Louisville basketball scandal: Jordan Fair, Kenny Johnson could be fired at ULAA meeting Monday

Danielle Lerner
Courier Journal

Louisville's new basketball assistant coach, Kenny Johnson, answers questions April 23 after coach Rick Pitino introduced him to the media.

Update, Oct. 11:The University of Louisville has announced it has "parted ways" with Jordan Fair

The contracts for a pair of suspended Louisville men's basketball coaches would allow the University of Louisville Athletic Association to fire them as soon as Monday morning's board meeting. 

The ULAA board is scheduled to hear evidence presented by suspended head coach Rick Pitino on Monday, and the employment status of assistants Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson's could also be up for discussion. Fair and Johnson were placed on paid administrative leave last week amid allegations of a "pay to play" recruiting scheme at the school.

Athletic department spokesman Kenny Klein wrote in an email, "We do not have an agenda for any upcoming ULAA Board of Directors meetings," but Fair and Johnson's contracts say ULAA can decide their fate at the university. 

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Johnson is in his fourth season with Louisville. Fair is in his second season on the staff. Both men's employment contracts, obtained by the Courier-Journal, run through June 30.

The athletic director can terminate Fair and Johnson's contracts immediately if the assistants took part in or failed to disclose "significant or repetitive violations to the existing ULAA, NCAA or Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rules or regulations," the contracts say. Klein said University of Louisville acting athletic director Vince Tyra will be in Louisville on Monday morning but said he could not confirm if Tyra will attend the ULAA meeting. 

The ULAA also has the power to terminate Johnson's contract immediately if he is connected with NCAA violations, and it can fire Fair without notice "in its sole discretion" for breaching any terms of his employment agreement. 

Additionally, Fair's contract says the athletic director can fire him "at-will and without cause" with a written notice 30 days prior. It stipulates that the athletic director, as an agent of the ULAA, has the final decision in Fair's termination. 

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Johnson is paid an annual salary of $550,000 along with a $6,000 car allowance and receives four football and men's basketball season tickets, according to his contract. Fair is paid an annual salary of $200,000 along with a $6,000 car allowance and receives four men's basketball season tickets. Fair's contract shows he declined two football season tickets.

A federal criminal complaint stemming from a nationwide FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting alleges that an Adidas executive and coaches at Louisville — dubbed University 6 in the complaint — conspired to pay two recruits to go to the school.

In one case, the complaint alleges that the executive and coaches conspired to pay $100,000 to a recruit's family in exchange for the athlete, who has since been identified as five-star recruit Brian Bowen, to play for Louisville, represent Adidas when he turns pro and to retain the services of agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood.

Neither Fair nor Johnson was named in the FBI complaint, nor have they been charged with any wrongdoing. 

The complaint mentions three coaches affiliated with Louisville, and two are labeled Coach 1 and Coach 2. A law enforcement source confirmed to USA TODAY and the Courier-Journal that Pitino is Coach 2 in the document, but Coach 1's identity has not been confirmed.

Coach 1 was active in arranging for Bowen's family to receive cash, promising he and "another assistant coach" at Louisville could then help steer Bowen to certain advisors when the prospect turned professional.

The FBI allegations led University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel to suspend Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.  

Sports enterprise reporter Danielle Lerner can be reached at dlerner@courier-journal.com or 502-582-4042. 

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