Rick Pitino spoke out Wednesday about the NCAA's decision to strip Louisville of its 2013 championship title and 2012 Final Four appearance, calling it "unjust."

The NCAA announced Tuesday it was upholding the original ruling that Louisville would have to vacate its wins from the 2011-12 season through the 2014-15 season, including and NCAA Tournament victories. The school also has to return any money it received from its Tournament appearances and victories.

The former Cardinals coach held a news conference at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig in Manhattan Wednesday, where he addressed the hefty punishment.

"To say I'm disappointed with the NCAA's appeals ruling is a gross understatement," Pitino said. "Did a few of (the players) partake in parties they didn't organize? Yes they did. But that had nothing to do with an extra benefit. That had nothing to do with helping their eligibility or performance in winning that championship.

"Those parties did not enhance our players' ability to win a national championship or go to a Final Four."

The NCAA investigation came about when a former escort wrote a tell-all book about how former assistant Andre McGee hired strippers to show up at dorm parties for recruits to entice them to play at Louisville.

Pitino said he took the blame for hiring the "wrong people," but that he didn't know anything of the sex parties taking place.

"I had no knowledge of the reprehensible things that went on in that dormitory," he said. "If I hired the wrong people at times, I take full ownership and responsibility for everyone I've hired. I've hired some awfully great ones."

Pitino was place on administrative leave in September and fired in October after he was linked to an FBI investigation that saw the Cardinals shell out $100,000 to the family of Brian Bowen to get him to play at Louisville.

He maintains he had nothing to do with the Bowen scandal, as well.

"I do really think it's unjust," Pitino said of the punishments. "But again, I fully take ownership for the people I hired."