A group of basketball recruits for the University of Louisville disclose that their visit to the college was more like an extended party—including sexual favors—than an assessment of an academic career.
According to ESPN, five former top recruits said that when they visited the school to help them decide if they should attend they were treated to parties including strippers and even sexual favors all paid for by former graduate assistant coach, Andre McGee.
Many of these dancers were fully nude, some of the recruits told ESPN, and the parties continued even after some of them chose to attend UofL and joined the team.
One potential recruit noted, “I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”
These claims are backed up by a new book written by a woman who claims she was a regular part of these sort of parties at UofL. In her book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, self-described former escort Katina Powell, 42, writes of over 20 sex-fueled parties held on campus for basketball players that she attended between 2010 and 2014. She similarly charged that Coach McGee paid her money for her services and that of her cohorts.
Powell also writes of “side deals” that would provide sexual favors to the players as well as to recruits and even the guardians who accompanied those recruits in their visits to the school. Powell and two of her daughters appeared on ESPN admitting to providing sex for money in connection with the Louisville program.
One of the former recruits who claimed to have attended one of these parties told ESPN that there was a process to get to the sexual favors. The unnamed recruit said that coach McGee “would give us the money, just the recruits. A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one [of the dancers] they wanted.”
For his part, coach McGee left UofL in 2014 and is now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. But he is currently on leave pending an investigation into these charges of his conduct at Louisville. McGee has not commented publicly on these stories.
As to UofL head coach Rick Pitino, a Louisville spokesman told ESPN, “Coach Pitino has no plans to step down and he absolutely didn’t know about the allegations.”
“To preserve the integrity of the review process, the university will withhold comment on any details until the review is concluded,” the school added in a statement.
But Pitino has addressed the claims before. Earlier this month he was adamant that no one but coach McGee knew anything about these parties.
“Not myself, not one player, not one trainer, not one assistant, not one person knew anything about any of this,” Pitino told ESPN on October 6. “If anyone did, it would have been stopped on a dime. Not one person knew anything about it.
Regardless, Powell has a lot of claims of sexual favors and prostitution in her book. She also gives names, dates, and the amount women were paid for sex.
The school investigates the claims and despite her admission that she engaged in prostitution, state authorities have thus far said that there isn’t enough proof that any acts of prostitution were committed.
A spokesperson for Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine insisted, “If my office receives credible evidence of sexual abuse or other criminal activity involving minor children, we will vigorously prosecute those responsible for those crimes.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org