LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - University of Louisville President James
Ramsey says he considered several options to deal with the scandal
surrounding Rick Pitino before telling the coach to publicly
apologize, according to a memo released to The Associated Press
Pitino apologized Thursday, a day after police documents were
made public that said the coach acknowledged having sex in 2003
with a woman accused of later trying to extort him. He also said he
gave Karen Cunagin Sypher $3,000 after she said she was pregnant
and seeking an abortion.
Pitino said he was "sorry for that indiscretion six years ago"
and that he would continue to coach at the university as long as he
was physically able and as long as they wanted him.
Ramsey said in the memo sent to faculty and staff on Thursday
that Pitino deserves a second chance.
"I considered a wide range of options in dealing with Coach
Pitino's errors in judgment and their impact on our university,"
Ramsey wrote in the memo. "In the end, I told Coach Pitino that he
needed to publicly apologize to the university community for his
actions. He has done that."
It was not clear what other options Ramsey considered. Asked
what they were, university spokesman Mark Hebert said the letter
would have to speak for itself. "I think that's all that President
Ramsey wanted to say."
Sypher has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to the FBI and
attempting to extort up to $10 million from Pitino.
Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, said he had not seen the memo
and did not want to comment on what other options were considered.
"That was last week, so it's done and just don't have anything
to comment further," Pence said.
Pence has said the $3,000 was for health insurance for Sypher,
who told him she was going to get an abortion but had no coverage.
Some anti-abortion groups have called on Ramsey to fire Pitino
because Sypher's pregnancy was terminated.
Student body president O.J. Oleka said it would be "a shame"
if Ramsey had fired Pitino.
"I feel his apology was exactly what we needed, and now we need
to move forward," Oleka said in an e-mail message.
Students interviewed on campus had a mixed reaction to whether
the apology was enough punishment.
Gabriel Scott, a senior majoring in computer information
systems, said the scandal is an embarrassment for the school.
"I don't think he should stay" as coach, Scott said.
But student Jen Hall said Pitino didn't break any law and he
seems truly sorry for the mistakes he made.
"No way he should be fired for that," she said.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)