The Louisville men's basketball program will have to vacate its 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance after the NCAA denied its appeal of what the school described as "Draconian penalties" levied against the team last year.
"I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong," Postel said. "We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case -- based on NCAA precedent -- that supported our argument."
The Cardinals will become the first NCAA Division I men's basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"We'll remove the official recognition, but it won't remove it from our hearts and minds," Louisville interim athletics director Vince Tyra said during a news conference held shortly after the NCAA's announcement. "It brings closure to one of these situations. It's not going to bring closure to the successes and memories our teams had. I'm sad for our players and certainly our staff members."
The NCAA penalties are the result of an investigation that included allegations that a former Louisville staff member arranged for striptease dances and sex acts for players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011 to 2015.
"This dark cloud has hung over our heads for more than two years, and it has had a negative impact on our athletics program, our fans and the entire university family," Postel said in his statement. "While we disagree with the NCAA's decision, it is time for the university to close this chapter and move forward with a stronger commitment to excellence on and off the court."
Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino has denied knowledge of the parties.
The NCAA penalties, which were announced on June 15, included the vacation of basketball records in which ineligible student-athletes competed from 2011 to 2015. The school had previously said the penalties would affect 123 victories, including 15 NCAA Tournament wins and the 2013 national title.
The Cardinals also were placed on NCAA probation for four years, which includes scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions, a $5,000 fine and the forfeiture of any money received through conference revenue sharing from the 2012-15 NCAA tournaments. Postel said Tuesday that he expects the sum to be less than $1 million, though there were some reports that the sum could be as much as $15 million.
The Cardinals had already self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season.
At the time the penalties were announced, Postel said in a statement that the NCAA penalties "went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable."
Louisville sent a 68-page appeal to the NCAA on Aug. 11, in which it said college sports' governing body imposed "Draconian" penalties and ignored the school's self-imposed punishment.
The NCAA investigation centered around allegations made by Katina Powell, a self-described former escort, who alleged in a book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," that former Louisville staffer Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows at the Cardinals' dormitory from 2010 to 2014.
Pitino, who held the distinction of being the only coach to guide two Division I men's programs to national titles (Kentucky in 1996 and Louisville in 2013), denied knowledge of what McGee was doing. But the NCAA committee on infractions ruled that Pitino violated NCAA head-coach responsibility rules by failing to monitor McGee's activities.
Pitino, who was fired as Louisville's coach on Oct. 16, faced a five-game suspension at the start of ACC play this season.
"For 35-some-odd years I've had a lot of faith in the NCAA and have reacted that way accordingly as a head basketball coach in the belief of their rules," Pitino said during a news conference on June 15. "Not only is it unjust ... over-the-top severe, but personally I've lost a lot of faith in the NCAA that I've had over the last 35 years with what they just did.
"I'm gonna put all my faith in the appeals committee that they will do the right thing. ... We believe we will win the appeal because it is right, it is just. What went on [the NCAA's ruling] was unjust, inconceivable."
McGee, who never talked to NCAA investigators, was given a 10-year show cause.
The escort scandal was only the beginning of Louisville's off-court troubles. On Sept. 26, the FBI arrested 10 men, including four assistant coaches from across the country, after a three-year investigation into college basketball corruption.
The allegations in the federal complaint included an accusation that Adidas executives Jim Gatto and Merl Code conspired with former sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial planner Munish Sood to funnel $100,000 to the father of Louisville recruit Brian Bowen to ensure that his son signed with the Cardinals.
The FBI said telephone records show Gatto spoke directly with an unnamed Louisville coach multiple times in the days before Bowen committed to play for the Cardinals. Pitino was not named in the federal complaint.
Pitino was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 27 and then fired with "just cause" on Oct. 16. Athletics director Tom Jurich was fired with cause two days later. Associate head coach Kenny Johnson was also placed on administrative leave and later fired as a result of the FBI investigation.
In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN's Jay Bilas on Oct. 19, Pitino said he takes "full responsibility" for any staff member he hires but also emphasized that he thoroughly vetted his assistant coaches. On multiple occasions during the interview, Pitino, 65, referred to a lie detector test, which he volunteered to take as a way to again say he was not aware that Bowen's father received payments of $100,000, as alleged.
Adidas, which sponsored the Cardinals, promptly terminated its personal services agreement with Pitino. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported last year that Pitino received 98 percent of the $39 million the Cardinals were owed from the sponsorship deal with Adidas.
Pitino filed a federal lawsuit against Adidas in October, alleging the company deliberately damaged his reputation by ending their agreement. Pitino also sued the University of Louisville Athletics Association for breach of contract in federal court on Nov. 30. His lawyers claimed the school wrongfully suspended and then fired him, and they argued that he is owed $38.7 million for the remainder of his contract through 2026.
The university filed a countersuit against Pitino on Dec. 13 for "wrongful conduct" and argued that he is financially responsible for damages caused by the recent scandals. The federal complaint requests that Pitino repay monetary losses that might arise from vacated games and bonuses.
Bowen, a five-star recruit from Saginaw, Michigan, was indefinitely suspended by Louisville officials in September and never played in a game for the Cardinals. He has denied knowledge of the pay-for-play scheme and transferred to South Carolina on Jan. 10.