Pitino on Breaking Cardinal Rules accusations: 'It hit us all li - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pitino on Breaking Cardinal Rules accusations: 'It hit us all like a bombshell'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At the University of Louisville tipoff luncheon Tuesday, coach Rick Pitino said news of recent allegations hit the staff like a bombshell. 

Speaking to hundreds of boosters, he addressed his amazement at what could have taken place right under his nose and what will happen if it's true.

The U of L tipoff luncheon the annual pep rally for boosters leading up to the basketball season. But after introducing this year's team, Coach Rick Pitino quickly turned to the issue he couldn't avoid: claims made in the book Breaking Cardinal Rules that players, recruits and their fathers were provided prostitutes during parties at Minardi Hall.

"I know why they're coming out with a book, and I know exactly why.  On our end of the thing, I don't get the why. It doesn't make any sense," he said.

Pitino noted the stature the U of L basketball program has achieved and says he can't imagine why anyone would think top players would need escorts to lure them to the team.

"Every living room I ever visited of every recruit knew exactly where I stood with the rules of the NCAA," he said. "Every player I've ever coached new exactly where I stand.  Because, I believe in the rules."

The coach stopped short of denying the allegations being made by Katina Powell, but says he's dumbfounded at how something like this could've happened on the U of L campus, without anyone breathing a word.

"I know managers, over 20 of them, and if one person of mine has a beer downtown, I hear about it the next day," he said. "Now not one manager, or anyone, will come forward and say they saw anything wrong."

Pitino revealed more about assistant coach Ralph Willard, who's leaving the team indefinitely for health reasons. The coach says Willard told him his heart has been out of rhythm 37 times since the escort scandal was first reported. 

He also talked about what will happen if the allegations turn out to be true.

"If there was any wrongdoing, and it's a big if, and people have to pay for their crimes, and that's an if, if it happens, we'll all own up to it, and to the best we can under adverse situations."

More: BOZICH | What Rick Pitino did -- and did not -- say at U of L basketball luncheon

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