At least five former players and recruits from the Louisville basketball team have admitted to attending on-campus parties where dancers, who stripped naked, and sex were provided.
Five former Cardinals players revealed they had attended parties that included strippers, provided to them by former Louisville player and graduate assistant Andre McGee, in an exclusive interview for ESPN’s Outside The Lines. One of the players said he had sex with one of the strippers after McGee paid her for her services.
“I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club,” one of the recruits, who decided to play elsewhere, admitted.
The interview comes after former escort Katina Powell, 42, published a book earlier this month called Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen. In the book, she details nearly two dozen stripping and sex parties that took place from 2010 to 2014 inside Billy Minardi Hall. Powell said McGee planned the parties and then paid her $10,000 for providing dancers during the time period. She said McGee also paid her for “side deals,” which included sex for some of the recruits, as well as guardians who accompanied the recruits on their visits and some of the Louisville basketball players.
BREAKING: Former Louisville basketball recruits tell OTL they attended parties on campus, including strippers, sex. pic.twitter.com/ZfqC0tVFbW
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 20, 2015
McGee, who left Louisville in 2014 and is currently an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, would allegedly supply the recruits with one-dollar bills to tip the dancers and paid for them to have sex in a different room. One recruit said McGee “would give us the money, just the recruits. 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.”
Powell, who hired her three daughters as escorts, said she recalls Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell being among the players involved, according to Bleacher Report. However, Harrell said he knows nothing about it and denies the accusations.
“I don’t know anything about it. I didn’t too much stay at the dorm. I stayed off campus. I had a girlfriend off campus… It was pretty shocking that took place, if it did. I’m right there with Coach [Rick Pitino], as shocked as he is.”
OTL: Former Louisville Cardinals basketball players, recruits acknowledge stripper parties at Minardi Hall https://t.co/UEVtpTjUfQ
— P. Stiegman (@pstiegman) October 20, 2015
When the news of the book broke, Pitino questioned 12 former assistants who worked at the University of Louisville between the 2010-14 period mentioned in the book. He also spoke with several video and support staffers as well as former Louisville forward Kyle Kuric, who was contacted about the book.
“When this first broke a month ago, I questioned everybody if anybody has even a little knowledge or hearsay or seen anybody, and everybody, to the person, 15 people, said they had no knowledge of anything, never seen anything,” Pitino said.
On Friday, the Hall of Fame coach issued a statement, shooting down the allegations that he was denying everything that was said in the book.
“I didn’t say that. I’m heartbroken that this, under my watch, could even — anything like this could have happened. How can over 20 people be involved? Look, we’re heavily involved in this program. We’re in here at 6, 6:15 in the morning, and we go late at night… Not one of us has ever heard anything of being out with the wrong people, so that bothers me. I can’t say what’s true and not true, because we’re investigating.”
On Tuesday, the University of Louisville issued a separate statement regarding the allegations about their basketball program.
“To preserve the integrity of the review process, the university will withhold comment on any details until the review is concluded,” the statement read.
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