Five Former Louisville Players Say Strippers Were Used to Recruit Them

Louisville, Rick Pitino

Five Former Louisville Players Say Strippers Were Used to Recruit Them

Escort tells ESPN she has proof of the wild sex parties.

Published October 20, 2015

The integrity of Louisville's basketball program and coach Rick Pitino are under fire.

Five ex-University of Louisville basketball players and recruits told ESPN's Outside the Lines that they attended parties on the school campus's dorm that included strippers paid for by the Cardinals' former graduate assistant coach Andre McGee from 2010 to 2014.

One former player claims to have had sex with a stripper that McGee paid, while three of the five players say they attended these wild parties both as recruits and while they played for the Cardinals.

"I knew they weren't college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club," one recruit, who ultimately signed elsewhere, told ESPN.

What's more damaging is the book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, published earlier this month by former escort Katina Powell. The book details nearly 24 sex parties with strippers with Louisville's basketball team on its campus from 2010 to 2014.

While Pitino told ESPN on Tuesday morning that he couldn't comment on the situation, he did tell the Louisville Courier-Journal that he was "devastated" and "disappointed" by the early reports and accusations that he might have known about these parties.

Pitino's son, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, told ESPN, though, that, "I can say 100 percent sure, with zero doubt, that [my father] knew nothing about any of these alleged incidents."

Still, Powell isn't buying that Pitino didn't know about these sex parties and that they were used to convince escorts to sign with the school.

"Four years, a boatload of recruits, a boatload of dancers, loud music, alcohol, security, cameras, basketball players who came in [to the dorm] at will ..." she told ESPN.

She also presents mounds of evidence, including text messages, phone records and journals.

"I couldn't make this up if I wanted to," Powell told Outside the Lines, adding that McGee spoke to her about getting recruits in a position to sign with the program. "I have no reason, or have the need, to lie on anyone. Everything I'm saying is 100 percent the truth."

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(Photo: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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