Louisville Investigating Former Assistant's Alleged Use of Escorts

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Mar 18, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; A general view of the KFC Yum! Center during practice day before the second round of the NCAA Tournament at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Louisville is facing allegations in an upcoming book that Andre McGee, a former member of the basketball staff, paid escorts to have sex with recruits and players on the roster.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports revealed that the book is titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen and is written by "self-described madam" Katina Powell, who resides in Louisville, and Indianapolis-based journalist Dick Cady.

Continue for updates.

Subpoenas Reportedly Being Issued Regarding Scandal

Friday, Oct. 30

John Barr of ESPN reported that the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney in Jefferson County, Kentucky, has started the process of issuing the subpoenas, citing a "source familiar with the proceedings."

"We don't comment on investigations that we are doing," spokesman Jeff Cooke said when asked for comment, via Barr.

NCAA Interviews Members of Louisville Program

Tuesday, Oct. 27

ESPN.com reported NCAA officials were in Louisville on Monday and Tuesday interviewing members of the basketball program. 

Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said he could not comment on the matter, per ESPN.

McGee Resigns from UKMC Post

Friday, Oct. 23

McGee has resigned as an assistant at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

He was previously placed on administrative leave.

Powell Discusses Book in 'The View' Interview

Friday, Oct. 23

 "It seemed like no one would want to listen so I had no choice, I had to write a book," Powell said during her appearance on The View, per Howie Lindsey of Louisville Sports Report.  

"It's about the book and the money. I would be lying if I said it wasn't," Powell continued, per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. Powell added parents of recruits and players knew the parties were happening, according to Norlander

Pitino Comments On Future At Louisville, Allegations

Thursday, Oct. 22

Pitino released a statement on his official website telling fans he had no intention of stepping down:

To our loyal fans,

First, above all, I’m sorry we all have to endure the pain of these allegations. I so appreciate your support and friendships.

I will not resign and let you down. Someday I will walk away in celebration of many memorable years but that time is not now. I do not fight these accusations by others but rather turn the other cheek. Couldn’t do it at 33, but at 63 it’s the wise thing to do. Let’s let the investigators do their job and we will play basketball.

On Oct. 8, Pitino said he was sorry Louisville president James Ramsey "didn't think enough to mention me" in his statement, via Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.

"I had one conversation with him, and - as things come out - I start to wonder if what he told me was true," Pitino said of McGee, per Lindsey.

Pitino also commented on his future, saying he'd step aside if that's what Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich decides would be best for the program, per Lindsey: "If Tom Jurich wants me to leave, I’ll pack my bags tomorrow. It’s not about me, It’s about the University of Louisville."

Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports radio indicated Pitino was unsure whether McGee lied to him.

"I tried to investigate a little bit on my own. I was immediately shut down by my compliance department,"  Pitino said of the allegations on Oct. 2, per Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated.

"I spoke to Andre [McGee] one time," Pitino added, per Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated. "I asked him a few questions...at no time did he own up to any of what's being printed."

In terms of finding out what is or isn't true, Pitino said, according to Hamilton, "I can't find anybody at all that knew anything about this."

However, Powell alleged Pitino was aware of what was going on within his program in a Saturday interview with Anthony Schoettle of the Indianapolis Business Journal:

How can it be going on for four years, that many people be involved and that many people see what's going on and Rick Pitino doesn't know anything about it? You have players that are very, very loyal to Pitino. And if they thought anything was wrong or anyone was going to get in trouble, I'm pretty sure they would have gone back to report to Pitino. When I would ask Andre, "Does Pitino know about this?" he would laugh and say, "Rick knows about everything."

Pitino also gave insight as to the emotions he was feeling regarding the allegations surrounding his former assistant.

"If Andre is part of this in any way, I've got to forgive him," Pitino said, per Hamilton.

"I just can't fathom, can't believe it...My heart's just taken out of my body and broken," Pitino stated, per Hamilton.

Pitino also commented on the recruiting aspect, per Hamilton, saying, "That's what doesn't make sense to me: Andre had no pressure to make sure a recruit came here."

He took it a step further, per Cardinal Connect, saying, "I venture to say not one person came here because of these women."

Madam, Former Louisville Players, Recruits Comment on Parties

Tuesday, Oct. 20

According to Barr and Goodman, five former Louisville basketball players and recruits revealed to Outside the Lines that McGee did indeed pay women to strip for and have sex with them from 2010 through 2014.

Powell further confirmed the encounters in a conversation with Barr and Goodman.

One former recruit who ultimately decided against playing at Louisville had this to say about parties that were allegedly set up by McGee at Billy Minardi Hall: "I knew they weren't college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club," the recruit said.

Another former recruit told OTL that McGee provided them with money to tip the strippers and negotiated for them to have sex with the women of their choosing.

Powell estimated that she ran nearly two dozen parties and was paid a total of $10,000 by McGee from 2010 through 2014.

She also insists McGee told her Louisville head coach Rick Pitino was aware of the situation. While she never saw evidence that Pitino knew what was happening, she finds it hard to believe he wouldn't have, according to Barr and Goodman"Four years, a boatload of recruits, a boatload of dancers, loud music, alcohol, security, cameras, basketball players who came in [to the dorm] at will ... " Powell said.

An NCAA investigation into the matter is ongoing, so no action has been taken against Pitino or the Louisville basketball program as a whole to this point.

Pitino's Son Comments on Allegations

Monday, Oct. 19

"When you hear things like that, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Richard Pitino, head coach at Minnesota, said regarding the allegations at Big Ten media day on Oct. 16, per Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune. "… I don't think any staff in the country would know about that and turn a blind eye. To me, it just, it never happened.

"The truth will come out eventually. Everyone is kind of guessing right now, they're all allegations."

Pitino also spoke about the perception of his father and what he told him after the allegations were made public:

I know what my dad is all about, I know the program that he runs. You've got to understand, he's been doing this for 40 years—and he's run a clean program for 40 years. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

…I told him—put your head on the pillow at night knowing you did nothing wrong. I know that for a fact.

Louisville President Releases Statement

Thursday, Oct. 8

Jen Keeney of WDRB provided a statement from Ramsey:

Jen Keeney @jenkeeney

Statement from UL President James Ramsey on basketball scandal http://t.co/yOOI1Hih1Y

Ex-Recruit, Player Reportedly Confirm Allegations

Thursday, Oct. 8

After his name was mentioned in the tell-all book regarding Louisville's alleged recruiting violations, Ohio State guard JaQuan Lyle was recently interviewed by the NCAA.

According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, a source said that Lyle, who was recruited by Louisville, confirmed the "gist" of the allegations against the program.

"He told the truth," an unnamed source told Parrish in reference to what Lyle told NCAA investigators.

Lyle had originally committed to the Cardinals after his visit but later de-committed, per Parrish. According to Forde, the NCAA also interviewed LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney.

Regardless of whether Lyle wants to speak against Louisville, Rob Dauster of NBC Sports pointed out that he has no other options:

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

Jaquan Lyle doesn't really have a choice but to tell the truth to the NCAA. I'd be shocked if Antonio Blakeney didn't do the same.

"It does not affect us or JaQuan at all,” Ohio State associate athletic director for communications Dan Wallenberg told Forde Wednesday. "We've been told, and are pretty confident, this is not something we need to worry about."

Lyle was not the only player to corroborate the story. According to Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier-Journal, an unnamed former Louisville player told investigators there were strippers present in the players' dorms on at least one occasion:

This particular player told a university investigator that no sex took place (that he knew of), and that the only money he saw changing hands came in the form of dollar bills thrown at the women in the room, according to the source, who spoke on the condition that the identities of player and source be anonymous.

The source also said that the player, who is mentioned in the book, claimed that former U of L director of basketball operations Andre McGee, who Powell says arranged multiple meetings and paid her for the services of women who had sex with recruits and some players, was not present in the room on this occasion.

According to the source, the player told investigators that he never saw McGee hand money to anyone before or after. Powell's book, however, includes text messages -- that publishers say have been authenticated -- showing McGee making various meeting arrangements with Powell, and even discussing compensation. 

Louisville's Alleged Use of Escorts Detailed in New Book

Friday, Oct. 2

Forde's report details the actions of McGee, who served as a graduate assistant from 2010-12 before working as director of basketball operations from 2012-14. 

Powell claimed women were brought into the university's basketball dormitory "through a side door to entertain players and recruits," and more than $10,000 was allegedly given to her in exchange "for supplying the women."

"This does not include the hundreds of one-dollar bills thrown at the dancers at each party by McGee, the recruits and players. Nor does it include the money paid to the women who had sex with the recruits afterward," according to the book excerpt included in Forde's report.

Powell said she felt she "was part of the recruitment team" after the Cardinals won the 2013 NCAA tournament because a lot of players were at the school "because of me."

Forde notes the book cites numerous diaries and journals, including a "handwritten page" listing 19 parties for the Louisville basketball team "and/or former Louisville star Terrence Williams," who last played for the Cardinals in 2009.

The book publisher also said Powell has "hundreds of text exchanges with McGee" to set up her services and has pictures of players and recruits with her escort girls.

Parrish provided an alleged exchange outlined in the book:

McGee: what's up with a show Saturday night?

Powell: U tell me. 4 who?

McGee: This kid who already decided to come here but this will be his first time visiting.

Powell: OK that's cool. Give me details later.

McGee: I'm telling you now cause we gotta talk about prices. I can't keep spitting out 200 and 250 up front. Its basketball season ... so we got some tickets ... so lets talk.

Powell: OK lets talk tickets then.

Per Forde, the university released a statement confirming it has retained private investigator Chuck Smrt to look into Powell's allegations.

Greer provided comments from McGee's lawyer, Scott Cox:

Andre McGee has told us that he is not guilty of these allegations, that he has never supplied a prostitute or escort to a player or recruit at the University of Louisville. ...

... Andre McGee has cooperated at every stage of this investigation. He loves the University of Louisville and would not do anything to hurt the image of the university.

When asked why she would publish the book, Cox said, "She's a whore. She is interested in making money," per Greer.

Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports also provided a statement from IU Athletics:

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

Statement from Indiana on the Louisville allegations: http://t.co/XxU8PWx4Ij

If these allegations are found to be true, the school's 2013 title could be in jeopardy.