The University of Louisville basketball program is once again in the middle of an ugly scandal. This time it is a bribery scandal in which ten people have already been arrested and this time head coach Rick Pitino has reportedly been fired.
Under most criteria, Pitino’s 16-year tenure at Louisville has been good, but not as great as many might have associated with his name and the program. His Louisville teams have been to three Final Fours, won one championship, and since he took over the program, 11 players have been selected in the NBA Draft. For comparison, that is the same as Maryland and Memphis during the same period, fewer than Florida State and Oregon (12 each), and well behind rival Kentucky (35).
But there is one criteria that shows how important Pitino has been to Louisville and why his job has survived until now: He turned Louisville into the richest men’s basketball program in the country and it is not even close. Over the last ten reporting years, Louisville men’s basketball has reported $US356 million in revenue, $US116 million more than any other school. In fact, only 12 other schools reported even $US150 million in revenue during a period when the Cardinals were averaging more than $US35 million per year.
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