A judge has dismissed Rick Pitino’s lawsuit against Adidas — but the legal imbroglio could be far from over.
Kentucky U.S. District Court Judge David Hale on Tuesday sacked the October suit filed by the former University of Louisville basketball coach against the German athletic brand — for alleged emotional distress — agreeing with Adidas that the case should be settled in arbitration (in Oregon). The judge did not rule on the claims in the case — and since it was dismissed without prejudice, it could be refiled by Pitino’s team and brought back to court.
While 65-year-old Pitino was not named in the investigation, 10 men — including university coaches and top Adidas executive James Gatto — were accused of the widespread use of bribes to influence college athletes’ choice schools and shoe sponsors. The University of Louisville was one of the schools federal investigators reviewed in the investigation, and Pitino was fired following a unanimous vote by the school’s athletics board
Pitino sued Adidas just one day after his termination. At the time, Adidas referred to his lawsauit as a “reaction to his termination” and “without merit.”
In court documents, Pitino claimed he was not aware of Adidas’ alleged use of bribes for top recruits and said the company’s “outrageous” actions hurt his reputation.
“This lawsuit is about more than just money; it is coach Pitino’s vehicle for proving that he had nothing to do with Adidas’ outrageous, wrongful and illegal conspiracy,” the lawsuit stated.
Pitino in November also filed suit against the University of Louisville Athletic Association claiming breach of contract and seeking $4.3 million a year in compensation for the length of his previous employment contract through June 30, 2026. That case is ongoing.
A spokesperson for Adidas declined to comment.