much public support for him to quit," Goodman said. "I think he's going with the ‘yeah, I had the affair, didn't rape her, she's crazy (defense).' And I think it'll settle down after this. Like anything else it will settle down."
Sypher could be sent to prison when her case goes to trial this fall for attempting to extort Pitino and lying to the FBI. That would seem to benefit Pitino. Even if the trial results turn out to work in Pitino's favor it's uncertain if he can still do the job effectively in the wake of this information coming to light.
At a minimum, it's going to make his job considerably more difficult. And it was already hard enough with a tough Big East schedule each year, in addition to the arrival of John Calipari at UK.
For one, Pitino is sure to take a recruiting hit from these latest revelations in a case that first came to light shortly after Louisville's 31-6 season that ended in the NCAA Regional Finals. The news may or may not have played a role in Fab Melo's decision to go to Syracuse. It almost certainly will be an obstacle for Pitino going forward and one that opposing coaches will use against him.
"They'll negative recruit and kill him for that," said Goodman of opposing recruiters.
With Louisville set to open a multi-million dollar arena next year, Pitino and his staff are struggling to land players in the Class of 2010 to play in their new facility. Though the Cardinals will have at least three available scholarships, only three-star small forward Josh Langford has committed to play for the Cardinals next season.
Beyond Langford, the prospects appear slim, at least in the 2010 class.
One player who appears a strong option for the Cardinals is Rod Odom, a versatile 6-foot-8 forward from New York. Rod Odom, Sr. told ITV Wednesday that his son is still "absolutely" considering Louisville despite Tuesday's revelations. That's good news for the Cardinals.
"We spoke about it as a family and as far as basketball goes it doesn't change anything," Rod Odom said. "It's a teaching moment for Rod. Other than that it's a non-issue."
Odom said he hasn't spoken with anybody at Louisville since the story broke Tuesday night but planned to speak with UofL assistant Steve Masiello soon.
"It's probably a huge story down there but has nothing to do with basketball," Odom said. "We'll be speaking with Coach Masiello soon to get a date for a visit set."
Goodman also said that he spoke with Michael Chandler, a five-star 2011 center prospect who verbally committed to Louisville earlier this year. Chandler, one of the nation's top rising juniors, told Goodman that he's still committed to the Cardinals.
The true barometer for Pitino, however, is Marquis Teague, one of the top five prospects in the junior class. Teague nearly committed to the Cardinals last spring but didn't on advice from his father. He's a must-have recruit for Louisville if the Cardinals hope to remain a strong contender nationally and in the Big East.
If Pitino can land a commitment from Teague despite the revelations in the Sypher case he'll likely have no problems effectively moving forward as Louisville's head coach.