Louisville’s interim president said the school received a “full and fair review of the facts” after meeting Thursday with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions and expects resolution in 6 to 8 weeks of the investigation into an escort’s allegations that a former Cardinals men’s basketball staffer hired strippers for sex parties with players and recruits.
Greg Postel’s statement did not specify where the hearing occurred or whether coach Rick Pitino or athletic director Tom Jurich participated, just that a “group of officials” met with the governing body.
Louisville is accused of four violations, including one against Pitino for failing to monitor former staffer Andre McGee.
The president’s statement added, “We had the opportunity to present the information as we wished” and said the school looks forward to resolving the matter.
Louisville and Pitino had anticipated meeting with the NCAA to make their case in the investigation that began nearly two years ago after Katina Powell alleged in her book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”
Powell alleged that McGee paid $10,000 for her and other dancers to perform 22 shows from 2010-14 at the team’s Billy Minardi Hall dormitory, a period includes the Cardinals’ 2013 NCAA championship season.
The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations last October charged Louisville with four Level 1 violations including the one against Pitino, who has denied knowledge of the activities described in Powell’s book. The coach and the school had said they planned to defend that charge, which could result in a show-cause penalty and possibly a suspension.
In its January response to the Notice of Allegations, Louisville agreed that impermissible benefits took place on 37 of 40 alleged instances but disagreed on the other three because of the reliability of some information provided.
The school also contended that Pitino has “fostered a culture” of compliance with NCAA rules and that McGee’s activities couldn’t have been monitored by “reasonable” practices because he intended to avoid detection. McGee has not cooperated with the NCAA’s investigation.
In a separate response to the allegations, Pitino also said the NCAA overreached and that he shouldn’t have been charged.
The NCAA refuted those responses by Louisville and Pitino in its own detailed response last month.
The governing body’s letter included excerpts from a question-and-answer exchange between the coach and associate director of enforcement Nate Leffler. Pitino told Leffler that assistant coaches specifically monitored McGee’s activities and that his role was receiving feedback from him on how a recruit might be leaning with his decision.
The governing body summarized that Pitino did not take an active role in monitoring McGee and was unable to rebut the presumption of responsibility for the alleged violations.
“If Pitino saw no red flags in connection with (Andre) McGee’s interactions with then-prospective and current student-athletes,” the NCAA wrote, “it was because he was not looking for them.”
Louisville’s own investigation determined that violations occurred and imposed a postseason ban in February 2016. The school also reduced scholarships and recruiting visits by assistant coaches as pre-emptive steps toward mitigating further NCAA discipline. The NCAA acknowledged those measures, but now must decide whether that will be enough or if Louisville and Pitino are penalized further.
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