The University of Louisville says it is investigating allegations in a forthcoming book that a former men’s basketball team staff member arranged for escorts to dance and have sex with players and recruits.
An advance copy of the book, called “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” was obtained by Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. It was co-authored by Katina Powell of Louisville, a self-described madam who says she provided the escorts to the team.
According to Yahoo, Powell says in the book that former director of basketball operations Andre McGee was the point man for payments for the services.
In the book, Powell says the women were sometimes brought into the players’ dormitory, Billy Minardi Hall, to entertain players. She alleges this went on between 2010 and 2014, before McGee left for another job. U of L won the men’s basketball national championship in 2013.
According to Forde’s report:
The book alleges that over a four-year period, Powell brought women into Billy Minardi Hall – the basketball dormitory on the Louisville campus that is named after Pitino’s late brother-in-law – through a side door to entertain players and recruits. Powell also says her dancers – which included her daughters – also entertained Louisville players at other locations off-campus. After the women danced for the players for an agreed-upon sum, Powell alleges that she would negotiate a second payment for the women to have sex with the athletes.
U of L officials say they first learned of the allegation in August, and that they’re conducting an internal investigation. According to a statement issued Friday afternoon, the university has also notified the NCAA of the allegations.
“The University of Louisville will continue its review in full cooperation and coordination with the NCAA and if warranted, take any appropriate action,” the statement said. “The allegations have been taken very seriously. In no way would anyone at this institution condone the alleged activities.”
Update: Pitino and Jurich press conference
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/150991922″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Cards coach Rick Pitino told reporters he learned of the claims about a month ago and started his own informal investigation.
“I questioned everybody, if anybody has even a little knowledge or hearsay or seen anybody. And everybody, to the person, over 15 people, said they had no knowledge of anything, never seen anything.”
Pitino says his heart is broken by the allegations.
“I don’t believe in any form of cheating to get an advantage with a recruit or yelling at an official or anything like that. I’m totally against it, so it has really gotten to me.”
U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich said he learned of the allegations in late August and immediately notified the NCAA. He said he doesn’t know if there’s any substance to the claims.
“I do not know enough but I can tell you I take everything serious,” Jurich said. “This is a program that I’m extremely proud of, I’m extremely loyal to. I love my university, and we’re going to do all of our due diligence. Because if we did anything wrong, we will ante up.”