Former Louisville Basketball guard, Russ Smith speaks out about the NCAA ruling.
He simply says he thinks the NCAA was wrong and the players had no idea who they were taking pictures with.
The ruling by the NCAA included a five-conference-game suspensions to coach Rick Pitino and several other financial and recruiting sanctions including losing four scholarships before 2021.
123 victories, a 2012 Final Four run and a 2013 National Championship banner in which are the most shocking things that can still be taken from the Cards.
Here’s an excerpt from the open letter he wrote for the courier-journal:
Just so the fans of U of L and the people who follow basketball know, I strongly believe the truth will come out and I still have faith the NCAA will take a closer look at the situation at hand and not penalize any of my brothers or recruits or young men who were minors at the time because of deceitful adults who had separate intentions. This is embarrassing for many of us, including our families, our close friends and our fans who saw everything we went through in order to achieve that goal.
I think the NCAA’s final decision was wrong, but I understand they are in a difficult situation at hand and no decision will please everyone. But I know for sure the right one isn’t vacating games. College is a place where things happen, where young adults open wrong doors and see things maybe they shouldn’t see or meet people on campus who have no intentions of being a student on campus. Louisville basketball is a place where we are the face of the city, and we take pictures with many and don’t ask what their profession is or what they do for a living. Maybe we should, but then again, who’s to say we wouldn’t be lied to? Who’s to say we will be supported? My brothers and I took photos with these women because they were friends of a friend.
No one condones hookers or prostitution. In the city of Louisville, I’ve seen women chase some of my teammates and including myself when I was pretty popular. We did not have any attraction or interest in any of Ms. Powell’s shenanigans, especially paying.
Smith also went on to say that they (the players) choose their teammates:
No money, no bribes, no women.
He also seems to think the Louisville front office, Powell and McGee should be to blame, not the players or recruits:
As for the recruits, in my personal opinion, maybe front office action or penalties should be required for an incident like this, or the adults in the situation should be brought to justice, such as Mr. McGee or Ms. Powell. McGee is and will always be a close friend of mine, but even in this instance, I feel he would agree that this accusation is between him and his friend, Ms. Powell.
Like I said before, college can be a welcoming or tainted place depending on the city, certain students, who hangs around campus, underage drinking, women, drugs, rape, etc., etc., you can name it. Sometimes the kids are always at fault because they make bad decisions. In this instance, it was two adults who put kids in harm’s way, and for that sole reason, I think our wins should be kept and not vacated, and that the punishment should go toward the way of the adults who had set everything up.
Here’s the link to the full article