Rick Pitino Says ‘No One Knew’ About Escorts Allegedly Provided to Louisville Recruits

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Rick Pitino says that allegations that the Louisville Cardinals basketball program provided escorts left him almost “sick to my stomach.”

According to a new book titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, the former head of men’s basketball operations at the University of Louisville paid an escort service for four years for services rendered to high schoolers recruited for the university’s team. The book may hit shelves as soon as Saturday.

Pitino calls the allegations “mind boggling.” The Hall of Fame coach said on Monday “my heart is really broken” over the stories.

The head of the escort service, Louisville stripper and escort Katina Powell, kept copious notes from 2010 t0 2014 detailing how Andre McGee allegedly hired her over and over to provide strippers and prostitutes for high school recruits and their fathers when they visited the university campus. Powell also asserts that services were provided for players on the university’s team.

McGee played for the university team from 2005-2009, then served as a graduate assistant before taking the reins of the basketball operations in 2012. He left in 2014 to serve as an assistant coach for the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Powell states that she serviced 22 parties from 2010 to 2014, during which the teenagers were offered liquor, than asked for payment if they wanted to copulate with the dancers. Powell and three of her daughters joined other dancers in stripping, dancing, and having sex with the players.

“Not myself, not one player, not one trainer, not one assistant, not one person knew anything about any of this,” Pitino announced Monday. “If anyone did, it would have been stopped on a dime. Not one person knew anything about it.”

In the book, the university claimed it has “retained an outside expert to investigate allegations evidently contained. The outside expert is aggressively reviewing this situation in full cooperation with the relevant authorities, including the NCAA. The university notes that the publisher has provided sparse detail to date and [the school] repeats its request for additional detail in order to further the thoroughness of the investigation.”

The university told IBJ.com, “The university was shocked to hear of the allegations. The University of Louisville will continue its review in full cooperation and coordination with the NCAA and if warranted, take any appropriate action. The allegations have been taken very seriously. In no way would anyone at this institution condone the alleged activities.”

Powell claimed, “I decided to write the book to tell my story and to let people know what goes on inside of college basketball … and how they get their new recruits. It’s important for people to know … how young kids are persuaded to do certain things by sex, drugs and alcohol.” Powell asserted that McGee’s increasing demands prompted her to tell her story; in one journal entry, she noted, “I promise I’m waiting for the right time to take these bastards down. … I just have to be smart and patient as well. At the right time, when I decide to tell my story, I will tell my story.”

Rick Pitino has been the basketball coach at the university since 2001. He responded to the assertions by Powell:

The team won the NCAA championship in 2013 and reached the Final Four in 2012.


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