BOZICH | Andre McGee gives Rick Pitino, Louisville his greatest - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Andre McGee gives Rick Pitino, Louisville his greatest assist -- NCAA silence

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The NCAA released the results of its investigation into the Louisville basketball program. The NCAA released the results of its investigation into the Louisville basketball program.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — What have we learned in the more than 12 months since the NCAA came running to investigate Katina Powell’s claims that she helped turn the University of Louisville basketball dorm into the Mustang Ranch?

Enough details for me to advise parents the investigative report should be considered For Mature Audiences Only. That the NCAA has confirmed prostitutes and strippers indeed frolicked with recruits and players at Minardi Hall.

By my count about 14 strip shows, 11 sex acts, two declined sex acts. Party on.

It turns out that Katina Powell knew more about what was going on than coach Rick Pitino did inside a dorm that Pitino helped fund and had constructed.

But, after a first read of the NCAA investigative report U of L released Thursday, I suspect there is not enough fresh information to budge many people from the stances they took when Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” was published 382 days ago.

If you believe it’s time for a change from Pitino’s leadership after the program’s second sex scandal in less than a decade, you’ll find plenty of material that would make Maury Povich blush and reasonable minds wonder what's going on here?

Count me in that camp.

Hookers and strippers in the basketball dorm. No, thanks.

Apparently the guys who were supposed to be in charge were actually not in charge when this nonsense was going on. That stain remains.

The surest way for U of L to separate from the  basketball brand that now features Karen Sypher, Katina Powell and NCAA sanctions (as well as the 2013 NCAA title) would be for Pitino to make 2016-17 his final season.

Apologize for the embarrassment his program has brought the university and community. Make this a farewell season and assist the administration in putting Louisville’s shame closer to yesterday’s news.

If Pitino still has the coaching itch, I'm sure another program would be interested in his Hall of Fame touch. He’s had a marvelous run.

But if you were convinced that Pitino knew nothing about the activities and did nothing worse than fail to monitor Andre McGee (as the NCAA report says), there isn’t much new here beyond the book’s allegations to make you flinch. 

Blame the rogue director of basketball operations. Let the Hall of Fame coach stay and finish his career in the place he's called home since 2001. That appears to be U of L’s position.

The report, like most NCAA reports, is sprinkled with gaps, enough gaps for Pitino and U of L to claim victory. That’s what the administration started doing in their press release when they noted the Notice of Allegations did not charge that Pitino had knowledge of anything McGee arranged.

Credit the silence of McGee, who, for the record, is a guy Pitino recruited, coached, re-recruited, hired, trained and promoted at U of L. 

The record shows Andre McGee scored 666 points and delivered 231 assists during four seasons as mostly a back-up guard for the University of Louisville from 2005-09.

But McGee never made a bigger play for the program than he did over the last 12 months. He helped U of L by not hurting the program any further by stiff-arming the NCAA with silence.

Cowardly? If you’re a fan of getting closer to the truth, it certainly is.

Disappointing? 110 percent if McGee has nothing to hide.

McGee’s best legal play? 1,110 percent.

McGee didn’t cooperate, talk or even whisper any discouraging words to the NCAA.  When last heard from, McGee was waving off a reporter while driving an Uber vehicle in the Kansas City area.

McGee did not connect other members of Pitino’s coaching staff or the head man to the parties.

Didn’t disclose who supplied the cash that funded the fun, fun, fun.

Didn’t say that the parties were a scheme to make certain every recruit who came to town went home satisfied with an unforgettable visit in Louisville or that the program felt serious recruiting pressure while trying to compete with the colossal recruiting success John Calipari was having at Kentucky.

Didn’t snitch on anybody in the program.

Didn’t help the NCAA craft a more complete picture of what happened.

Didn’t do anything to advance the story or fill in the blanks.

By not saying anything, McGee did the best thing for U of L basketball.

Serve as the fall guy. Take the hit. Keep the program and the coaching staff in the clear and essentially guarantee Louisville’s hit from this investigation started and ended with the 2016 postseason ban the school assessed itself last March.

Until McGee talks, we will not know if this was a rogue coach whose ambitious competitive nature allegedly took him out of bounds or a guy trying to do his best work as he thought he was expected to do it.

Which was it?

I’ve talked to enough coaches that I question whether the guy on the director of basketball operations line of the organization chart strays that far off the game plan in recruiting.

Not his responsibility. Not in his budget. And while we're at it, certainly not his responsibility or in his budget after he's already moved on from the program to his next job.

Getting the right players on campus and ultimately signed remains as important as any job an assistant coach does. The coaching staff should be responsible for what happens to 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds when they’re visiting a campus. Not a guy barely above an entry-level position in coaching.

That wasn’t the conclusion the NCAA reached. There were strippers in the basketball dorm. There were prostitutes in the basketball dorm. There was sex with recruits in the basketball dorm.

But there was not a finding that Rick Pitino or any of his assistant coaches were connected to what Katina Powell brought to Minardi Hall.

Only Andre McGee knows for sure — even if the adults in the program should  have. 

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