Weird Claim

Louisville, KY - The estranged wife of Louisville coach Rick Pitino's longtime friend and equipment manager who finds herself in the center of a brewing storm around the revered coach's claims that someone is trying to extort him said Monday she is waiting for the truth to come out.

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After Pitino went to the FBI with the tip, agents questioned Karen Syphers, wife of Tim Syphers, her attorney said. While she declined to say whether she's had contact with Pitino or what she's discussed with the FBI, Karen Syphers claims she did nothing wrong in trying to present her side to a local TV station that ultimately decided not to air what she said about the case and the coach the city credits with turning around the once-foundering program.
``I'm standing up for my rights and feeling like I don't have a lot of them at this moment,'' she said Monday. ``I'm just waiting for the truth to come out.''
support for Pitino. Karen Syphers' attorney Thomas Clay says the couple is divorcing.
So far, Petino, the FBI and Syphers have not given any details of what information she or anyone else might have on the coach to attempt to extort him. But the mystery has the hoops-crazed city buzzing about a man who gave it back a college basketball powerhouse and who packs the star power to serve as its top ambassador to the world.
The story has led every newscast since it broke Saturday night and has lit up Louisville basketball chat boards and local radio talk shows.
``Rick Pitino is one of our Fortune 500 companies,'' said local radio talk show host Terry Meiners. ``He is the face of the Louisville program and in many ways he's the steward of our pride and self-image.''
WDRB-TV chose not to air its interview with Syphers because it couldn't verify what she said.
On the school's campus a few blocks from their home court, Freedom Hall, one student was unimpressed by the rumors about the coach who led Louisville to Big East regular season and conference tournament titles this year.
``I mean, there will be rumors,'' said junior Joe Conaghan. ``As high profile as he is, anything that happens will be out there in the open, but this is no big deal. It's definitely not private, but this is no big deal.''
he was declining comment pending the outcome of the investigation.
When the probe could end is unclear, Clay said.
``The United States moves at its own pace,'' he said.
University president James Ramsey and athletic director Tom Jurich put out a statement on Saturday night voicing their support of Pitino.

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Posted: 4/20/09 11:16PM ET

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