Coach Rick Pitino said this morning that he is still waiting to be interviewed by the NCAA about an escort’s allegations that a former Cardinals staffer hired her and other dancers for sex parties at the team’s dormitory.
University President James Ramsey Friday announced a self-imposed one-year postseason ban for the men’s basketball team after the school’s investigation into allegations revealed violations did occur. Pitino has said he did not know about the incidents and that athletic director Tom Jurich does not believe he was aware of the activities.
Pitino said this morning on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” that if Jurich “thought for one second I had 1 percent knowledge of hearsay in this case, I would have been gone a long time ago.”
The coach said he has been kept in the dark about the investigation because he has not been interviewed by the NCAA. The university investigation is ongoing and it’s unclear if more self-imposed penalties are possible.
Pitino indicated he has no plans at this time to step down.
“My future is really irrelevant and unimportant, it’s the University of Louisville that I care about,” Pitino said. “I do the same thing every single year. I go away, I take my time and say, ‘Did you have fun? Do you still have great passion?’
“I have more passion today with coaching, I love teaching more than ever.”
Katina Powell has alleged in a book that Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows from 2010-14 with many taking place in the Cardinals’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory. The allegations led to several investigations: one by the athletic department; the University of Louisville Foundation; the NCAA; and university and Louisville Metro Police in cooperation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
Powell was interviewed by the NCAA last fall. A Jefferson County grand jury is looking into her allegations.
Pitino said on ESPN that he talked to McGee after being made aware of the allegations and was told only that parties took place. The coach said today that McGee misled him about what went on.
“He said it was just women coming over and listening to music,” Pitino said. “Then, he got a lawyer and that was the last I spoke to Andre McGee.” The coach added that he sent McGee a text asking that he “just tell the truth.”
Pitino has called the decision not to play in postseason “one of the harshest things” he has experienced and criticized the NCAA for a system he said unfairly penalizes people unconnected to any infractions. He has been particularly outspoken in support of leading scorers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, graduate transfers who came to Louisville this season with hopes of playing in the NCAA tournament.