Shortly before the season, news broke of a scandal involving Louisville recruits in a campus dorm. It centered around a book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” in which co-author Katina Powell alleges she supplied women who were paid to have sex with the recruits. She said Pitino’s graduate assistant, Andre McGee, arranged for and paid for the encounters.
The story has festered for months; recently, the school announced that the program would face a postseason ban this year as a result of the ongoing investigation.
Pitino — who has denied that he knew about the incidents in the dorm — has spoken about the scandal at times, but never quite like he did this week to SI.com.
Here are a couple highlights the Q&A with Seth Davis (and really, read the full piece here. It’s quite good, and Davis asks all the right questions). I’m not sure Rick Pitino comes out of the interview looking particularly good, but I also don’t know what happened. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what you think Pitino knew or didn’t know.
SI: You have [said] from the beginning that if anything like this was going on, you knew nothing about it. Frankly, there are lot of people who believe that either you knew or you didn’t want to know, but either way you are responsible because you created a culture which allowed these things to happen. What’s your response to that?
RP: First of all, I don’t believe there’s one coach that ever coached college basketball at this level that would ever tolerate it for one second. Forget me, I’m talking about any coach who has ever coached. The reason that I didn’t know was everybody had so much fear of what would happen if I ever found out. That’s why they were sneaking in through a side door. They all know their jobs, their scholarships would have been pulled if I ever found out. … But I will tell you, I do understand this thinking because I had the same reaction at first. Immediately I started accusing people from managers to everybody else, “How could you not know? You never saw anything? This is impossible.” So I did the same thing. And their answer was, she’s saying this happened maybe 20 times over four years, so that’s four or five times a year behind closed doors. How … are we gonna know about that? Andre McGee knew that if I ever found out, he would be on the next plane out of Louisville.
SI: So why would he do it — assuming he did it?