In a statement issued by his personal attorney on Tuesday night, Pitino said the allegations that Louisville was involved in a pay-for-play scheme "come as a complete shock to me."
"If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney's Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville," he said.
The bribery probe began in 2015 with the help of a financial adviser who agreed to wear a wire for the feds after being caught siphoning money from the accounts of pro athletes.
Investigators uncovered a scheme in which Adidas executive Jim Gatto, working with a cabal of athletic middlemen, allegedly used bribes to lure high-school standouts to at least two colleges the sportswear giant sponsored.
The schools were not named, but it's clear from the description that one of them is Louisville, which subsequently confirmed it was part of the investigation.
The court documents outline efforts to funnel more than $100,000 to the family of a recruit who then made a surprise last-minute decision to play for Louisville this summer.
"Basically we just need to take care of his dad with two grand monthly," Christian Dawkins, a former recruiter for a top sports agency, was allegedly recorded telling an undercover agent.
According to federal prosecutors, surveillance of the defendants also gathered evidence they were plotting to funnel money to another high-school player in exchange for a commitment to attend Louisville in 2019.
"The mom is like…we need our f---ing money. So we got to be able to fund the situation," Dawkins was allegedly recorded saying during a meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room attended by a Louisville assistant coach.
Dawkins was also captured on tape talking about a second coach's involvement in securing cash for a player's family, prosecutors said. Phone records then showed that coach making calls to the Adidas executive at the center of the case.
In a statement Wednesday, Adidas said Gatto has been placed on administrative leave and the company has hired a lawyer to conduct "a thorough investigation."
"In all aspects of our business, Adidas is committed to compliance and ethical business practices," it said.
Tracy Connor is a senior writer for NBC News. She started this role in December, 2012. Connor is responsible for reporting and writing breaking news, features and enterprise stories for NBCNews.com. Connor joined NBC News from the New York Daily News, where she was a senior writer covering a broad range of news and supervising the health and immigration beats. Prior to that she was an assistant city editor who oversaw breaking news and the courts and entertainment beats.
Earlier, Connor was a staff writer at the New York Post, United Press International and Brooklyn Paper Publications.
Connor has won numerous awards from journalism organizations including the Deadline Club and the New York Press Club.