Five former players and recruits for the University of Louisville's men's basketball team say they went to campus dorm parties that included strippers and sex and were paid for by the Cardinals' ex-player and staffer Andre McGee, ESPN reports. Their admissions lend credibility to ex-escort Katina Powell, who says in her bombshell book that she was paid $10,000 by McGee between 2010 and 2014 to provide dancers (three of which were her own daughters), and that she also received extra cash for "side deals"—code for sexual acts. "I knew they weren't college girls," one recruit tells ESPN. "It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club." Powell thinks McGee just needed recruits. "I think Andre's back was against the wall," Powell told IBJ, via ESPN. "I think he had a lot of pressure on him [and] … did whatever he had to do to make the University of Louisville a great team."
"I am shocked over this," Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino said Friday, per the Indianapolis Business Journal. "My heart is just taken out of my body and broken." He added to ESPN earlier this month: "Not myself, not one player, not one trainer, not one assistant, not one person knew anything about any of this." Some players back Pitino up, as does his son, Richard Pitino, Minnesota's basketball coach, who told ESPN "I can say 100% sure, with zero doubt that (Rick Pitino) knew nothing." But Powell and others find that hard to believe. With a "boatload" of recruits and dancers, "loud music, alcohol, security, cameras" in a dorm, "how could Rick not know?" she asked in an interview Tuesday, per ABC News. She said when she asked McGee, now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, about Pitino's knowledge, McGee answered, "He's Rick. He knows about everything." (Read Outside the Line's in-depth investigation.)