Five former Louisville players and recruits confirmed allegations that a former member of the basketball staff paid for escorts to dance at parties they attended, ESPN reports, and one former player told ESPN he had sex with a dancer after the staff member paid her.
The report comes as four investigations look into allegations that appear in a book written by Katina Powell titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen. Powell, who says she is a former escort, writes in the book that she was paid $10,000 by former Louisville director of basketball operations Andre McGee to provide escorts to dance and have sex with recruits and players between 2010 and 2014.
The former players and recruits who spoke with ESPN’s Outside the Lines said they attended parties at which escorts were present during that time period, and that McGee gave them money to tip the dancers and to pay for them to have sex.
“[McGee] would give us the money, just the recruits,” one former player told ESPN. “A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one [of the dancers] they wanted.”
Another former player said earlier this month that escorts came to the Louisville dorm, but said that they only danced for the men. Ohio State freshman and former Louisville recruit JaQuan Lyle reportedly told the NCAA that the escorts were hired to both dance and have sex with players and recruits.
Powell, who also spoke with Outside the Lines, said that McGee also paid for escorts to have sex with recruits, their guardians and some Louisville players.
Head coach Rick Pitino has said that McGee, who now coaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has been placed on paid leave, denied the allegations. Pitino has also denied any involvement in or knowledge of the situation.
Former recruit Terry Rozier, who Powell wrote is one of several recruits to have sex with an escort during a visit to Louisville, also said he believed Pitino was not aware of the parties.
“Coach P [Pitino], as far as the dorm situations and visits, he’d go out to eat with the recruits and their parents,” Rozier said. “As far as after that, he wouldn’t know. ... I can say his nose is clean.”
SI's Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans reported earlier this month that the NCAA was reaching out to multiple recruits from the period to ask about the allegations.
Pitino spoke with ESPN’s Dana O’Neil and Yahoo’s Pat Forde about the allegations Monday.
“I don’t know if any of this is true or not,” Pitino said, according to ESPN. “There’s only one person who knows the truth and he needs to come out and tell the truth to his teammates, to the University of Louisville, to his fans and to his coaches that have taught him to do the right thing for years and allowed him to be part of something special here. He’s the only one with any answers.”
- Erin Flynn