Rick Pitino Files Lawsuit Against Adidas

Rick Pitino

Documents from the attorney of Rick Pitino-the famed former Louisville coach who was sacked this week in the wake of widespread scandal over amusing money in college basketball-show him putting in a request for the "Zebra" Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 and effectively getting shut down.

The University of Louisville recently negotiated a 10-year, $160 million contract with Adidas, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, and the university was believed to owe Pitino $40 million on his unexpired contract before it fired him.

Pitino's attorneys are alleging that Adidas employees" decision to funnel money to a five-star recruit and his family caused "grave damage to his public and private standing and reputation, causing him extreme embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress'. According to documents released last month by federal prosecutors in New York, Pitino is alleged to have knowledge of these payments, a charge denied by Pitino's attorney in a statement on Tuesday.

It turns out even Adidas' top coaches have trouble getting certain pairs of sneakers.

But, since he was sacked 'for cause, ' Pitino is in danger of losing his buyout, reportedly worth $44 million. That would be an inevitable effect for Coach Pitino had he participated or acquiesced - in any form - in Adidas' actions, or those of its employees.

Federal investigators have linked Pitino's program to a scheme to pay recruits. Adidas terminated its service contract with Pitino on Monday, hours after he was sacked.

In fact, under [the University of Louisville's] current deal with Adidas, which expires July 1, 98 percent of the cash provided by Adidas goes to one person: Rick Pitino, the now-suspended head coach. "University-6" is believed to be Louisville.

The lawsuit claims Pitino was not involved in "giving improper benefits to recruits or players".

In particular, the FBI has accused Adidas' director of global sports marketing, Jim Gatto, of participating in the scheme and was criminally charged in a federal complaint unsealed September 26 in NY.

Gatto is the head of global sports marketing for Adidas' basketball division.

Pitino, whom U of L's athletic board fired Wednesday, is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial. Code, a former Clemson University basketball player, works with the company's high school and college programs. But in the complaint, he says he is after more than just money.

Prosecutors allege that Gatto, 47, arranged a $100,000 payment to the family of a high school player in IN to steer him to play at the Louisville, which Adidas sponsors.

Pitino is represented by Stephen Pence with Pence & Whetzel and Michael Valenti with Valenti Hanley, both in Louisville.

Adidas said in an email to The Associated Press that Pitino's suit "is clearly a reaction to his termination yesterday and is without merit".

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