U of L appeal to NCAA blasts sanctions for sex-for-recruits scan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L appeal to NCAA blasts sanctions for sex-for-recruits scandal as 'grossly excessive'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new response from the University of Louisville to the NCAA renews its strong attacks on the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, reiterating that the body overstepped its bounds and precedent in penalties it handed to U of L as the result of a scandal involving strippers and prostitutes for recruits, while dismissing many of the committee's responses to the university's original appeal as inadequate.

In its appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee (IAC), dated Oct. 31, but obtained by WDRB News on Tuesday, attorneys for the University of Louisville called the sanctions "unfair" and "grossly excessive," arguing that they should be reversed. U of L filed its original NCAA appeal in August, and the NCAA responded to it via its "file docket" system, which is not subject to state open records law.

In June, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions levied sanctions against U of L requiring it to vacate its basketball records from 2010 through 2014 in which ineligible players participated, and suspended then-coach Rick Pitino for five games. 

In this latest response, which contains redactions, the university agreed that the details of that sex-for-recruits scandal "are antithetical to everything that college athletics stands for," but it went on to question whether the student-athletes and prospective recruits who were, "unwillingly 'subjected to' McGee's schemes" should suffer under the sanctions.

"The answer is no," the document says, flatly.

It goes on to blast the decision by the Committee on Infractions:

"At bottom, the penalty the COI imposed is simply unfair. It wipes away the collegiate careers of numerous student-athletes because they were unwillingly drawn into McGee's schemes; ignores the University's efforts to investigate and redress McGee's misconduct; and imposes one of the most severe sanctions possible -- the vacation of a Division I NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, two Final Four appearances, and multiple seasons of competition -- because of the participation of a handful of student-athletes who did little wrong. Precedent does not support this approach. Neither does common sense or fundamental fairness. The COI's grossly excessive vacation and financial penalties should be reversed."

Placing the blame squarely on McGee, the university argues that the student-athletes suffering under the sanctions were not responsible for any sexual misconduct that took place in Minardi Hall, and thus are being unfairly penalized. 

"For the foregoing reasons and those set forth in the University's principal submission, the vacation and financial penalties should be reversed, at a minimum, with respect to the 2011-12 and 2012-13 men's basketball seasons," the appeal concludes.

In her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," published in Nov. 2015,  Katina Powell, age 42, claimed that she hosted 22 stripping and sex parties from 2010 to 2014 inside Billy Minardi Hall, the on-campus dorm for athletes. She has said McGee arranged the parties and paid her $10,000 for supplying dancers. (An examination of her book by WDRB News showed that her book outlined 11 parties in the dorm with less than $6,000 reported.)

The university's appeal (with redactions) can be viewed below:

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