January 25, 2017

Rick Pitino and university fight NCAA allegations of ‘failing to monitor staff’

By Dalton Ray–

The University of Louisville and Rick Pitino formally filed a dispute to one of the NCAA’s four allegations handed down in October.

According to documents obtained by The Cardinal, U of L and Pitino’s lawyer, Scott Tompsett, refute the NCAA’s ruling that Pitino failed to monitor his staff. U of L said they believe McGee’s actions could not have been detected.

“Pitino fostered a culture of NCAA compliance within the basketball program and exercised appropriate supervisory over (Andre) McGee,” U of L said in the response. “McGee’s furtive conduct was not detectable by reasonable monitoring practices.”

In the Notice of Allegations, the NCAA found McGee knowingly gave student-athletes impermissible and 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.”

“The enforcement staff has overreached in this case. Pitino should never have been charged,’’ Tompsett said in Pitino’s response.

Also included in Pitino responses was several student-athletes saying there was no way Pitino would have known about Mcgee’s activities.

“Many of the young men who knew about the illicit activities explained that they deliberately did not tell Pitino or his assistant coaches about the strip shows because they knew Pitino would be very upset and would impose serious consequences,” Tompsett said in the response.

Also stated in the document, one man claimed he did not tell Pitino because “he wanted to protect McGee from getting in trouble with the NCAA and possibly going to jail.”

Pitino’s 43-page response includes interviews from current and former coaches, such as current staff members David Padgett and Kenny Johnson and former assistant Kevin Keatts.

All interviewees cited in the document witnessed McGee arranging or paying for strip shows or sexual acts, but did not report what they saw to Pitino or family members.

“The young man said (Wyking) Jones asked him about his night in the dorm. (Anonymous) said he told Jones he had a good time, but did not tell Jones that McGee had arranged for him to have sex,” Pitino’s response said.

The actions even turned away one particular recruit.

“(Anonymous) told the investigators that although he really liked the University and its basketball program, the strip show and McGee’s arrangement for him to have sex with one of the strippers turned him off of the University and was the deciding factor in his decision not to attend the University,” Pitino’s response said.

Defending Pitino that monitored Minardi Hall, several student-athletes and team managers who lived in Minardi were cited in the document as being unaware of what was happening.

The first interviewee, whose name was redacted, said, “I thought it was a joke … if something like that would have been going on, I would have heard about it. (Pitino) doesn’t break the rules, especially when it comes to recruiting. And he talks to us a lot at the beginning of the season … about being careful, about not breaking rules and respecting women, especially.”

Louisville faced a self-imposed one-year postseason ban last season, along with loss in scholarships and allotted recruiting time. Pitino could still face suspension or further discipline based on how the NCAA reacts to the response.

View the full document with Pitino’s response here.

The document with U of L’s response is here.

Photo by Isaac Sanchez / The Louisville Cardinal

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