Louisville investigating if escorts were hired for recruits
A former Louisville staffer brought escorts to dorm parties and paid for the women to strip and have sex with Cardinals recruits, their fathers and players, according to a book by an escort.
The university is investigating the allegations involving former staffer and Louisville player Andre McGee.
The book by Katina Powell, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," was published by an affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal. The 104-page book was available online early Saturday, but some details were published on the Journal's website Friday.
The hardcover version is scheduled for release Oct. 12, but the publisher said Saturday it could be sooner and that Powell is not doing interviews.
The escort said during a four-year period many of the activities took place in the players' dormitory.
Louisville officials say they learned of the allegations in late August and immediately notified the NCAA. McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City, where he was put on paid leave Friday night.
UMKC coach Kareem Richardson, a Louisville assistant from 2012-13, called the matter a "serious concern."
"We all need to allow the process to run its course without interference," he added in a statement Saturday. "In the meantime, our coaches and student-athletes are focused on academics and basketball as the season gets under way."
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said he tried to conduct his own investigation before being rebuffed by the school's compliance office. Pitino said McGee denied the accusations.
"To say I'm disheartened, disappointed, would be probably the biggest understatement I've made since I've been a coach," Pitino said at news conference Friday. "It's mind-boggling to me how all this could go on. I've read that the statement that the publishing company put out and it almost got me sick to my stomach. My emotions right now, my heart is really broken."
The age of consent to have sexual intercourse in Kentucky is 16, though in some instances it could be 18. It is unclear if a criminal investigation has begun.
Louisville Metro police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said she did not know of any investigation by the department, saying it was an issue for campus police.
University police operator Peter Anderson said he was unaware of the allegations, and no staffers were available to comment. Cardinals basketball spokesman Kenny Klein initially notified the compliance office about the matter but said he didn't know if police are involved.
Louisville retained Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group, which assists schools in NCAA cases, to review the allegations.
"Chuck is the quarterback of this entire project," Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said. "Chuck knows he's the most well-respected person, probably, within the NCAA, and the NCAA has been involved every step of the way. We're an open book."
The Journal's summary of the book said that Powell brought women to 22 parties from 2010 to 2014 at Billy Minardi Hall, which houses Cardinals basketball players. The woman said that she and three of her daughters, along with other women, danced and stripped for Louisville recruits and players and performed sex acts with them, according to the book.
The 43-year-old Powell also said McGee offered recruits alcohol at those parties.
In the book, Powell said that McGee initially brought women into the dorm through a side door. The process evolved to the point where the escorts entered and left the building through the front entrance and had become familiar to staff.
Jurich said he didn't know if video surveillance had been reviewed to back up that allegation, calling it "a Chuck Smrt or an NCAA question."
McGee started 57 games at Louisville from 2005-09. He played professionally in Europe before becoming a program assistant in 2010, and he was promoted to director of basketball operations in 2012. McGee could not be reached for comment.
Jurich and Pitino said they believe money was the woman's motivation for writing the book. Powell was paid for it, but said in an interview with the Journal that she believed it was important to tell the story.
The publishing company said it paid investigators and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dick Cady to vet Powell's story, and based much of it on journal entries, photos and text messages.
The allegations were made on the eve of Louisville's first Red-White scrimmage. The Cardinals reached the NCAA East Regional final last season.