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An update on the situation with Bobby Petrino at Louisville

If we're being honest for a moment, Bobby Petrino has never been the most likable person. Don't take it from me. Here's what the man who hired him -- twice -- had to say upon bringing Petrino back to Louisville in January of 2014:

“I told him I didn’t like him, didn’t like the way he treated people. If I was him, I might have left after the first 30 minutes,” Tom Jurich said. “I had to be proven further than a shadow of a doubt.”

Jurich re-hired Petrino because the coach had done the requisite soul searching, but largely because he could move the ball. And for the first four years, it worked. Louisville won eight or nine games in each of Petrino's first four seasons, including a 2016 campaign in which the Cardinals rocketed to No. 3 in the polls in mid-November and Lamar Jackson claimed the school's first Heisman Trophy.

Jackson is gone now, along with the rest of Charlie Strong's recruits, and Louisville's offensive production has taken a nosedive -- from third in yards per play in 2017 to 112th this year. Petrino brought in Jawon Pass, a 4-star recruit in the 2016 class, as Jackson's heir apparent but has failed to develop him. Pass is last in passing efficiency in the ACC among 11 qualifying quarterbacks, and as a result the 2-5 Cardinals could be staring a 2-10 season in the face if they don't beat Wake Forest at home on Saturday.

Louisville's face plant happens to coincide with Petrino's most obvious successor blowing up at Purdue. Fresh off a 49-20 win over then-No. 2 Ohio State, Jeff Brohm is college football's fastest-rising coach at the moment. He also happens to be a former Louisville player and assistant, the son of a former Louisville player, the brother of two former Louisville players, a Louisville native and the former head coach of a Louisville arena football team -- with an approachable $3.3 million buyout if he leaves after Dec. 5.

Despite all that, primarily due to his buyout, many thought Petrino was safe to return for a sixth season thanks to a tornado of controversy elsewhere at the school. The FBI investigation into college basketball pushed Jurich and Rick Pitino out, though not without significant cost to the school. The school had to pay Jurich $4.5 million to go away, Pitino has filed a $35 million breach-of-contract law suit, and the school paid $2.9 million to buy Chris Mack, Pitino's replacement, out of his Xavier contract. A racist comment caused Louisville to disassociate itself from Papa John, severing ties with the school's most prominent booster. So even though Louisville may want to move on from Petrino after this season, it appeared the school couldn't afford his $14 million buyout.

“The university is not in a position to buy him out,” U of L regent Tom Meeker told the Louisville Courier-Journallast month.

But now the equation may have changed.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported this week U of L police are investigating Cardinals tight end Kemari Averett for an alleged rape of a female U of L student. (Averett denied the charge when contacted by the Courier-Journal.) The rape allegedly occurred in mid-August. The victim reported the incident to the on-campus sexual assault crisis center the same day and was examined by a certified sexual assault nurse and a rape kit was administered that day. We don't know what transpired between that mid-August date and October 8th; but on October 8th the University issued a no-contact order between the woman and Averett. On Oct. 9 the victim filed a report with University of Louisville police. Averett played in Louisville's game on Oct. 13. He was arrested Oct. 15 for allegedly holding a gun to a different woman's head and threatened to kill her; he was subsequently suspended indefinitely from the team.

AD Vince Tyra has denied Louisville knowingly played Averett despite the rape investigation. "If the university notifies us of information that necessitates action, we act," he said. "We did not have information that would have suspended (him) from competition."

Assuming Tyra is telling the truth and Louisville athletics truly didn't know of the investigation into Averett, it's the second example this month of a university unnecessarily making its athletics department look bad.

If, however, further information comes out that Petrino had prior knowledge of the accusation against Averett ahead of the Oct. 13 game at Boston College, that $14 million equation could change -- quickly.

Update> This afternoon both AD Vince Tyra and head football coach Bobby Petrino have issued statements saying they were unaware of the rape accusations or investigations until after the player played against Boston College on October 13th.

Why would the University not have shared that information with Athletics or the football program?