By Dalton Ray–
One year ago, Katina Powell published her book exposing U of L and Andre McGee for allegedly providing sex acts and adult entertainment to Louisville men’s basketball recruits and players. After a year of investigating, the NCAA found four major violations: McGee provided extra benefits to recruits and student-athletes, McGee failed to cooperate with the NCAA, former basketball assistant Brandon Williams failed to cooperate with the NCAA and Rick Pitino failed to monitor his staff.
U of L fans have to face the music: McGee paid for strippers and prostitutes to dance and have sex with recruits and players.
Yes, your beloved school committed one of the most unethical acts an athletic department could do. While it wasn’t the entire staff or spread across multiple sports, a representative and alumni of Louisville was pulling the strings.
When this broke, fans naturally cried foul and denied all accusations. Powell was a liar and just out for money, which she admitted to. “This type of thing could never happen at Louisville, we’re a clean university and follow everything by the books,” was the mantra U of L fans stuck to.
As time passed, Powell’s story began to make sense. While all of the details she provided weren’t fully true, the gist was.
When Kenny Klein, Neville Pinto, Tom Jurich, Pitino, Steve Thomas and Chuck Smrt held their news conference regarding the NOA, Jurich echoed Pinto and admitted to the wrongdoing in Minardi Hall.
“The NCAA confirmed the sad truth that we learned earlier this year. Improper activities took place in a dormitory and I am saddened and disappointed that this happened,” Jurich said.
An emotional Pitino explained why this hurt him so much. These actions, cooked up by both McGee and Powell, took place in a building he raised money to build and named after his best friend Billy Minardi, who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Jurich and company said they would challenge only one NCAA allegation.
“We feel very strongly that Coach Pitino had nothing to do with this, had no knowledge of this, and believe us, we’ve scoured it and there is no question in my mind that he couldn’t have known anything about this. So we will dispute that the whole way through,” Jurich said.
There isn’t a much more cut-and-dry way to put it: Powell was right in her accusations of the men’s basketball program.
The drama with this whole situation isn’t over yet. U of L still has to meet with the Committee on Infractions in the spring.
To the U of L fans saying former President James Ramsey self-imposing the sancations in the spring was overkill, you’re wrong. Smrt, Jurich, Ramsey and their team found out what was going on and jumped in front of the situation.
Imagine if the NCAA caught wind of U of L trying to brush this siutation under the rug and not say anything. The NCAA would have come down on Louisville with a much heavier penalty in this NOA.
While every U of L fan is bad-mouthing McGee, they need to thank him and his attorney, Scott C. Cox.
McGee, wisely, hasn’t said anything on record during this entire mess. Pleading the fifth, essentially. If McGee begins to talk, the rabbit hole gets deeper. The NCAA finds out it wasn’t just a one-man-show and McGee wasn’t acting alone. Then the heavy penalties begin.
The biggest sigh of relief for U of L in the NOA is there wasn’t an allegation of lack of institutional control. Because the story starts and stops at one man, the NCAA can’t come down with a heavy fist of justice. McGee is taking the brunt of this, no matter what anyone says.
Louisville lost a postseason, recruiting time, scholarships and gained a black-eye that will heal once the wins come rolling in. U of L will get over this in no time. If you don’t believe me, just ask Bobby Petrino what winning can do.
McGee, on the other hand, has to face this every day of his life. Not only can he never coach at this level again, getting any job becomes harder because of who he is. McGee faces a much steeper hill the climb to overcome this than U of L.
On paper, this comes off as one individual calling the shots and keeping it away from the higher beings. It would be foolish to think McGee ran this alone. Louisville is lucky both McGee and Williams refused to talk to the NCAA.
One thing is for sure, Louisville fans shouldn’t feel happy about this NOA. This is a stain that will take years to wash out.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal