When the smoke seemed to clear following the Rick Pitino era at the University of Louisville, I was on record as saying the Cardinals needed to hire Chris Mack away from Xavier University.

I'm a huge college basketball fan and follow all of it while maintaining my strongest loyalties to Kentucky universities--my beloved alma mater Western Kentucky University, UK, and U of L. And I'll be right there yelling at the TV when Murray, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead, or Northern Kentucky are giving a higher-seeded team a run for its money in the NCAA Tournament.

Bring all the college hoops you got, in other words.

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And I enjoyed watching Xavier basketball because of Chris Mack's winning ways. He took an 11th-seeded Musketeers squad to the Elite Eight four years and didn't seem to break much of a sweat doing it. And in 2019, Xavier landed its first-ever #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament under his guidance. He's just good.

XU is in Cincinnati, and Mack's wife is a Louisville native. Also, he played for the University of Evansville for a couple of seasons. He is VERY regional. The hire, to me, was a no-brainer.

And then Louisville hired him.

And now, three years later, I'm wondering if that smoke really DID clear, as the Cardinals' program is once again getting the kinds of headlines it had hoped would vanish once and for all once Pitino left.

Back in March, former Louisville assistant Dino Gaudio was dismissed from the program, after which he threatened to blow the whistle regarding NCAA violations unless he was given a lengthy severance package. Gaudio was subsequently charged with extortion. Today, his sentence was announced:

Also today, the University of Louisville announced that Mack will be suspended for six games without pay during the upcoming 2021-2002 season, saying that while Mack was indeed the victim of extortion, his handling of the matter was substandard and, therefore, the punishment.

WLKY-Louisville goes on to report that he will not coach six non-conference games in November, including two in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.

No details about how exactly the situation was mishandled were given by the university.

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