Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Updated: April 29, 10:38 AM ET
Rick Pitino won't coach Puerto Rico
ESPN.com news services
Louisville coach Rick Pitino will not coach the Puerto Rico national team due to scheduling conflicts between the two responsibilities, the university announced Wednesday.
Last last year, Pitino announced he would coach Puerto Rico through this year's FIBA Tournament of the Americas, with the goal of qualifying the team for the 2012 London Games.
Pitino had hoped his Louisville team could visit Puerto Rico while he was coaching the national team; NCAA regulations allow college teams a foreign trip.
But Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, is not regarded as a foreign site by the NCAA, which denied Louisville's appeal on the matter.
That was not the only complication for Pitino. Puerto Rico was slated to play in another tournament in Brazil that would have taken Pitino away from campus during the fall semester, at a time he could not afford to be absent.
"I was so looking forward to coaching the Puerto Rico national team, but too many conflicts arose," Pitino said. "It is a great disappointment that we cannot take on the challenge to help them qualify for the Olympics. "
Pitino had planned to coach Puerto Rico at the Tournament of the Americas, scheduled to begin in late August in Mar del Plata, Argentina. A top-two finish at that tournament would secure an invitation to the 2012 London Games, while a top-five finish would earn a place at the 2012 FIBA world Olympic qualifying tournament.
Puerto Rico, which pulled off one of Olympic basketball's biggest upsets by beating the United States at Athens in 2004, did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.