Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is backing out of an agreement to coach the Puerto Rico national team in preparation for the 2011 pre-Olympic qualifying tournament because of scheduling conflicts, the school announced Wednesday morning.
"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."
One issue, according to Louisville officials, is that Pitino had hoped to take the Cardinals with him to Puerto Rico on a preseason "foreign" trip so that he could work with them while also working with the Puerto Rico national team, but the NCAA declined to OK that plan because Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States. Consequently, Puerto Rico is not considered a "foreign" site under NCAA rules.
"We were hoping to arrange for both the Puerto Rico and our UofL teams to play at the same foreign site, which could not be accommodated," Pitino said. "An additional tournament in Brazil would have also kept me from being in Louisville at a key time for the start of the fall semester."