By Dalton Ray–
The NCAA found four violations against U of L during their year-long investigation of the men’s basketball program.
The probe began when self-proclaimed escort Katina Powell released her book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” She accused McGee of paying thousands of dollars for escorts to have sex with and dance for recruits and players.
The three individuals listed in the violations are McGee, head coach Rick Pitino and former assistant Brandon Williams.
According to the findings, from at least December 2010 to July 2014, “McGee knowingly offered or provided at least $5,400 in impermissible inducements and/or extra benefits in the form of cash, adult entertainment and sex acts in Billy Minardi Hall to at least 17 then men’s basketball prospective and/or current student-athletes, two then nonscholastic men’s basketball coaches and one then men’s basketball prospective student-athlete’s friend.”
In February and June of 2016, McGee refused to participate in any interviews or provide records after being requested to during the institution and enforcement staff’s investigation of the NCAA violations.
McGee “violated the principles of ethical conduct when he was knowingly involved in offering or providing then prospective and/or enrolled student-athletes impermissible inducements and/or extra benefits and failed to satisfy his responsibility to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff by refusing to furnish information relevant to an investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation,” the notice of allegations said.
The investigation found Williams, a coach from 2015-2016, “violated the principles of ethical conduct when he refused to furnish information relevant to an investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation. Specifically, Williams refused to provide telephone records after the institution and NCAA enforcement staff requested him to do so during the institution and enforcement staff’s investigation of NCAA violations.”
Finally, Pitino is charged with failure to monitor his program. “Pitino did not demonstrate that he monitored McGee, in that he failed to frequently spot-check the program to uncover potential or existing compliance problems, including actively looking for and evaluating red flags, asking pointed questions and regularly soliciting honest feedback to determine if monitoring systems were functioning properly regarding McGee’s activities and interactions with then men’s basketball prospective and current student-athletes visiting and attending the institution.”
The university is reviewing the allegations and has 90 days to respond to the notice. U of L will meet with the committee on infractions in the spring.
Acting President Neville Pinto and Athletic Director Tom Jurich released a joint statement about the findings:
“It is important to note what is not being alleged. The NOA does not contain an allegation that Coach Pitino had knowledge of what took place in the dormitory. The NCAA does not allege a ‘lack of institutional control’ at Louisville, a very severe allegation.
“The NCAA does not allege that there was a ‘failure to monitor’ against the institution, also a severe allegation. The NCAA does not allege that Coach Pitino failed to ‘promote an atmosphere of compliance’, a serious allegation. The NOA does contain a narrower allegation – which we will dispute – that Coach Pitino failed to demonstrate that he monitored Mr. McGee.”
The two added, “We believe that Mr. McGee acted furtively and note that the NOA does not indicate that any other university employee besides Mr. McGee had knowledge of these activities. We are confident in Coach Pitino and we know he is and always has been committed to NCAA compliance.”
Any additional penalties against the program, if any, won’t be announced until the end of the hearing with the committee on infractions next spring. Louisville has the right to appeal any punishments by the committee. Due to the self-imposed sanctions and compliance with the NCAA, the university seems to have escaped any big punishment for now.
Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal