NCAA investigating Louisville over sex claims in escort’s book

The Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team is being investigated by the NCAA over allegations in a forthcoming book that a team staffer hired an escort to provide sex to recruits.
Publish date:

The NCAA is investigating potential recruiting violations within the Louisville basketball program tied to explosive allegations made by a Louisville-based escort in a soon-to-be-released book. SI has learned the NCAA is reaching out to multiple recruits who took visits to Louisville in the past few years to ask them about their experiences with women during those visits.

The Indianapolis Business Journalannounced on Friday that its publishing division is set to release a book, potentially as soon as this weekend, detailing how a former Louisville basketball staff member paid an escort service thousands of dollars to provide sex with recruits.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich did not deny the allegations in a hastily arranged press conference on Friday afternoon. “To say I’m shocked is an understatement,” Pitino said.

MORE:Five burning questions as college basketball practices begin

The NCAA was notified of the allegations nearly a month ago and is reaching out to multiple former Louisville recruits. That includes LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, a former verbal commitment to Louisville, who the NCAA has recently spoken with. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva declined comment when reached on Friday: “I’m not saying a word,” Alleva said.

Jurich said Louisville has involved the NCAA at every step and called the school an “open book.” He added: “If we did anything wrong, we will ante up.”

Larry Brown lucky to keep job after NCAA comes down hard on SMU

Former Louisville player, graduate assistant coach and director of basketball operations Andre McGee, who left Louisville in April of 2014 to join the University of Missouri-Kansas City staff, is at the center of the book, which is titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen. It is co-written by Katina Powell, 43, a Louisville-based escort, and Dick Cady, a former Indianapolis Star investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner.

The book tells the story of Powell and details how she and other women, including three of her daughters, stripped, danced and performed sex acts in front of Louisville players, recruits and, as the press release states, “sometimes even their fathers.” According to Yahoo Sports, which obtained a copy of the book, she alleges to have received more than $10,000.

Cady was hired by IBJ Book Publishing to dig up details and co-write the book with Powell. The information from the book comes from Powell’s journal entries and thousands of text messages. Powell, who brought the story to the IBJ, admitted to the Journal that she’s writing the book to make money. She’s set to receive “10% of the commission of the gross, not net,” according to the release.

According to Yahoo, she says in the book: “I felt like I was part of the recruitment team. A lot of them players went to Louisville because of me.”

McGee was placed on administrative leave by UMKC Friday night. McGee’s lawyer, Scott Cox, told The Courier-Journal of Louisville: “She’s a whore. She’s only interested in making money.”

MORE: Is the era of abusive college coaches finally coming to an end?

The IBJ release on Friday makes no mention of the scope of the involvement of Pitino.

The allegations come on a campus where sexually charged scandals have become familiar. A woman Pitino had a sexual encounter with at a restaurant was convicted of extortion in 2010 for trying to obtain cash and gifts to keep the encounter secret. Jurich also hired football coach Bobby Petrino in 2014 after Petrino got fired from Arkansas for a “pattern of misleading behavior” when he got in a motorcycle accident with a woman who was his mistress he’d hired on the Razorbacks staff.

Now Louisville finds itself in the odd position of waiting for the next flurry of accusations to go public. “To say I'm disheartened and disappointed,” Pitino said, “would probably be the biggest understatement I’ve made since I’ve been a coach.”