An attorney for Louisville’s incoming five-star recruit Brian Bowen—the player at the center of the school’s involvement in the FBI investigation that resulted in the firings of Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich—announced Thursday that Bowen has been cleared by the FBI of any “investigative impediments.”
A university spokesperson told the Courier-Journal that Bowen is still enrolled at the school, but the 6-foot-7 small forward has been barred from participating in team activities since the FBI announced its investigation. The spokesperson remained mum on whether Bowen was indefinitely suspended or ruled ineligible. Now that he’s been cleared, Bowen can potentially be reinstated and join Louisville on the court this season pending an internal investigation by the Louisville legal and compliance departments. That’s obviously a helluva stipulation—if he’s been ruled ineligible by Louisville, his reinstatement would have to be approved by the NCAA, which, given their recent history, isn’t exactly a promising outcome.
For his part, Bowen’s lawyer, Jason Setchen, is staying positive. He released a statement noting that Louisville has “been very cooperative” and adding that he believes the Cardinals will at least give their star recruit a fair shake. Bowen’s legal representation is currently taking the Cam Newton route, claiming that while the FBI has recorded phone conversations of Bowen’s father speaking with Gatto and Pitino about the payments (and another with Munish Sood that reportedly confirms the $19,600 payment went through), Bowen was never made privy to any money talks. Setchen’s statement can be read below, via the Courier-Journal:
“Brian and I are excited with this development and look forward to working with the university and the NCAA to clarify any concerns or issues that they have in furtherance of Brian’s prompt return to competition,” Setchen said.
“Brian (Jr.) was not aware of any of the alleged activities,” Setchen said, “and it is our position that he has not violated any NCAA rules or bylaws. ... It’s a fundamental aspect of being an American that we are not held responsible for the actions of other people and we have a right to associate. It is unfair to Brian or any student-athlete to try and punish them for actions of others who are not in their control.”
“While the rules have changed slightly since the Cam Newton case,” Setchen said, “the mitigating factors in Brian’s case are not dissimilar in that he had no knowledge of any of the alleged improprieties.’’
Bowen’s family sought the services of attorney Jason Setchen shortly after the FBI announced its investigation into whether Pitino and Adidas executive Jim Gatto paid Bowen a bargain sum of $100,000 to sign with the Cardinals. In terms of available lawyers, Setchen’s a solid choice considering he previously helped Miami recruit DeQuan Jones earn back his eligibility after he was looped into the infamous Nevin Shapiro scandal.
Louisville opens the regular season Nov. 12 against George Mason; as Bowen’s still got to go through at least one university investigation and potentially the NCAA reinstatement process, the Cardinals will be lucky if they have him back by ACC play.