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Rick Pitino Reportedly to Meet with NCAA Regarding Escort Scandal

Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino listens to a question during a press conference, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Louisville Ky. The University announced a one-year postseason ban for its men's basketball team amid ongoing investigations into a sex scandal in which an escort alleged that a former staffer paid her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2016

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino has yet to be questioned by the NCAA with regard to the sex party scandal that rocked the university this season, but that will reportedly change soon.  

According to ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil, the Hall of Famer is scheduled to meet with the NCAA on the matter for the first time at some point in April.

Former escort Katina Powell alleged in her tell-all book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, that former Louisville assistant Andre McGee paid her to set up parties for prospective recruits that featured strippers and prostitution, per O'Neil.

That led to the university self-imposing a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season, which prevented a strong Cardinals team from vying for a national championship.

After the scandal broke, Pitino insisted he had no knowledge of Powell's accusations, according to O'Neil"Not myself, not one player, not one trainer, not one assistant, not one person knew anything about any of this. If anyone did, it would have been stopped on a dime. Not one person knew anything about it."

The postseason ban has seemed to take a toll on Pitino, as it represented a major missed opportunity, and his comments have reflected that.

He has yet to commit to returning to coach the Cardinals in 2016-17, but he told ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor that it is something he will take under heavy consideration during the offseason:

I'll ask myself after the season if Louisville is a better place with Rick Pitino as coach, and if the answer is yes, I'll do what I've done for 15 years and come back and fight for a championship, and that's what I plan on doing. But if the time comes that I feel Louisville is better off without me, I'm without ego now. I'd recommend this job to everybody. The town is great, the AD is off-the-charts fantastic and loyal, and I have a super team coming back. But if I think Louisville will be better off without me, anything's possible.

The NCAA's meeting with Pitino could potentially play a role in his decision, although the nature of what will be discussed remains unclear.

Pitino has been steadfast in his assertion that he has done nothing wrong and had no involvement with the sex scandal whatsoever.

Head coaches are often viewed as being responsible for everything that happens within their program, however, which is why the NCAA must do its due diligence in determining whether Pitino lost institutional control.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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