Billy Reed Says Pitino Should Take Leave of Absence

A man who has spent much of his life writing about Kentucky sports doesn’t think Rick Pitino should be ousted as head basketball coach at the University of Louisville over his acknowledgement of a sexual relationship with a woman who’s now charged with extorting him.

Billy Reed has worked as a sports writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Sports Illustrated. He says although the university has a morality clause in Pitino’s contract, he doesn’t think U of L should fire him. He thinks it’s a good time for a leave of absence.

“I think the best compromise is for him to step away and take a leave of absence,” says Reed. “They have a good coach on hand in Ralph Williard, and that would seem to me to be the best thing to do.”

Prosecutors declined to charge Pitino with any crime, though the woman involved in the affair, Karen Cunagin Sypher, claims Pitino raped her. Sypher is charged with trying to extort the coach for ten-million dollars.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey declined to comment publicly Wednesday, saying he would meet soon with Athletic Director Tom Jurich.