Scandal: L-ville, Pitino under investigation

RYAN HERRING, Sports Columnist

Oh how times have changed for the University of Louisville. A little over two years ago they were on top of the world, celebrating the school’s third NCAA Basketball National Championship. Now, they are under investigation for one of the biggest NCAA scandals ever. Things just keep getting worse and worse for the team. What started as a flame has become a wildfire.

The essence of the scandal is the Louisville basketball program providing their players/recruits with “shows” and “sex parties.”  These “shows” consisted of strippers and some partaking in sexual activity. Nonetheless, it was, essentially, an exclusive strip club for these kids. Obviously, morally wrong on so many levels. But who was all involved? And what happens next?

The main escort involved was 42-year-old Katrina Powell, who just came out with her new tell-all book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” Katrina claims that she was paid around $10,000 for arranging these strippers and sex parties for Louisville. She also admits to permitting her own daughters to have sex with players for money.

The time frame for all of this was between 2010-2014, including about 24 different occasions. Powell told “Outside the Lines” reports that “she knew this day would come,” which is why she had been saving phone records and text messages while also keeping a detailed journal the last few years. She has “full-on proof” to support claims, and has recently been backed up by previous Louisville recruits/players, leaving Louisville in tight corner.

The main culprit on Louisville’s part was Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee (also former Cardinal player and grad assistant). He was the one who had direct contact with Powell and was responsible for lining up these parties. Head coach Rick Pitino denies any knowledge of the situation and is acting oblivious to the matter.

“I don’t know if any of this is true or not,” said Pitino to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil by phone on Tuesday. “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.”

Seema a little fishy if you ask me. You’re telling me that, as head coach, you had no idea all this was going on under your nose for years? And even if he didn’t know what was going on, it was still one of his staff members he hired. He is the one in charge of the program, so when a fiasco like this arises some of the blame has to fall on his shoulders.

What lies ahead is uncertain. Louisville could face postseason bans or loss of scholarships. Pitino finds himself on the hot seat even though Louisville’s Athletic Director, Tom Jurich, is in his corner. Investigations by the NCAA and the university are still going on in the hopes of getting to the bottom of this.