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FBI Continues Investigation Into Pitino's Claim

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The estranged wife of Louisville coach
Rick Pitino's longtime friend and equipment manager who finds
herself in the center of a brewing storm around the revered coach's
claims that someone is trying to extort him said Monday she is
waiting for the truth to come out.
After Pitino went to the FBI with the tip, agents questioned
Karen Sypher, wife of Tim Sypher, her attorney said. While she
declined to say whether she's had contact with Pitino or what she's
discussed with the FBI, Karen Sypher claims she did nothing wrong
in trying to present her side to a local TV station that ultimately
decided not to air what she said about the case and the coach the
city credits with turning around the once-foundering program.
"I'm standing up for my rights and feeling like I don't have a
lot of them at this moment," she said Monday. "I'm just waiting
for the truth to come out."
The FBI has confirmed there was an investigation into Pitino's
complaint but did not name who they might be targeting. Tim Sypher
said he was "devastated by the bizarre allegations" and has
voiced his support for Pitino. Karen Sypher's attorney Thomas Clay
says the couple is divorcing.
So far, Petino, the FBI and Sypher have not given any details of
what information she or anyone else might have on the coach to
attempt to extort him. But the mystery has the hoops-crazed city
buzzing about a man who gave it back a college basketball
powerhouse and who packs the star power to serve as its top
ambassador to the world.
The story has led every newscast since it broke Saturday night
and has lit up Louisville basketball chat boards and local radio
talk shows.
"Rick Pitino is one of our Fortune 500 companies," said local
radio talk show host Terry Meiners. "He is the face of the
Louisville program and in many ways he's the steward of our pride
and self-image."
WDRB-TV chose not to air its interview with Sypher because it
couldn't verify what she said.
On the school's campus a few blocks from their home court,
Freedom Hall, one student was unimpressed by the rumors about the
coach who led Louisville to Big East regular season and conference
tournament titles this year.
"I mean, there will be rumors," said junior Joe Conaghan. "As
high profile as he is, anything that happens will be out there in
the open, but this is no big deal. It's definitely not private, but
this is no big deal."
A school spokesman said Pitino was on a recruiting trip Monday,
and his attorney Steve Pence said he was declining comment pending
the outcome of the investigation.
When the probe could end is unclear, Clay said.
"The United States moves at its own pace," he said.
University president James Ramsey and athletic director Tom
Jurich put out a statement on Saturday night voicing their support
of Pitino.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-04-20-09 2137EDT


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