Louisville said Friday it has launched an investigation into allegations that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee paid an escort service to provide sex for recruits.
The allegations by Katina Powell are in an upcoming book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” from a publishing arm of the Indianapolis Business Journal. Some details of the book were published on the Journal’s web site, and said that McGee hired Powell to provide strippers and prostitutes for recruits and some of their fathers during a four-year period.
Louisville issued a statement saying it learned of the allegations in August and immediately notified the NCAA. McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City. The school did not immediately comment Friday evening.
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said the situation caused sleeplessness when he first found out and said that he tried to conduct his own investigation before being rebuffed by the school’s compliance office.
He said McGee denied the allegations in a brief conversation.
Louisville retained Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group, which assists schools in NCAA cases, to review the claims.
“We’re an open book. We want to get to the bottom of it,” said Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich.
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.
McGee played for Louisville from 2005-09 and started 57 games during his career. He played professionally in Europe before becoming a program assistant in 2010 and was promoted to director of basketball operations in 2012.
Both Jurich and Pitino said they believe that money was the woman’s motivation for writing the book. Powell was paid for the book, but said in an interview with the Journal that she felt it was important to tell the story. The publishing company said it paid investigators and Pultizer-Prize winning reporter Dick Cady to vet Powell’s story, and based much of it on journal entries, photos and text messages.
The allegations come on the eve of Louisville’s first Red-White scrimmage. The Cardinals reached the NCAA West Region final last season.