Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino has again asserted that he will not resign in the wake of allegations that a former team staffer paid for escorts for players and recruits.
In a blog post published Thursday and billed as a season preview, Pitino apologized to fans for having to endure the brewing scandal.
But he said he won’t leave the program.
“I will not resign and let you down,” said Pitino, who has led the Cardinals program since 2001. “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.”
Sports commentators in Kentucky and nationally called for Pitino to resign this week following the publication and broadcast of an expansive ESPN report on the allegations. ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that five former Cardinals players and recruits, all unnamed, had confirmed elements of the allegations made by Louisville resident Katina Powell.
Powell has alleged that Andre McGee, then U of L’s director of basketball operations, paid her to provide escorts to strip naked and have sex with Cardinals players and recruits. Powell alleged that about two dozen parties were held with the escorts at U of L’s campus dorm for basketball players.
McGee was being paid $105,000 a year when he left U of L in 2014, the university confirmed this week.
ESPN reported that one recruit said he had sex with one of the women, and that McGee paid for it. The allegations were first made earlier this month in the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”
Pitino said at the time that he had no intentions of resigning. He has also said that he doesn’t know if the allegations are true and has denied any involvement. The university has launched an investigation into the allegations.
On Thursday, Pitino concluded his blog post by saying, “The Pope on his recent visit was asked many controversial questions. He would often answer, ‘We will let God judge.’ There can be no better advice regardless of what religion you are than his words. Let’s not try to justify, but let the Lord judge!!”