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#pounditThursday, January 26, 2023

Articles tagged: Louisville Sex Scandal

NCAA charges Rick Pitino with failure to monitor in sex scandal

Rick Pitino

The NCAA announced on Thursday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been charged with failure to monitor a staff member in his basketball program after an investigation into the sex scandal that went on at the university.

In its notice of allegations, the NCAA revealed four Level I charges, two of which were directed at former director of basketball operations Andre McGee and another at former assistant Brandon Williams. Louisville was not charged with lack of institutional control or failure to monitor.

While Pitino has vehemently denied having knowledge of any of the allegations former escort Katina Powell made in her book, he could be facing a steep penalty. The NCAA determined that McGee paid Powell and other escorts roughly $5,400 in exchange for sex acts for “at least” 17 athletes and/or recruits. Though Pitino was not charged with committing any of the violations himself, he is responsible for not monitoring McGee and his staff and failing to “spot-check” his program or look for red flags.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and then-SMU coach Larry Brown were suspended nine games each last season for failure to monitor.

The NCAA has yet to propose penalties, and Louisville believes its self-imposed penalties of a postseason ban, forfeiture of scholarships and reduced recruiting access will be sufficient. McGee and Williams, who both failed to cooperate with the investigation, no longer work at Louisville.

A previous report stated that three Louisville recruits confirmed to the NCAA that the stripper parties did take place. The NCAA’s investigation has determined the same.

Report: Louisville to receive notice of allegations from NCAA this week

Rick Pitino

Louisville is expected to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA this week regarding the sex scandal involving the men’s basketball program, according to a report.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports the news and says the University of Louisville is expected to make the findings public on Thursday.

The scandal began over a year ago when self-proclaimed escort Katina Powell began promoting a book in which she details the parties and services she and her workers provided for the Louisville Cardinals basketball team. She says former Louisville staffer Andre McGee paid her thousands to provide sexual entertainment for recruits and players on the basketball team.

Louisville began to investigate the claims in response and self-imposed a few penalties, such as a postseason ban and the reduction of four scholarships over two years.

The notice of allegations will explain the improper actions the basketball program is accused of. It will not propose penalties. Louisville believes that its self-imposed penalties will satisfy the NCAA.

After receiving the notice of allegations, Louisville will be able to send a response to the NCAA, which will review the response. Then the sides go before the NCAA committee on infractions to determine penalties.

A previous report has said three Louisville recruits confirmed to the NCAA that the stripper parties did take place.

Rick Pitino jabs Kentucky when talking sex scandal

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino took a shot at Kentucky when talking about the Louisville sex scandal during an interview.

Pitino joined ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and talked about his Cardinals not playing in the postseason this year due to a self-imposed ban as penalty for the sex scandal. Pitino once again expressed shock over what happened.

“Well I’m going to tell them that — and it will sound a little bizarre to them — I’ve been a believer in these rules for over 30 years,” Pitino told the hosts. “Matter of fact, people call me a little bit of a micromanager. We’ve had the highest GPA now in three different conferences every year. We get after our guys academically … we run an extremely disciplined program so there’s a tremendous contradiction of this going on. And to say it breaks my heart would be putting it mildly … if I could just get Andre McGee in a room for 10 minutes I’d say, ‘Why? Why would you do this? What purpose did it serve? We didn’t need this to get recruits.’

“You know we’re not Kentucky where we’re recruiting the one-and-dones. We’re recruiting the Russ Smiths of the world. He’s a two-star athlete who becomes a first team college All-American. Gorgui Dieng, starting for the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn’t ranked in the top 75 … so we have a different way we recruit and it didn’t make any sense what was going on. How these women infiltrated our program was very disturbing to me.”

Right, Louisville’s not Kentucky because they’re not going after the one-and-dones. They shouldn’t have to lure recruits using strippers and sex, because they’re going for a different type of player, according to Pitino.

Can you believe the nerve of this guy? His program gets busted for throwing sex parties for recruits and then he tries to claim some sort of moral high ground over Kentucky? Are you kidding? Get real, Rick. You can’t have it both ways. And for what it’s worth, Katina Powell says she thinks Pitino knew about the parties.

Transcription via For the Win

Report: Three Louisville recruits confirmed to NCAA that stripper parties happened

Andre McGee Louisville

Three former Louisville basketball recruits told NCAA investigators that they attended on-campus parties involving strippers and escorts, according to a report.

A source close to the NCAA investigation of Louisville told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that the recruits said that strippers danced for them and prostitutes were paid for during the parties.

“There’s no question this stuff happened,” the source said, via ESPN’s John Barr. “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.”

The recruits also said that Andre McGee, the assistant coach at the heart of the allegations, gave the recruits money to tip the dancers.

“It’s a pathetic story,” the source said. “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?”

“I knew they weren’t college girls,” one of the recruits was quoted as saying. “It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”

The source said that the trio of recruits should give the NCAA a very strong case for charging Louisville with NCAA rules violations that could include impermissible benefits and lack of institutional control.

“If you’ve got three, that’s a slam dunk,” the source said. “That’s the enforcement staff’s dream.”

Louisville won’t be participating in the NCAA tournament in 2016 as self-imposed punishment for the scandal, and Rick Pitino, who has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the parties and argued that the madam involved is not credible, is considering his future at the school as a result of the allegations as well. Still, for Louisville, it sounds as if the worst may be yet to come.

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino believes the punishments against Louisville for their sex scandal are misdirected and should be targeted at the school rather than the current players. To that end, Pitino would prefer if Louisville were fined an eight-figure sum rather than banned from postseason play.

“My opinion is the school should be fined $10 million,” Pitino told SI’s Seth Davis. “They shouldn’t be allowed to collect any money from the tournament. The coach should have to take a hit in his salary, 20% or 50% or whatever. The kids should not be penalized, but (athletic director Tom Jurich) Tom has no choice. He has to comply.”

Pitino continues to say that he had no knowledge of the sex parties that were alleged to have involved his players. He says the people in the program know that he would have been so outraged by the parties that they went to great lengths to hide them from him. However, he still understands why people believe that as the program leader, he should be held responsible for what happened.

The Cardinals self-imposed a postseason ban for this season after concluding it was reasonable to believe violations had been committed. The outcome is particularly disappointing for two graduate transfers who came to Louisville for a shot to play in the tourney but will not have a chance to do so because of the actions of players who were previously in the program. You can read about the allegations against the Louisville program here.

Rick Pitino: Schools that violate NCAA rules should be fined, no postseason bans

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino believes that the NCAA needs to overhaul its system and shift the punishment for rules violations.

Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season for rules violations stemming from the school’s escort scandal. Pitino thinks that’s unfair to the current crop of players and wants the NCAA to hit schools where it hurts the most: their pocketbooks.

“You should kill the university’s pocket book right away and take that money and put it in a scholarship for needy kids to go to college,” Pitino said, via Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “This is wrong. It’s a bad system. That doesn’t mean we were not wrong in what we’ve done. With the limited knowledge of what I know, we were wrong. It should’ve never gone on. It turns my stomach.”

Pitino suggested a $10-$15 million fine levied against the school instead of a postseason ban, as well as docking the salaries of coaches implicated. He also threw his athletic director, Tom Jurich, under the bus for the penalties instituted.

“My faith is in Tom Jurich. He is a great AD,” Pitino said. “Did he hurt us? More than you could ever imagine. Are our fans suffering along with the players? More than you could ever imagine. But we have to trust our leader.

“As much as [university president] Dr. [James] Ramsey’s taking a lot of heat right now, please don’t give him the heat. He’s taken enough heat from enough places. He doesn’t need this heat because he’s done a lot of great things for this university, a lot of tremendous things for our university.”

Pitino may actually have a point about postseason bans, but his constant refusal to take even the slightest responsibility for what happened at Louisville is rather troubling. Your program messed up big time. Stop dithering around and own it. The buck stops with the head coach.

Report: Louisville basketball imposing postseason ban over escort scandal

Rick Pitino

The Louisville Cardinals basketball team has self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-2016 season, according to a report.

Sources told the Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal that the team was told of the decision on Friday.

Unlike some postseason bans, this one actually matters. Louisville was almost certainly bound for the NCAA Tournament, with an 18-4 record and sitting second in the ACC. It’s a particularly cruel blow for graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, who transferred to Louisville with the hope of reaching the tournament for the first time in their college careers.

All of this stems from the allegations that someone involved with the basketball program paid a madam and escorts thousands of dollars in exchange for sex with players and recruits. Coach Rick Pitino has steadfastly maintained that he had no knowledge of any illicit activities, but even if he didn’t, that doesn’t seem as though it’s going to save his program from the NCAA’s hammer if they’re found to have done wrong – and a self-imposed postseason ban would seem to indicate that they have.

Rick Pitino goes off about Louisville scandal in press conference

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino went off during a pregame news conference about the Louisville escort scandal and the media, and it was a doozy.

Pitino hadn’t done a pregame press conference for several weeks, and was criticized for skipping media availability after the team’s loss to Kentucky. Friday’s presser started with a fairly innocuous question asking whether he’d flipped off the fans or not, and it turned into an explanation as to why he skipped the press conferences surrounding the Kentucky game, then a diatribe about the Louisville scandal and the coverage of it.

“I did not,” Pitino said to answer the question, via WDRB. “It wasn’t fans, per se, I was in the tunnel, and it’s really not important. And I’ll say this to you guys, you guys think it’s important, and I respect if you say I should show up for a press conference and you write it, that’s not what I’m pissed off at you about.

“I wasn’t doing the press conference because it’s a very emotional game for me. When we go into a press conference in a neighborhood like that, I don’t want to hear about the scandal, OK? I don’t want to hear about that. That has bothered me every single night.”

Pitino turned his fire toward a local journalist, WDRB’s Rick Bozich, and took issue with his reporting. He also took issue with ESPN and other organizations giving the mistress at the center of the alleged scandal, Katina Powell, a platform to tell the story.

“What bothers me about you is you say, I know everybody’s body fat, you must know about this (events in the dorm). That pisses me off, beyond your wildest dreams. Because that took place in Billy Minardi Hall, and we didn’t get one recruit. Somebody criminally came onto our campus. I’m pissed off at ESPN for even giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes — now I didn’t read the book, you guys read the book, so I only know what people tell me — but if there are crimes being committed, why is the NCAA or ESPN giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes, now I don’t know if there are crimes being committed.”

Pitino also took aim at Powell’s claim that she kept a journal over four years detailing the events at Louisville, again pressing ESPN and other organizations for not pressing her on it.

“Correct me if I’m wrong on this,” Pitino said. “The statement was made, ‘You mean to tell me this person kept a four-year log of everything that was going on? Wrote a journal about this?’ No, no, we wrote it. She can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book. That was said. Is that the way it was said? So you mean to tell me a book was written, a four-year record was kept? There was no four-year record. You’ve got to be kidding me. So nobody goes after, ESPN doesn’t go after, are you telling the truth? Did you keep a four year journal? Did you write it? Or was it written just to get this book out because the excerpts were going to be given to The Courier-Journal or The Courier-Journal was going to get hold of it?”

Pitino divulged that the NCAA had not yet spoken to him as part of their investigation, but once again asserted that he knew nothing about what was happening – which Powell has disputed – and that he would have taken immediate action if he did know.

“I guarantee you if anybody knew about it, and it got back to me, all hell,” Pitino said. “And I really feel the same way about my assistant coaches, the same way about them. I think they’re an extension of me. I think if they would have known anything, all held would have broken loose. So in 2016, this will be the last time I ever mention it. But I am getting it off my chest now, because I want to say it one time. And I really don’t care about what anybody thinks, why I don’t show up at a press conference, I couldn’t care less.”

Pitino closed by admitting that someone involved with the program – almost certainly former assistant Andre McGee – had acted inappropriately and “wronged” the university.

“I believe in the way we do things, and I believe we have been wronged. We have been wronged. Now, did one person do some scurrilous things? I believe so. From what I know now, I believe so. The only thing I don’t know, I don’t know why he did it. I just, for the life of me, can’t figure out — he knew better, he was taught better, by his parents and by me.”

Pitino said that he won’t be speaking about the scandal again in 2016, but he has made his feelings quite clear about Powell, McGee, his role in the alleged scandal, and the media coverage of it.

Katina Powell says NCAA ‘didn’t want to talk’ when informed of Louisville allegations (Video)

katina-powell

Katina Powell, the madam at the center of the Louisville sex scandal allegations, admitted during a TV appearance Friday that she wrote her tell-all book for financial reasons, but went to the NCAA first and they did nothing.

Powell appeared on ABC’s The View Friday with her daughters and was quizzed about why she chose to step forward now with the allegations that she had supplied women to dance for and have sex with Louisville players and recruits.

“First off, I called the NCAA, and I tried to tell them my story,” Powell said. “I was asking them what should I do? Who should I go to and who could I talk to, but they wouldn’t give me any assistance. They didn’t want to talk, they didn’t want to hear about a college basketball team, so I decided to Google a publishing company and write a book.”

“It seemed like no one would listen to me,” she continued. “You know, it’s college basketball. Nobody wants to hear any of that. I had no choice. I went on and wrote a book.”

Powell was then asked if something happened or someone acted in a way that would make her step forward.

“To sell a book,” she said, clarifying that she kept journals of what was happening for her own protection.

Powell also reasserted previous allegations that parents were involved as well as players.

Powell has previously stated that she believes Louisville coach Rick Pitino must have known about what was taking place, but the allegation that she tried to inform the NCAA before going public with her story is a new one.

Katina Powell thinks Rick Pitino knew about sex parties

Katina PowellOne of the biggest questions about the Louisville Cardinals sex scandal is whether Rick Pitino had any knowledge of the sex parties.

Pitino denies having any knowledge of the sex parties former staffer Andre McGee arranged through madam Katina Powell. The details of the parties became public thanks to a book published by Powell. Pitino has even tried to pass the buck onto McGee and wants the current UMKC coach to “tell the truth” about the parties aka take all the blame.

McGee supposedly was arranging the sex parties — many of which occurred in a dorm — for recruits and their family members, as well as members of the Cardinals program. Between what was going on and what McGee told her, Powell believes the head coach knew what was going on.

From ESPN’s story on the subject:

Powell said she asked McGee whether Pitino knew about the parties: “I said, ‘Does Pitino know about this?’ And he said, ‘He’s Rick. He knows about everything.'”

While Powell said she has no firsthand knowledge that Pitino knew about the parties, she finds it hard to believe he wouldn’t have: “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 … “

The natural reaction from Louisville fans would be to criticize Powell’s character like McGee’s lawyer did, but she does have a point.

While I can’t believe Pitino would condone one of his staff members paying for players and recruits to have sex with strippers, I can believe he would give staffers handling recruits the autonomy to “do whatever it takes” to land top recruits. Some coaches choose to bury their heads in the sand and look the other way, preferring not to know exactly what was done to lock up some recruits. If that were the case, Pitino would be guilty of negligence, which could qualify as a lack of institutional control in the eyes of the NCAA.