Rick Pitino Addresses Extortion Attempt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The University of Louisville has recently learned that the FBI is investigating an attempt to extort money from its men's head basketball coach, Rick Pitino. In March 2009, Coach Pitino alerted the authorities of this attempt as well as the University. The matter is currently under investigation.

The following statements were issued by U of L President Dr. James Ramsey and Vice-President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich on behalf of the University of Louisville, and by Coach Pitino:

Statement by University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey:

"The University of Louisville supports Coach Pitino and his family. We stand by his decision to report this matter to the authorities and will now leave this criminal investigation in the hands of the FBI."

Statement by University of Louisville Vice-President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich:

"Coach Pitino has informed us that he and his attorneys have reported a potential extortion attempt to the FBI. We cannot comment further about this ongoing criminal investigation. We stand by Coach Pitino and support his decision to alert the authorities."

Statement by University of Louisville Men's Head Basketball Coach Rick Pitino:

"My family and I were recently threatened as part of a criminal scheme to extort money. Upon receiving these threats, we reported this extortion attempt to the FBI. While I did not want to make this matter public, I recently learned that the individual behind this extortion attempt has already gone to the media with false, defamatory and outrageous allegations in an attempt to pressure me to cave in to this scheme. I want to make it clear that I intend to vigorously defend my reputation and the character of my family against any criminal scheme to extort money. I am hopeful that the media and public will recognize the slanderous nature of this direct and malicious attack. My family and I appreciate the support we have received from Tom Jurich, Dr. James Ramsey, and the entire Louisville family. Because this is a federal criminal investigation, I cannot comment further at this time. Any inquiries should be directed to my attorney, Steve Pence."

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