CRAWFORD | Roundup of today's news on the alleged Louisville bas - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Roundup of today's news on the alleged Louisville basketball sex scandal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Once a scandal hits, tentacles begin to spread out and comments come from all over. But on the first weekday since the bombshell allegations about the University of Louisville basketball program hit last Friday afternoon, most of the developments were minor.

A recap of the day’s events:

Joe Elliott Radio appearance. I began the day talking with Joe Elliott on his news show on WGTK 970-AM in Louisville. (When that podcast becomes available, I’ll post it here. This is a link to the show’s podcast site.)

Best seller? The book began the morning at No. 317 overall on the Amazon Kindle Store best seller list, though some TV stations in Lexington and Louisville focused on it being No. 1 among Basketball books. By the time this column was being composed, the book had climbed to No. 253 on the list. It was No. 5 among sports books all day.

WDRB's Rick Bozich ponders Pitino's future. Bozich, who was away covering U of L’s football win over N.C. State over the weekend, weighed in for the first time and brought up the subject of how this scandal could affect Rick Pitino’s future with U of L.

In a column headlined, Does Rick Pitino's career rest with Katina Powell's story?, Bozich wrote:

If there is significant truth to these sordid stories about strippers, sex, players and recruits, I can’t envision how Rick Pitino can – or should – survive.

A coach who micromanages the percentage of body fat of every player was not aware that somebody was allegedly bringing women into the dormitory he built to honor the memory of his late brother-in-law?

A program that promotes itself as focused on the name on the front, not the back, of the jersey was enhancing its recruiting pitch with a tug on a G-string?

Pitino survived and bounced back victoriously from his last scandal in 2010. This one, if true, is a career killer.

If it isn’t true?

Lawyers, administrators and public relations wizards won’t be able to repair the damage already done to the reputations of McGee, Pitino and the Louisville basketball program.

Those are the stakes. They’re considerable. And worth waiting for the complete story to be told.

 Outside the Lines. The U of L scandal was the lead item on ESPN’s Outside the Lines program, and Cardinal fans (based on Twitter) were none to happy to see their nemesis, Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, on the program with ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg.

For all the uproar, however, Jones was measured in his comments.

“I agree with Seth, it’s hard for me to see that Rick Pitino knew about this, that would be kind of shocking to me,” Jones said. “But it was under his watch, and I think there’s some people in that fan base and definitely in the Kentucky fan base sort of saying, how many more of these things are going to happen at U of L before they do something about it?”

Here's a link to the complete program.

Just after lunchtime, the Indianapolis Business Journal published a report quoting Katina Powell, the book’s author, as saying she had first tried to take her story to the NCAA before coming to IBJ Book Publishing, but was rebuffed.

Powell said she called the NCAA in mid-March and spoke to a man she described as “a white man” who told her that he wasn’t allowed, “to take a story from somebody on the outside —you know, 'It’s hearsay, I’m not doing that, I’m not taking the story.' I asked if there was anyone else I could possibly tell my story to, and he said, ‘No, there’s no one else. We can’t take outside stories.’ He hung up. I hung up.”

WDRB’s story on her NCAA experience is here. 

WFPL Radio interview. In mid-afternoon, I took a lunch break and walked over to the office of Rick Howlett at WFPL, Louisville’s Public Radio station, where we talked about the events of the past few days.

You can listen to that short interview by clicking here.

Pitino speaks with ESPN. It was a quiet day from U of L officials. I tried a couple of sources, but got nothing from anyone on the record, didn’t even hear back from a message I left with U of L police. What few I did hear from, were not talking for publication.

The one exception for media was ESPN, which got U of L coach Rick Pitino. Surely responding at least in part to Powell’s assertion that Pitino knew about the escorts-for-recruits arrangement, Pitino told ESPN’s Dana O’Neil: “Not myself, not one player, not one trainer, not one assistant, not one person knew anything about any of this. If anyone did, it would have been stopped on a dime. Not one person knew anything about it."

O’Neil included the comments in this story, which includes some interesting information on possible NCAA scenarios with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement.

Commonwealth's Attorney weighs in. I had spoken to Jeff Cooke, a spokesman for Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Wine, in the morning, and he told me that the office likely wouldn’t independently pursue any kind of charge on unsworn testimony such as what is found in Powell’s book without one of the police agencies in town having investigated the events themselves.

By afternoon, Wine confirmed to WDRB that his office had in fact been in consultation with both the U of L police department and the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit in connection with Powell’s assertion that she brought both of her daughters into her escort business before they turned 18, one at age 17 and the youngest at age 15.

“The allegations of criminal activity contained in this book cause grave concern to me and this community,” Wine said in a statement emailed to WDRB. “If my office receives credible evidence of sexual abuse or other criminal activity involving minor children, we will vigorously prosecute those responsible for the crimes.”

Read that complete story here.

Ramsey and Rutherford radio interview. In the afternoon, I spoke with John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford for their afternoon radio program. This audience was much different from before, because you know you’re talking straight to the U of L fan base. Ramsey asked me whether, if some of these allegations turn out to be true, I think Pitino knew what was going on. I told him I would be shocked. I told him I thought Pitino had so much to lose, particularly given the pain of the scandal he had gone through, to let something like that pass with his knowing. In my mind, I told them, the tougher question for Pitino won’t be, “Did you know?” but “Why didn’t you know?”

You can listen to that program here. (My apologies in advance for the uncomfortably large photo of my head that accompanies it). 

Montrezl Harrell reacts. Gorgui Dieng told reporters in Minneapolis, "Personally, I was not aware of (it). You  just told me. I never had to be in a situation like that."

On Sunday, Terry Rozier told the Boston Globe he hadn’t heard about the book’s publication, and added, “When it’s time to answer those questions and deal with that, I will. But right now I’m just trying to take in this moment with these guys out here and have a lot of fun with my teammates. So, like I said, when that time comes to answer that, I will.”

On Monday afternoon, the Houston Chronicle asked Montrezl Harrell about his involvement. Powell said Harrell took part in the parties both as a recruit and a player, and wrote even about some of his sexual proclivities.

Harrell told the Chronicle, “Apparently, my name is in there,” Harrell said. “I don’t have anything to do with that. U of L is doing their job, holding an investigation, looking at it. That’s where I’m leaving it. Simple as that.

“... It goes without saying, I don’t know anything about it. I didn’t too much stay at the dorm. I stayed off campus. I had a girlfriend off campus. It was pretty shocking that took place, if it did. I’m right there with Coach P, as shocked as he is.”

Check back at WDRB.com for further updates on this developing story.

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