Louisville announces suspended freshman Brian Bowen will never play for the school

Suspended Louisville freshman Brian Bowen will never play for the Cardinals, the school announced Wednesday. (AP)

The prospect at the heart of Louisville’s latest men’s basketball scandal will never participate in a game for the Cardinals.

Louisville announced Wednesday that it has informed Brian Bowen he will not be allowed to practice or play for the Cardinals at any point in the future. The former McDonald’s All-American will remain on scholarship for as long as he chooses to stay at Louisville and will also receive written permission to contact other schools should he prefer to transfer.

“Brian has been a responsible young man for the institution since he enrolled,” Louisville interim athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “He has endeared himself to his teammates and the men’s basketball staff with a positive attitude during a very difficult period.”

Bowen had been suspended indefinitely at Louisville since late September when the FBI went public with its bombshell investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball.

The FBI alleged that an Adidas executive funneled $100,000 to the family of an elite recruit to play at Louisville and represent the shoe-apparel giant after he turns pro. The unnamed prospect then committed to Louisville on June 3, the same date Bowen ended a long, bizarre recruitment with the announcement that he had chosen the Cardinals.

Jason Setchen, Bowen’s attorney, said his client is “very disappointed” Louisville did not seek reinstatement on his behalf. Setchen insisted there is overwhelming evidence that “Brian did not participate in any of the alleged schemes nor did he have any knowledge their purported existence.

“We continue to have the utmost confidence in the NCAA and their enforcement personnel,” Setchen said. “Brian looks forward to pursuing his lifelong dream of playing college basketball at another NCAA member institution.”

Whether the NCAA corroborates the FBI’s allegations will determine if Bowen has the option of playing college basketball at another school or if he has to turn pro right away.  The 6-foot-7 forward was not considered a clear-cut one-and-done prospect, but his combination of size, skill and outside shooting prowess could earn him the chance to play in the NBA someday.

One other option for Bowen could be to play professionally overseas for a few months this season like Emmanuel Mudiay, Terrence Ferguson and Brandon Jennings each did after being declared ineligible for college basketball. Bowen could also opt to play one year in the NBA G League or just train by himself in preparation for the draft like fellow McDonald’s All-American Mitchell Robinson is doing.

Louisville has already fired head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich in the wake of the scandal involving Bowen. The school announced Wednesday it has also “parted ways” with associate head basketball coach Kenny Johnson.

Johnson, a former assistant coach at Towson and Indiana, worked on Pitino’s staff for three seasons. The university had placed him on administrative leave last month following the revelation that the FBI investigation involved Louisville.

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