Pitino, 65, was named the John Wooden National Coach of the Year at Providence in 1987 and was inducted into the Nasimith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Pitino has been the head coach of Louisville since 2001, and coached the Cardinals to a 416-141 (.747) record over 16 seasons.
"These allegations come as a complete shock to me", Pitino said in a statement on Tuesday. At least three high school students and their families allegedly were paid up to $150,000 to both commit to a university sponsored by Adidas and then sign with the behemoth sportswear company once they reached the professional level.
Pitino's attorney Steve Pence told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the coach has been "effectively fired".
Still, assistant coaches have long been the fall guys for NCAA violations, because they're the ones with their fingerprints on the evidence.
"I will not resign and let you down", Pitino said in the aftermath.
A second recruit, identified as "Player-11" is said to have been paid in exchange for his commitment to Louisville for the Class of 2019.
Pitino is currently under a five-game suspension after an unrelated NCAA investigation into allegations a former team staffer supplied escorts for players and recruits.
Louisville is expected to hold a press conference today at 1 p.m. In hope of tempering the possible NCAA sanctions, Louisville has already self-imposed a 2016 NCAA tournament ban.
Prior to that scandal, Pitino admitted in 2009 to having a sexual relationship with Karen Sypher, the wife of a University of Louisville equipment manager.
Scandal after scandal and he's there on the sideline every November.
Postel said Pitino's employment with the men's program will be reviewed at a later date and that he hopes to name an interim replacement for him and athletic director Tom Jurich, who was also put on leave, in the next 48 hours.
On Tuesday, the FBI charged 10 men, including a top Adidas executive and four college assistant coaches, with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence top-rated recruits in their choice of school, shoe sponsor and agents.