CRAWFORD | NCAA alleges major violations against McGee, Pitino
The NCAA's Notice of Allegations alleges major NCAA violations against Andre McGee and one against Rick Pitino, but spared the school the most serious allegations of failure to monitor and lack of institutional control.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A year-long investigation into the University of Louisville men’s basketball program after a former Louisville escort alleged that she provided strippers and prostitutes for recruits and players has resulted in four alleged Level I violations -- the most serious the NCAA can levy -- including two against former administrative staffer Andre McGee and one against head coach Rick Pitino for failure to demonstrate that he monitored McGee, though the notice does not allege that Pitino had any knowledge of the violations.
The program escaped, however, the most severe allegations -- charges of a lack of institutional control and failure to monitor the program. The university says in a statement that it will dispute the charge against Pitino, which could include an NCAA suspension and/or a show-cause penalty if upheld.
The NCAA alleges that McGee, a former graduate assistant coach and director of basketball operations, provided impermissible benefits "in the form of adult entertainment, sex acts and/or cash at Billy Minardi Hall . . . or hotels to at least 17 then men's basketball prospective and/or current student-athletes, two then nonscholastic men's basketball coaches and one then men's basketball prospective student-athletes's friend. The value of the impermissible inducements, offers and/or extra benefits was at least $5,400."
In all, the document details 14 strip shows, 11 sex acts and two declined sex acts.
The NCAA, along with U of L representatives, conducted more than 90 interviews with current and former players and recruits, parents, coaches and others involved in the case. The Notice of Allegations was delivered to the school on Monday. U of L released the document Thursday morning, and is expected to hold a news conference later today.
In a statement, acting president Neville Pinto and athletic director Tom Jurich said: "As parent and university leaders who care about every student who comes to the University of Louisville, we are heartbroken that inappropriate behavior took place here. It saddens us tremendously. We promised that if something was done wrong, we would be open about it, acknowledge it and correct it. . . . From the start, the NCAA Enforcement Staff had our full cooperation. Its staff and our investigators spoke to numerous Louisville employees and third parties, and the university produced every document requested by the NCAA. We are disappointed that former Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee did not cooperate. These allegations underscore why it was appropriate for the university to self-impose strict penalties on our basketball program earlier this year."
The statement also notes that the notice aligns with the results of the university's inquiry. It further points out that, "The NOA does not contain an allegation that Coach Pitino had knowledge of what took place in the dormitory. The NCAA does not allege a 'lack of institutional control' at Louisville, a very severe allegation. The NCAA does not allege that there was a 'failure to monitor' against the institution, also a severe allegation. The NCAA does not allege that Coach Pitino 'failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance,' a serious allegation. The NOA does contain a narrower allegation -- which we will dispute -- that Coach Pitino failed to demonstrate that he monitored McGee. We believe that McGee acted furtively and note that the NOA does not indicate that any other university employee besides Mr. McGee had knowledge of these activities. We are confident in Coach Pitino and we know he is and always has been committed to NCAA compliance. The entire episode is a deep disappointment to all of us who love this university."
A Notice of Allegations is roughly akin to a complaint in a civil court proceeding. The allegations in the U of L’s notice are the result of interviews, several meetings with Powell and her attorneys, examination of her journals and records, and the examination of many records provided by U of L. They largely represent a collaborative effort between the NCAA, the school and its consultant, former NCAA enforcement staffer Chuck Smrt, president of The Compliance Group, a Kansas City-based firm that assists universities with NCAA issues.
The school released a redacted version of the notice this morning, and expects to hold a news conference today., with athletic director Tom Jurich, acting president Pinto and university consultant Chuck Smrt expected to be in attendance.
The allegations stemmed from claims by former Louisville escort Katina Powell that she provided strippers and prostitutes to men’s basketball players and recruits from 2010 to 2014.
Any penalties U of L receives would be in addition to those already self-imposed by the school, which include the postseason ban enacted last Feb. 5 and scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions put into place on April 6, including the loss of two scholarships, 30 recruiting days and two official visits over the next two seasons.
The major questions still remaining, whether the school may have to vacate victories or even its 2013 NCAA championship, and whether Pitino could be subject to suspension, remain unresolved by the receipt of this notice.
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Below is a copy of the notice of allegations: