NCAA denies appeal, Louisville must vacate 2013 title

Louisville became the first team to vacate a national championship in the Final Four era on Tuesday.

A formal appeal of NCAA penalties levied against Louisville on June 15 was denied, costing the Cardinal victories from several seasons and most notably the program's 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance.

"I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong," Louisville interim president Greg Postel said Tuesday. "We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case -- based on NCAA precedent -- that supported our argument."

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The initial ruling came as the result of an investigation launched when an escort accused a former Louisville staff member of arranging for strippers to entertain players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011-15.

Former coach Rick Pitino, who was fired amidst the ongoing investigation into payments facilitated by the school from adidas to a prominent recruit, denied knowledge of the on-campus misgivings.

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Rick Pitino throughout his career
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Rick Pitino throughout his career
Mar 19, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino reacts against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats coach Rick Pitino directs his team during Kentucky's 83-63 win over Wake Forest in their NCAA Midwest Regional Final game in Minneapolis, MN, March 23. Kentucky advances to the NCAA Final Four playoffs next weekend. rj/Photo by R. NCAA SPORTS
Kentucky coach Rick Pitino talks with team members (L-R) Jared Picket, Anthony Epps and Ron Mercer during a time out in their NCAA regional semifinal game against St. Joseph's in San Jose, March 20. The Kentucky Wildcats will face the Utah Utes on March 22 in a regional final match. SPORT NCAA
Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rick Pitino (R) answers reporters questions during a team press conference in San Jose, March 21. Behind Pitino is forward Ron Mercer. Kentucky will face Utah in the final game of the West Regionals, March 22. The winner advances to the Final Four. ake/DIGITAL/Photo by J. SPORT NCAA BASKETBALL
Kentucky head basketball coach Rick Pitino talks to reporters about his team's upcoming national championship game against Arizona during a press conference at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, March 30. Kentucky beat Minnesota 78-69 to advance to the national championship game. SPORT NCAA
Rick Pitino answers a question from reporters at a press conference to introduce him to the Boston media as the new Head Coach and President of the Boston Celtics, in Boston, May 8. Pitino accepted a 10-year, $70 million offer that will make him the richest coach in professional sports. The Celtics won only 15 games last season. SPORT NBA
Boston Celtics new head coach Rick Pitino watches his team play the Chicago Bulls in his debut with the team October 31. Pitino, who had previously coached the University of Kentucky, was named head coach of the Celtics in the off-season. SPORT NBA
Boston Celtics head coach Rick Pitino (R) confers with forward Antoine Walker (L) during a break in action against the Orlando Magic as the clubs met February 8. In the center is Celtics guard Kenny Anderson. Orlando beat Boston 107 - 90. JLS/SV/JDP
Boston Celtics' head coach Rick Pitino instructs his players on the court during first quarter action of the Celtics' home opener of the 2000 NBA season against the Detroit Pistons November 1, 2000 in Boston. JB
Former Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino answers questions about becoming the new University of Louisville head basketball coach during a press conference in Louisville, KY, March 21, 2001. Pitino is replacing retiring Hall of Fame head coach Denny Crum. JPS/RCS
University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino (R) gives instructions to player Brandon Bender (L) during the first half of play in their game with the South Alabama Jaguars' at Freedom Hall in Louisville, November 18, 2001. Tonight's game is Pitino's first as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals since leaving the Boston Celtics of the NBA. REUTERS/John Sommers II JPS
University of Louisville's head coach Rick Pitino yells instructions to his team from the bench during the second half of play in their game against Tulane in their second round game of the mens Conference USA tournament at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, March 13, 2003. Louisville won, 82-66. REUTERS/ John Sommers II JPSII
University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino reacts to his players play during the second half of play against the University of Cincinnati at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, February 2, 2005. Louisville won 77-70. REUTERS/John Sommers II JPSII
University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino hugs forward Francisco Garcia as he leaves the game with 21 points in the final seconds of their NCAA second round basketball game against Georgia Tech in Nashville, Tennessee March 20, 2005. The University of Louisville defeated Georgia Tech 76-54. REUTERS/Tami Chappell TLC
University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino reacts to his players during the second half of play against the University of Cincinnati in their NCAA basketball game at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, January 25, 2006. REUTERS/John Sommers II
University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino talks with guard Jerry Smith (34) during the overtime period of their NCAA Big East men's basketball tournament loss to University of Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)
Louisville Cardinals Terrence Williams stands with coach Rick Pitino after the Cardinals defeated the Syracuse Orange to win the championship game at the 2009 NCAA Big East men's college basketball tournament in New York, March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)
University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino reacts to his team's play against Syracuse University during the first half of play in their NCAA basketball game at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, March 6, 2010. REUTERS/ John Sommers II (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino gestures in the first half of their NCAA men's championship basketball game against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2012 Big East Tournament in New York March 10, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino talks to his team during a time-out in the final minutes of their win over the Michigan State Spartans during the NCAA men's West Regional basketball tournament in Phoenix, Arizona March 22, 2012. REUTERS/Darryl Webb (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino celebrates with his team after coming from behind to defeat the Florida Gators in the NCAA men's West Regional basketball tournament in Phoenix, Arizona March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino (L) directs his team against Georgetown University in the first half of their NCAA basketball game in Washington January 26, 2013. Georgetown upset Louisville, who lost their third straight game, dropping them further in the NCAA rankings. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino yells instructions to his team as Oregon Ducks forward Arsalan Kazemi (14) sets to pass during their Midwest Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino is hugged by forward Chane Behanan (L) and guard Russ Smith after defeating the Duke Blue Devils during their Midwest Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 31, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino argues with an official during the NCAA men's Final Four basketball game against the Wichita State Shockers in Atlanta, Georgia April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
NBA legends Bernard King (L) and Gary Payton (C) stand with Louisville Cardinals' head coach Rick Pitino with their jerseys during the announcement of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia April 8, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino cuts part of the net after his team defeated the Michigan Wolverines to win the NCAA men's Final Four championship basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia April 8, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
U.S. President Barack Obama laughs as University of Louisville Cardinals basketball coach Rick Pitino gives him a Louisville Slugger baseball bat during an event honoring NCAA basketball championship team at the White House in Washington July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oct 3, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino talks to the media following a scrimmage at KFC YUM! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals looks on in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 19, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Pitino had been the only coach to lead two Division I teams to a national championship. He coached Kentucky during the Wildcats' title run in 1996.

"We'll remove the official recognition, but it won't remove it from our hearts and minds," Louisville interim athletics director Vince Tyra said Tuesday moments after the NCAA's announcement at noon ET. "It brings closure to one of these situations. It's not going to bring closure to the successes and memories our teams had. I'm sad for our players and certainly our staff members."

Louisville appealed the NCAA punishment in August, submitting a 68-page letter that charged the NCAA with "draconian" enforcement without precedent.

Allegations made by Katina Powell, the former escort, were made in a book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen."

The NCAA announced not long after that it would begin looking into whether former Louisville staffer Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for a total of 22 shows at a university dormitory from 2010-14.

McGee, who was an assistant coach at UMKC when the book was released and storm clouds formed over the UL program, refused to speak to NCAA investigators.

Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were fired in October after the FBI informed Louisville of a federal investigation alleging the university ordered a payment of $100,000 to five-star recruit Brian Bowen's father.

--Field Level Media

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