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Kevin Ware Blasts Louisville Sanctions 'It's a Joke'

2/20/2018 12:18 PM PST

Kevin Ware Blasts Louisville Sanctions, 'It's a Joke'

EXCLUSIVE

Ex-Louisville basketball star Kevin Ware says he doesn't understand why the NCAA is forcing the school to vacate their 2013 NCAA Championship ... saying the sanctions are a "joke."

Ware was a member of that championship team -- but suffered a catastrophic leg injury that sidelined him during the Elite Eight round of the tournament. 

Still, Ware says he's incredibly proud of his team -- despite the NCAA vacating the title and all of the team's wins due to the stripper sex party scandal involving players, recruits and team officials. 

"It's a joke, honestly," Ware tells TMZ Sports ... "Just my personal opinion."

Ware says at the end of the day, Louisville still beat Duke, Wichita State and Michigan to win the tourney -- and the NCAA can't change that history. 

As for his former coach Rick Pitino, Ware says he should definitely KEEP his championship tattoo because he's a "gangsta!"

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