Last fall, repeatedly disgraced former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino filed a lawsuit in federal court, accusing Adidas of damaging his reputation. His argument was that he knew nothing about the conspiracy alleged by the FBI and that Adidas — which, like Louisville, had just terminated its contract with Pitino — damaged Pitino’s reputation by getting in trouble with the feds.
“Adidas knew, or recklessly avoided knowing, that Coach Pitinos’ reputation for honesty and integrity would be seriously damaged by the perception — even if unfounded — that he was involved with the illegal and wrongful payment of money to recruits, or on their behalf,” the suit alleges.
It was, emm, not an especially compelling argument and it was tossed out of court Tuesday by a judge who basically said if Pitino had a problem with Adidas he needed to work it out with them, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
Hale did not issue a decision on Pitino’s claims but wrote in his order that there is typically a strong presumption in favor of arbitration, a mediation conducted by a third party outside of the court system.“Here, the facts underlying Pitino’s tort and contract claims are identical: both claims are based on Adidas’s alleged bribing of a University of Louisville basketball recruit or his family,” Hale wrote. “… Given this standard and the shared factual basis between the claims, the Court finds that the claim asserted here is ‘at least arguably covered by’ the Endorsement Agreement.”
Adidas had argued that, in the first place, Pitino may have had knowledge payments funneled to players, and even if didn’t, any fraudulent actions were directed at Louisville, not Pitino.
Pitino maintains he knew nothing about it.