Five former Louisville basketball players have admitted to ESPN’s OTL to attending basketball recruiting parties that involved strippers at Billy Minardi Hall, that included some recruits and players having sex with the strippers. Those parties, as previously alleged by Katina Powell, were arranged by staffer Andre McGee (who was both a graduate assistant and then director of basketball operations starting in 2012), who is now on administrative leave at UMKC.
The former players spoke on the condition of anonymity, “citing a fear of retribution from Louisville fans, players and coaches.”
The OTL piece also includes specific allegations from Katina Powell’s daughters about which players they had sex with. Lindsay Powell, now 24, says she had sex with Russ Smith, guard on the 2013 National Championship team and currently in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies. Rod Ni Powell, 22, claims she was paid to have sex with Montrezl Harrell, who was a first round pick of the Houston Rockets this year. Earlier, Harrell told the Houston Chronicle: “It goes without saying, I don’t know anything about it. I didn’t too much stay at the dorm. I stayed off campus. I had a girlfriend off campus.”
Another woman, who went by the name “Mandy” in the OTL piece, was still in high school and estimated she was 17 at the time of attending stripper parties. She recalled being excited because the purpose was to help Louisville with recruiting and Peyton Siva was there. According to “Mandy,” Siva autographed her chest, but she says she did not have sex with any players or recruits.
This revelation from former players acknowledging the general accusations of Katina Powell that stripper sex parties occurred now puts into question just how high up the chain this went. McGee will be the next key in the investigation. Powell claims that “[Powell] always said his job was on the line. And, you could tell he was serious about it when he said it.” She also claims to have asked him whether Pitino knew, with Powell responding “He’s Rick. He knows about everything.'”
Other than that claim, though, there is nothing else that suggest Pitino was present or knew that these parties were taking place. Still, in a big program, with these events not only taking place but taking place on campus in the dorms for the players, you can expect further investigation not only into what those higher up in the program knew, but what they should have known. McGee was a graduate assistant for part of the time during which these allegations occurred. The money allegedly $10,000 for the parties, and that doesn’t include the hundreds involved in paying individual women for sex. The chances that money came entirely from McGee alone are slim.