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Rick Pitino might not coach Puerto Rico

4/26/2011

While Kentucky coach John Calipari mulls a chance to coach the Dominican Republic national team, Louisville coach Rick Pitino might be forced to give up coaching the Puerto Rico national team this summer.

Pitino agreed to coach the team in December, but told reporters Tuesday that the NCAA rejected an appeal for Louisville to be able to train in Puerto Rico.

"Though it's in the [NCAA rulebook], we did not know that Puerto Rico is considered part of the United States," Pitino said. "We knew that from a political standpoint, but we did not know what's the difference in a foreign trip between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. We thought that's the same, it's a foreign trip. One of the reasons why we took that job was for the University of Louisville to compete against the national team, and then they said you can't do that. So not only could we not go to Puerto Rico for our foreign trip, we can't compete against the national team. So it's almost impossible for me to do both."

Another complication, Pitino said, is that one of the tournaments the Puerto Rican team is playing in had its date changed to a time when students begin arriving on campus at Louisville. Clearly Louisville remains his first priority, so Pitino might very well be forced to give up coaching the team.

"I was really looking forward to that as much of anything," Pitino said. "I was really anxious to coach that team."

Pitino said the team still plans to play in the Bahamas in August. But the Cardinals could have also benefited from playing against professionals in Puerto Rico while Pitino's presence might have paid recruiting dividends.