Escort: How could Cardinals' Pitino not know of sex parties?

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Former Louisville Recruits Say Employee Paid for Strippers


Escort Katina Powell broke her silence on Tuesday, saying she has no proof that Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino knew that a former Cardinals staffer hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with former recruits and players.

But Powell said in an interview aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" that with "a boatload" of recruits and dancers, "loud music, alcohol, security, cameras" in a campus dormitory, "how could Rick not know?"

In her first interview since the release of her book earlier this month, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," Powell spoke with ESPN's "Outside the Lines," which was aired on the ABC morning show. Powell said that the coach had to be aware of some of 22 shows she alleges that former staffer Andre McGee paid her for that took place in Billy Minardi Hall from 2010-14.

Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities that Powell alleges in her book.

Former Cardinals recruit JaQuan Lyle, now an Ohio State freshman, has confirmed the "gist of allegations" detailed in Powell's book during a meeting earlier this month with the NCAA, CBS Sports reported. OSU confirmed that Lyle spoke with the NCAA.

Powell alleges that McGee, who played for Louisville before becoming a graduate assistant coach and director of men's basketball operations, paid her $10,000 for the 22 shows. The dancers included Powell, her three daughters and other women, according to the book.

"Andre would come to me and tell me what girl the recruit wanted," Powell said Tuesday morning in the broadcast of the ESPN interview, "and I would tell the girl. She would say her price, I would tell him, he would say, 'OK', give me the money. That was just it.

"He would take them into another room, and her and the recruit would do what they did behind closed doors."

McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City. The school placed him on paid administrative leave on Oct. 2 when the allegations surfaced and said it is taking them seriously.

Louisville men's basketball spokesman Kenny Klein said in a text message Tuesday that "to preserve the integrity of the review process, the university will withhold comment on any details until the review is concluded."

Messages left with Powell's attorney, Larry Wilder of Jeffersonville, Indiana, have not been returned. Attempts to reach McGee's Louisville attorney, Scott C. Cox, also have been unsuccessful.

The allegations have created a lingering unease and uncertainty over the Hall of Fame coach's program. Pitino has said neither he nor his assistants knew about the alleged activities described in Powell's book, which was initially released online on Oct. 3 before the hardcover version was released in bookstores on Monday.

At a season tipoff luncheon Oct. 13 with Cardinals fans and supporters, Pitino said he understood the motivation behind Powell's book but questioned the need for those activities in light of the talent his program has produced in recent years.

"From our end of the thing, I don't get the 'why?' It doesn't make sense," Pitino said then, reiterating his adherence to NCAA regulations.

"I know as far as I'm concerned, every coach has had rights and wrongs in their life. But every coach that has sat next to me ... knew what I was about as far as NCAA rules are concerned."

Pitino later said that if the allegations are true, "those responsible will pay the price" and that his program "will get through this the right way."

Powell's allegations have led to four separate investigations, the two most recent coming two weeks ago.

Campus police chief Wayne Hall announced that his department would work with Louisville Metro Police and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to review the allegations for possible criminal charges.

Two days later the University of Louisville Foundation announced the hiring of a law firm to review the allegations. Investigations by the athletic department and the NCAA were launched immediately after the school was notified of the book's allegations in late August.

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Escort: How could Cardinals' Pitino not know of sex parties?
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2015, file photo, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino responds to a question following an NCAA college basketball team's intrasquad scrimmage in Louisville, Ky. Escort Katina Powell says she has no proof that Louisville coach Rick Pitino knew that a former Cardinals staffer hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with former recruits and players. But Powell said Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, on ABCâs âGood Morning Americaâ that with âa boatloadâ of recruits and dancers, âloud music, alcohol, security, camerasâ in a campus dormitory and others aware of the shows, âhow could he not know?â(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino looks on at the action during the second half of this NCAA college basketball team's intrasquad scrimmage, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
University of Louisville assistant coach Ralph Willard, left, watches the action with Louisville head coach Rick Pitino during the first half their team's NCAA mens college intrasquad scrimmage, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015,in Louisville, Ky. Willard is currently on a medical leave of absence. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino speaks during a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Syracuse, N.Y. Louisville plays Michigan State in a regional final on Sunday. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino in action against Northern Iowa in an NCAA tournament college basketball game in the Round of 32 in Seattle, Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino directs his players during practice for an NCAA college basketball tournament second-round game in Seattle, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Louisville is to play UC Irvine on Friday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, talks with Terry Rozier during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 55-53. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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