An internal University of Minnesota athletics budget audit report just dropped Tuesday, and Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino apparently spent three times the amount of money allotted to him by the school for personal private jet use.
From The Star Tribune:
Pitino spent $116,041 on private jet usage in fiscal year 2014 (spanning June 2013 to June 2014) and $156,440 for fiscal 2015.
According to the report, as of February, Pitino had already spent $53,388 on private jet usage for fiscal year 2016. During the three-year period, Pitino also took two private jet flights that were “unallowable” because they were less than 200 miles from campus.
Elsewhere, other coaches have bigger private jet budgets. Rick Pitino, Richard’s father and the coach at Louisville, has a reported annual budget of $250,000 for private jet travel. At Kentucky, John Calipari spent more than $342,000 in 2013-14. In the Big Ten, Indiana spent $569,000 on chartered planes for all of its coaches to recruit that year. At Ohio State, Thad Matta is given a budget of $65,000 or roughly 11 hours, for recruiting, as well as an additional 15 hours of jet time for private use.
My takeaway: Pitino should be shit-canned. Not because he’s overspending on ten minute PJs to make a quick food run to the Tim Hortons a town over. No, he needs to be booted from Minneapolis for clearly not spending nearly enough to be competitive in a power conference like the Big Ten. If you want to be an elite college coach in the modern game, you have to drop Calipari, Matta, or even his dad, Rick, type money on stylish luxury in the skies. If you’re only spending half or a third as much as those coaches on completely necessary extravagant travel, you should only expect half or a third of the wins. And that’s exactly why the Gophers only scratched together eight wins all of last year.
In addition to the private jet spending, both basketball programs spent more than allowed on hotels, private cars, birthday or holiday parties, meals and valet parking. The audit even flagged “unreasonable” spending by Pitino involving “multiple” rental cars returned without full gas tanks and instances of parking at the airport even though the team had rented a bus.
This is more like it, Richard. And don’t think I haven’t noticed you following in your pop’s footsteps.
But until you’re recklessly spending more money on chartered flights than the families of your entire team’s households combined, you’ll never be a big time college coach. That’s just the cold hard truth..
[via Star Tribune]
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