URI Assistant Coach Kenny Johnson Punished for Recruiting Violations at Louisville

Rhode Island men’s basketball assistant coach Kenny Johnson was given a two-year limited show-cause that will prohibit him from recruiting at permissible live activity events in the spring and summer evaluation periods, it was announced Thursday.

Following a five-year investigation into allegations of recruiting violations against the University of Louisville and several other programs, the Independent Accountability Resolution Process released its public decision Thursday. In May of 2020, Louisville was informed of charges of one Level I and three Level III recruiting violations that allegedly occurred with its program during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Johnson was an assistant coach with Louisville at the time.

The IARP’s ruling means that Johnson will not be allowed to recruit off campus during the April and July live periods that occur between Nov. 3, 2022 through Nov. 4, 2024. During these live periods, direct communication with recruits is not normally permitted for any coaches. Coaches are allowed only to watch and evaluate potential recruits participate in competitive showcases.

Johnson can still fill all other coaching duties, including participation in official and unofficial on-campus visits, high school competition evaluation and visits, as well as communication with recruits during permissible recruiting periods.

“We have known today was a possibility from the moment we began talking with Kenny about coming to Rhode Island,” Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn said. “Kenny Johnson has been an exemplary member of the Rhode Island family since he arrived last spring. From the time Archie Miller and I began talking with him about coming here, he has been fully transparent with us regarding the situation. This has been a long process, and more than anything, we are happy this situation is now resolved and Kenny can move forward focusing on Rhode Island basketball.”

Miller said Johnson will continue to have a significant impact on the future of Rhode Island basketball.

“Kenny Johnson is one of the best coaches in college basketball, and we are glad he will finally be able to move forward focusing on that job,” Miller said. “He brings significant value to our program, both as a coach and as a mentor for the young men in our program.”

As part of Thursday’s announcement, Louisville received no postseason ban, and there was no punishment for former head coaches Rick Pitino and Chris Mack. The school was fined $5,000, received a reduction in recruiting days and two years of probation.

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