Column: Louisville in midst of scandal

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The University of Louisville is a college basketball powerhouse and one of the most respected programs in the country.

Or at least it used to be one of the most respected programs.

The 2013 NCAA National Champions are currently in the midst of a sex scandal that could very well tarnish its reputation and question the integrity of its leaders.

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported that a former assistant coach, Andre McGee, paid for sex and stripper parties on Louisville’s campus for basketball players and recruits, according to a self-described escort named Katina Powell who recently authored a book called “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”

Since the release of her book earlier this month, five former Cardinal basketball players and recruits have corroborated her story and admitted to McGee paying for strippers to attend nearly two-dozen parties at university dorms from 2010 to 2014.

The parties would basically unfold like a scene straight out of Spike Lee’s “He Got Game.” (You know, the scene where Jesus Shuttlesworth has girls literally lined up waiting to have sex with him during his recruiting visit.)

According to former players and recruits, a handful of strippers would perform and then some would be paid extra to have sex with the players in separate rooms.

To make things weirder, two of Powell’s teenage daughters worked as strippers at the parties and said they received $100 each to have sex with former Louisville star players, some whom have went on to play professionally.

Somehow, during all of this, head coach Rick Pitino, the face of the prestigious program, emphatically claims to have had no knowledge of these parties.

While the case is being investigated by both the university and the NCAA, Louisville officials are adamant it has no plans to fire Pitino. And the veteran Hall of Fame coach said last week that he is not considering resigning anytime soon.

To anyone with common sense, to think Pitino had no idea of what was going on seems very unlikely.

I strongly doubt Pitino had anything to do with the planning of these sex parties, but to pretend he was clueless is quite hard to believe.

In the arms race that is big-time college sports, it does not seem unlikely that some colleges are comfortable using these sorts of recruiting tools and that powerful coaches can count on underlings to handle the logistics.

On Friday, McGee resigned from his position as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he moved before the scandal broke. While he did resign at his own will, McGee – just like Pitino – denies the allegations.

However, several Louisville faculty members are not satisfied with McGee’s resignation and are pushing for actions to be taken against Pitino.

Now, let’s say Pitino truly did not have any knowledge of what was going on in his program. If that is the case, Pitino should resign for allowing such things to occur under his leadership of these young men, many of whom are underage during the time of their recruting visits.

However, if Pitino did have the slightest knowledge of what was going on, he certainly shouldn’t resign. He should be fired immediately.

Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected].

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