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Rick Pitino opens up about Louisville sex scandal

rickpitinoIt’s been quite a year for Rick Pitino, the legendary basketball coach and father of Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino.

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?

School hires female reality TV star and Luther Campbell as coaches

campbellThe year is 1989, and the place is Grand Forks, N.D.

I am 12 years old, and a friend has obtained a cassette copy of what would become 2 Live Crew’s most famous release: “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.”

The cover art is four members of the group staring at four women in thong bikinis. The key single, which made its way onto radio play, is “Me So Horny.” Even the dirty, explicit version of the song is one of the cleanest, least explicit tracks on the entire cassette.

The only real exposure to rap music before this came in the form of Tone Loc’s “Loc-ed After Dark.” It came out two weeks before “As Nasty As They Wanna Be,” and Tone Loc might as well have been singing choir songs by comparison.

2 Live Crew is outrageous. The lyrics are so shocking — again, remember, 1989, Grand Forks, 12 years old — that they almost seem incomprehensible. This is way before Internet pornography or even sexually explicit content on TV was everywhere.

The leader of the crew is Luther Campbell. He is brash. He has one thing on his mind. He gives zero you know whats.

Now the year is 2016, and the place is Minneapolis.

I am close to 40 years old (shut up), and I have just learned that Luther Campbell — yes, the same one — has been hired as a defensive coordinator of a Florida high school football team.

This isn’t so stunning in and of itself; Campbell apparently has held several coaching jobs in the Miami area over the years and has a pretty solid football reputation. At some point, it was decided that Campbell could alter his path from sexually explicit rapper to a leader of young men. Sure, why not.

But the whole story, man. Let’s just let the Miami Herald take things for a minute:

Miami Jackson High made history Monday by announcing Lakatriona Brunson as the first female high school football head coach in Florida. But hiring Brunson, who moonlights as a reality TV character, wasn’t the only celebrity addition. The Generals also named former rapper Luther Campbell as the team’s defensive coordinator. … Brunson, also known as Bernice, has gained attention in recent years for her role on the truTV series South Beach Tow, which began airing in July 2011. Brunson is a driver and assistant manager for Tremont Towing, the company portrayed in the show.

Campbell has gone from rapping to coaching, his football boss is a woman, and she’s a reality TV star. If you want a narrative about how much has changed from 1989 to 2016, I don’t know if it gets much clearer than this.

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