Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has filed a lawsuit against Adidas (ADDYY) claiming payments made by the company to elite high school players, that led to his termination at the school, ultimately damaged his reputation. Pitino has filed on grounds of “intentional infliction of emotional distress”, firmly stating that he had no knowledge of any payments made to recruits. The FBI believes otherwise. In findings released last month, it’s alleged ADDYY had $100,000 funneled to prized recruit Brian Bowen on the school’s behalf; with Pitino directly calling ADDYY Head of Global Sports Marketing, Jim Gatto, for the bribe money.
Howie Long-Short: Pitino’s complaint against ADDYY states “this lawsuit is about more than just money; it is Coach Pitino’s vehicle for proving that he had nothing to do with Adidas’ outrageous, wrongful, and illegal conspiracy.” Who is he kidding? As the influential journalist/cultural critic H.L. Meckem once said “when somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” If Pitino can prove that he had “no part — active, passive, or through willful ignorance”, he’ll be able to argue Louisville fired him without just cause; ensuring his legal right to the $44 million remaining on his contract.
Fan Marino: Deadspin writer Patrick Hruby wrote an article arguing that Bowen was a bargain at $100K and that his intrinsic value is upwards of $1.72 million. Don’t buy it. A player would have to be a Top 17 NBA draft pick coming out of high school (which isn’t even permitted) to earn that much money. Terrance Ferguson was a 2015 McDonalds All-American, who committed to Arizona. He instead chose to play overseas, earning roughly $1 million in Australia during the ’16 season. He was selected with the 21st pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He will earn $1.487 million this season. You can argue a college scholarship isn’t fair compensation for the biggest of collegiate stars, but to suggest they should be paid $700K more than they could receive anywhere else in the world is absurd.
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