The University of Louisville men’s basketball team is at the center of a firestorm over allegations that a former team staffer paid for escorts for recruits and players.
The allegations, made by Louisville resident Katina Powell, have become a main topic of conversation for the sports media, not to mention sports fans in Louisville — and students of the university.
On Wednesday, WFPL News spoke to U of L students about the scandal.
Here’s what some of them had to say.
“I was a bit shocked. I didn’t expect that a university like this, that has such a notorious basketball program, would be caught with that kind of scandal. Just with the past sex scandals with Pitino in the past, it didn’t come as a huge shocker that something like this could happen again. But it was a little surprising that it was actually happening on campus with students.”
-Hannah Jenkins, junior
“If Rick Pitino didn’t know about it then we don’t believe that it happened, and I stand by that. If it comes out that it was true — it comes out that only a couple of people ruined it for the whole team — I’m not going to blame that on everybody else that’s here now, because of how long ago it happened.”
-Nicolas Ferrera, freshman
“I feel like the athletic department should be held responsible because if she (Powell) did do it, somebody had to actually issue those funds for him (Andre McGee, the team staffer). So, somebody knew about it and somebody should have said, ‘Hey, probably not a smart idea, McGee.'”
-Andrea Wilson, sophomore
“There have been tons of scandals in sports, anyway. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true. But unless you can prove it, you can’t say it’s true.”
-Mikell Reyes, freshman
The allegations were made earlier this month in the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” by Katina Powell. She said Andre McGee, then U of L director of basketball operations, paid her to gathered women, including two of her daughters, to dance and strip naked and to have sex with recruits and players between 2010 to 2014. The encounters allegedly happened in the dorm for U of L basketball players.
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that five former players and recruits confirmed elements of Powell’s story; one recruit told ESPN that he had sex with one of the women, and that McGee paid for it.
The ESPN report led to calls for Louisville Coach Rick Pitino to resign, though he has said he will stay with the program. Pitino has said he doesn’t know if the allegations are true, but he has denied any involvement.