Pat Forde

  • Fallout of Louisville stripper scandal claims two innocent victims

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 51 mins ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the messy world of NCAA justice, here is where the scales tilt out of balance: in a Louisville locker room at their practice facility on a Friday afternoon, when two players are told their dream is dead.

    In an abruptly scheduled team meeting at 12:30 p.m., Rick Pitino had the dreadful duty of telling his Cardinals that there will be no NCAA tournament for them in 2016. No Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. The university had pulled the plug on the postseason, a self-imposed sanction for violations Louisville now acknowledges were committed related to an infamous stripper scandal that came to light last October.

    Until Friday. Until that team meeting. Until their coach yanked the rug out, after he had it yanked from beneath him by Louisville president James Ramsey.

    In the routine rush to bash the NCAA, a lot of people lose sight of that truth.


  • Louisville to self-impose postseason ban for alleged violations related to prostitution scandal

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 4 hrs ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a stunning development, the University of Louisville will announce Friday that it is self-imposing a postseason ban for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament as a result of alleged rules violations committed by a former staffer and players.

    The university reached that conclusion this week amid an ongoing NCAA investigation. That investigation began in October after Louisville madam Katina Powell wrote a tell-all book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” alleging that former U of L staffer Andre McGee paid for strippers to dance for and have sex with Louisville recruits and players over a period of four years. Some of the alleged transactions and interactions took place in the players’ dormitory.

    The announcement of self-imposed sanctions came with little warning or indication that the university was considering taking action this year. A formal Notice of Allegations from the NCAA was not expected before the end of the 2015-16 season. If Louisville had wanted to get through this season and take its chances with the NCAA in 2016-17, it could have.

    Instead, the school opted to act quickly and forcefully.


  • Georgia's Kirby Smart holds his own against Alabama with first recruiting class

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    ATHENS, Ga. – The invasion was pretty much over by noon.

    It was almost back to business as usual by then at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, the sparkling building that houses the offices for both Georgia’s football staff and its athletic administration. Hundreds of fans had taken the day off work and descended here, anxiously anticipating signing announcements for the Bulldogs’ 2016 class. They may not have had Ric Flair and Tom Brady at Georgia, but that was OK – the only star power these people cared about was the rankings of Kirby Smart’s first recruiting haul.

    And by that measurement, this was a very good day in the remodeling of Georgia football.

    By nightfall, ranked Smart’s 20-man class 10th, and fifth in the absurdly competitive Southeastern Conference. When looking at quality over quantity, Georgia fared better – only three schools had a higher per-player average than the Dogs’ 3.75.

    But one of those, of course, was Alabama – Smart’s former employer. For the seventh time in the past nine seasons, the Crimson Tide has the No. 1-ranked class according to Rivals.

    Eason acknowledged that there will be high expectations.

  • Georgia commit Mecole Hardman dupes home crowd with signing day circus

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    ELBERTON, Ga. – The man directing me into the parking lot at Elbert County High School at 7:56 a.m. ET was polite but firm: “You have four minutes.”

    They were closing the doors to the gym at 8:00 sharp for maybe the biggest spectacle to ever hit this town of about 4,500 near the Georgia-South Carolina border: three members of the Blue Devils football team were signing National Letters of Intent, highlighted by Rivals five-star prospect Mecole 'Meco' Hardman at 8:30. The school choice of the player rates the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and No. 2 athlete would be broadcast live on Atlanta television and across the Internet to (overly) interested college football fans everywhere.

    By the 8 o’clock shut-the-doors deadline, the quaint old gym was pretty well packed with a mixture of students and adults from the community. Administrators in suits and bowties ran the show. State troopers and Elbert County sheriffs stood in the back of the gym. About 15 of Hardman’s relatives wore “Team Meco” shirts. So did the pastor of Love & Action Christian Center, where the Hardmans go to church.

  • Forde Minutes: Why the NCAA tournament could look wide open

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (“Make UNLV Great Again” hats sold separately):


    It’s 40 days until Selection Sunday, and the outlook is messier than the Republican nomination battle.

    It’s impossible to unconditionally love any team, not with so many flaws in so many places. It’s highly unwise to plant a prognostication flag and declare with any confidence that the national champion has revealed itself. It’s nuts out there.

    If there was any team to back heading into Monday night, it was North Carolina (1). The talented Tar Heels were 19-2, on a 12-game winning streak, undefeated and up two games on anyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference, hitting their stride after early season injuries. Then they visited Louisville (2), which was last seen being routed at home by Virginia, 63-47, just two days earlier.

    Naturally, the Cardinals beat the Heels, 71-65.

    This is how it goes in 2015-16. Just when you like someone, they grow a wart on their forehead. Basketball beauty is fleeting.






  • Kansas proves more adaptable in blue-blood battle with Kentucky

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    LAWRENCE, Kan. – Bill Self didn’t like playing this game. Not now, in the belly of conference play. So there was no way he was going to declare that his Kansas team beating Kentucky in overtime Saturday night was something grand and glorious.

    “It’s a good game,” he said after the 90-84 thriller was over. “But the timing doesn’t give it the same juice.”

    Self can hold firm to that line, but the deafening atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse told a different story. To the fans, there was an entire orange grove of juice attached to this game.

    These are the two winningest programs in the history of the sport (the Wildcats are on top, with 2,194 victories to the Jayhawks’ 2,170). In a direct correlation, these also might be the two proudest, staunchest and most arrogant fan bases in the game. And in this era, where neutral-court, non-conference games are commonplace and where power programs rarely visit each other’s respective cathedrals, this was the chance for one fan base to declare its particular religious fervor superior.

    “Wildest atmosphere I’ve ever been in,” said Kentucky senior Alex Poythress.

  • Sources: NCAA formally charges Mississippi with rules violations

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    The NCAA has formally charged the University of Mississippi with dozens of rules violations in three sports, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The school has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff alleging roughly 30 violations in football, women’s basketball and track and field, sources told Yahoo. It is unclear at present what the breakdown is in terms of violations by sport. The NCAA does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.

    Calls to officials at Mississippi were not immediately returned Friday. Southeastern Conference spokesman Herb Vincent declined comment to Yahoo Sports.

    This is the latest step in a long, laborious NCAA investigation, part of which predates football coach Hugh Freeze’s arrival at Ole Miss in 2012. Yahoo Sports first reported about the investigation in October 2014.

    Ole Miss’ current recruiting class is ranked No. 4 nationally by National Signing Day is Wednesday.


  • Sources: Southern Miss men's basketball facing allegations of major violations, including academic fraud

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    Southern Mississippi officials and former coaches had a 12-hour hearing before the NCAA Committee On Infractions last week to answer a host of allegations of wrongdoing within the men’s basketball program, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The hearing, which took place Jan. 21, centered on seven allegations of major violations by the Golden Eagles during the tenure of head coach Donnie Tyndall. A decision on additional sanctions levied against Southern Miss could be reached by April 1, according to sources. The school already has self-imposed postseason bans for last season and this season in an attempt to mitigate further penalties.

    Among the allegations against the program are academic fraud and arranging impermissible financial aid for ineligible players. Tyndall, who left Southern Miss in 2014 to become the head coach at Tennessee but  lasted only one year before the nature of these allegations became public, has been charged with lack of coach control and academic fraud. Former assistant Adam Howard also is facing major allegations.


  • Forde Minutes: Have rule changes made the college game better?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (special shoutout to Duquesne (1) for not going Donner Party while stuck in the blizzard over the weekend):


    There was a lot of lamentation about the quality and vitality of college hoops in the last couple of years, and in 2015 the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee took action to do something about it. A shorter shot clock and a renewed emphasis on actually calling fouls were the primary initiatives designed to speed up games and free up offensive players from defensive assault and battery.

    Results to date show that it’s been a major success.

    The Minutes spoke Monday with Oklahoma athletic director and men’s basketball committee chair Joe Castiglione (2), NCAA men’s basketball vice president Dan Gavitt (3) and NCAA director of media coordination and statistics Dave Worlock (4). Among some of the key points of the discussion:

    “I think this begins to debunk that theory,” Castiglione said.

    Other items of interest from the interview:


  • How the color of American swimming is finally changing

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    AUSTIN, Texas – Cullen Jones is less of a curiosity now, and that's a wonderful thing.

    The two-time Olympic swimmer and four-time Olympic medalist spent a lot of time as the only African-American performing at the highest level of American swimming. In a sport that has tended to be whiter than a Toby Keith concert and makes golf look diverse, he stood out.

    Jones handled that role ably, serving as the unofficial spokesman for black swimmers everywhere and becoming a spokesman for water safety – particularly in urban areas. But now the 31-year-old doesn't have to do it all himself. He has company that looks like him.

    Stanford's sprinting duo of Simone Manuel and Lia Neal have become fixtures on the national scene, and at the summit of college swimming. Last March, history was made when Manuel, Neal and Florida's Natalie Hinds went 1-2-3 in the 100-yard freestyle at NCAA championships – the first African-American sweep of the podium in college swimming history. Manuel and Neal both figure to be strong contenders at the Olympic Trials in Omaha this summer.

    Are there more black stars where they came from? Almost certainly.