Louisville Accepted NIT Bid Despite Players Voting Not To Play

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

David Padgett's audition to become the permanent men's basketball coach at Louisville continues as the Cardinals prepare for the National Invitation Tournament.

After being bounced off the bubble on Selection Sunday, the Louisville Cardinals are set to begin their NIT run on Tuesday night, but according to reports, they're not all that happy about the consolation prize.

Multiple sources who have knowledge of the players' wishes but were not authorized to speak publicly about them told Courier Journal the players prior to the ACC Tournament voted against playing in the NIT and then held a players-only meeting on Sunday night after they were left out of the NCAA tournament. Not receiving an NCAA bid was another blow for the Cardinals, but Mahmoud said they're focusing on trying to win another tournament, albeit one with a lower profile than the Big Dance. Louisville earned a No. 2 seed in the NIT, which means the Cards were among the next four out in the field of 68. However, according to a report from the Courier-Journal, the player voted not to play in the NIT. "We realized playing and participating and actually putting in the effort to do what we came here to do was the best decision".

Tyra conceded that players have been through a lot emotionally with Pitino's preseason dismissal and being stripped of the 2013 NCAA championship last month as part of NCAA sanctions for an escort scandal. "Initially I think the players - it's disappointing and unless you've ever been in that situation and, unfortunately, I've been in it twice now because I was on the NIT team back in 2006, even if you think you're not going to miss the tournament until you know for sure, it's a sting". Head coach Rick Pitino was ousted after the school was linked to the ongoing FBI investigation into bribery in college basketball, and the team has been up-and-down all year, capping the regular season with a heartbreaking loss to top-ranked Virginia.

That ruling came in response to a recruiting sex scandal, which was different than the scandal for which Pitino was sacked in September.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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