Three former Louisville recruits reportedly confirmed to the NCAA that they attended parties on campus with strippers and prostitutes who were paid to entertain and have sex with them, according to Outside the Lines (via John Barr of ESPN.com).
"There's no question this stuff happened," a source close to the investigation told Outside the Lines. "There's no question the people at the University of Louisville know this happened. Katina Powell is not an admirable person, but she told the truth."
Powell, 43, is a former escort who described those recruiting parties in her book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, released in October. She claimed that between 2010-14, Andre McGee—a graduate assistant before he became the director of basketball operations—"paid her roughly $10,000 to supply dancers and escorts to parties that occurred inside Billy Minardi Hall."
The source familiar with the investigation confirmed those parties to Outside the Lines:
It's a pathetic story. McGee gave the players a stack of dollar bills ranging from $200 to $500. Everybody in the room got the money -- the recruits and the current members of the team. Not only that, but McGee himself had his own stack of dollar bills. If this guy's spending $2,000 to $3,000 on a recruiting weekend, where's this money coming from?
That has been the question in the NCAA's investigation, with the implication being that head coach Rick Pitino was somehow complicit. Pitino has repeatedly denied any knowledge of or involvement in orchestrating those parties, and he was critical of athletic director Tom Jurich's decision to self-impose a postseason ban on the basketball program this season.
Pitino is set to talk to NCAA investigators in April, according to Dana O'Neil of ESPN.com. He has acknowledged that he would potentially leave the school if "Louisville will be better off without me," per Ian O'Connor of ESPN.com.
That will likely be decided pending the results of the NCAA investigation. The decision may be taken out of his hands entirely, however, as he could be fired if the NCAA finds that he was in any way responsible for the parties that took place on campus during his tenure as head coach.