Raunchy Recruiting

Randy Ollie, Sports Editor

With a new college basketball season just around the corner, this coming winter looks like it’s going to be filled with the drama, controversy and entertainment that has traditionally gone hand in hand with Division-I college basketball.

In October, basketball fans got a small preview of what looks to be another rollercoaster ride of a season with the release of self-proclaimed escort Katina Powell’s tell-all book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen. If you haven’t gotten around to reading it, it’s full of accusations that former University of Louisville basketball graduate assistant Andre McGee arranged on-campus sex and stripping parties for players and recruits. Five former players have already come forward attesting that they did indeed attend such parties at Louisville, paid for and organized by McGee. The Ohio State University freshman JaQuan Lyle additionally confirmed to the NCAA that the allegations are true, recalling his recruiting visit to Louisville in June of 2013.

The probability of McGee’s innocence becomes more and more slim as facts continue to emerge. So far, over a dozen women and basketball players have confirmed that these raunchy parties took place at Louisville’s Billy Minardi Hall, and Powell’s book lists 22 exact dates that these get-togethers took place, with alleged names and photos of those in attendance.

McGee recently resigned from his assistant coaching post at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, citing that he would be unable to do his job amid these false allegations. However, innocent people typically wish to publicly declaim false accusations, not quit their jobs and duck the media. Additionally McGee’s resignation means that he is no longer a part of college athletics, and thus, he has no legal obligation to cooperate with any future NCAA investigation.

Most recently, Powell’s book has sparked a growing lawsuit. At least five women are suing Powell for defamation due to her use of their names and photos without consent, as well as for implying that they sold sex for money at the parties. Interestingly, half of the plaintiffs admit to attending and dancing at some of the parties, knowing full well that there would be Louisville players and recruits in attendance. While none of them have admitted to exchanging sex for money or even acknowledged that such transactions took place, it’s undeniable that these parties were more than just dancing and innocent fun.

In order to avoid litigation, Powell is expected to meet with NCAA investigators next week to turn over documents and evidence that substantiate the claims in her book. This can’t be good for the Louisville basketball program. The team won the NCAA championship in 2013, and history has shown that the NCAA is never kind or necessarily fair to those who break the rules.

Louisville fans are now waiting with bated breath for the NCAA to conclude its investigation, and for the findings to become public. While Head Coach Rick Pitino and other prominent figures with the Louisville athletic program have yet to be implicated, past sexual scandals at Pennsylvania State University and Syracuse University have proven that sometimes controversy runs deeper than one would initially expect.

One thing is for certain: McGee definitely tried to lure recruits to Louisville University as well as keep current and former players happy with stripper parties — which is technically legal. Powell currently holds the fate of Louisville’s basketball season in her hands, with the potential to greatly influence it from the very start, which would be a sad turn of events. Basketball fans across the country are hoping to see Louisville define the fate of their season on the court — not in a NCAA conference room.