Where Louisville basketball stands against Katina Powell

By on October 6, 2015

It has been three full days since allegations broke about Louisville basketball using strippers and escorts to lure in recruits.

In that time, no disgruntled former recruit or sickened parent has come forward to confirm these claims. No former player has spoken out to provide evidence to validate Katina Powell’s book “Breaking the Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”

On Friday afternoon, Head Coach Rick Pitino said, “The truth will set you free.”

With the truth yet to be completely uncovered, speculation still remains.

While Louisville stayed diligently silent over the past few days, more of Powell’s perspective leaked.

During a September interview with a reporter for the Indianapolis Business Journal, Powell said Pitino knew about the escort services during the four-year span of service.

Pitino spoke with ESPN on Monday and denied any knowledge of Powell’s claim.

“Not one person knew anything about this,” Pitino said. “If anyone did, it would have been stopped on a dime.”

The initial damage has already been done. The 2015-16 season will be marred by this scandal, but what will become of the four-year span when the alleged services occurred?

A Final Four and National Championship banner currently hang in the rafters, but if enough of Powell’s book is proven to be true, these could eventually be pulled down.

A few of the holes in Powell’s evidence need to be sewn up first. The NCAA won’t pull down banners and put programs on suspension on hearsay.

Powell’s testimony holds little weight in the NCAA’s eyes based around the fact that she is a woman who sold her body, bought illicit drugs for her children as youth and then nurtured her daughters into prostitution—one of them being underage when she started.

The book may stir up an investigation, but little of it will be used against Louisville by the NCAA.

Her log book of appointments that supposedly spans over a few weeks appears to be written all at once. Unless the screenshots of texts messages with Andre McGee can be pulled from his phone, they hold little value as well.

One of Powell’s chapters entails services performed with five-star recruit Antonio Blakeney. When Blakeney committed to Louisville in September 2014, McGee had been away from the program for six months. He accepted an assistant coaching position at University of Missouri-Kansas City in April 2014.

Following the narrative of the book and the McGee’s career timeline, she is claiming that he continued working for Louisville six months after he left the program.

So, any condemning evidence will need to come forth from former players, recruits or coaches. To this point, no one has said anything that can tear apart four successful years for Louisville basketball.

Though all may be quiet at Second and Main, there are still repercussions that come along with the book.

Duke lacrosse faced a criminal case from a false accusation of rape made against three members of their team in 2006. Under the allegations, the head coach was forced to resign and the remainder of the 2006 season was canceled.

A year later, the charges were dropped and the lead prosecutor, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred.

But the damage from the accused rape had already affected the three men and the Duke lacrosse program.

A stain will continue to blemish the Duke lacrosse program even though all charges were dropped and the three players were declared innocent.

Flash forward to last February when Louisville point guard Chris Jones was falsely accused of rape. The senior was kicked off the team and missed his final opportunity to show case his skills in front of NBA scouts against elite competition.

Jones missed out on what would have been the prime moment of his basketball career as Louisville advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.

So whether Powell’s book is entirely true or false, she has already done plenty of damage to Louisville’s once proud basketball program.

The national title could be forfeited or all of this could blow over, but regardless, the impact of Powell has reached its capacity.

The remaining part of the investigation will be based around the NCAA and U of L’s resolute search for the truth. Someone will come forward with the truth, and it will either harm or help the program.

Even though the book is currently being sold in the non-fiction section, there is no guarantee that it will remain there as the investigation continues.

The truth will set Louisville basketball free, but for now, players and coaches will patiently wait.


About Sam Draut

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