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New book claims women were paid to have sex with Louisville players

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http://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/college/louisville/2015/10/03/louisville-basketball-book-leaves-dots-to-be-connected-with-evidence-of-sex-parties/73295864/

 

U of L book leaves dots yet to be connected

The book with explosive claims against the Louisville men’s basketball program has left dots still to be connected.

“Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” released digitally on Saturday, tells the story of 43-year-old Louisville resident Katina Powell, who claims former U of L men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee paid her and performers who worked for her to dance for and have sex with Louisville players, recruits and, in some cases, their fathers or guardians.

The book offers several forms of what it purports to be proof of Powell’s allegations, though none appears to be conclusive.

Powell provides photographs of former U of L players, recruits and McGee posing with her or the performers – in some cases, her daughters – though none shows any illicit activity. The book notes that, during research for publication, some of those athletes or their representatives said they had no knowledge of the parties allegedly organized by McGee. Many others, the author writes, did not respond to messages.

Several of the former players mentioned in the book did not respond to messages from The Courier-Journal. Another, former Louisville guard Terry Rozier, now playing for the Boston Celtics, did not respond to a message but told The Boston Globe, "When it’s time to answer those questions and deal with that, I will.”

Former player Russ Smith’s father, Russ Sr., said there was no involvement by his son, whose photo appears in the book despite Powell saying Smith never participated in the parties.

Several other former players not named in the book but who were part of the program from 2010-14 when the alleged parties were held said they were shocked by the book’s allegations and had never heard of Powell or the incidents described in her book.

In one instance, what is alleged to be a screenshot of an Instagram message sent to former U of L recruiting target Antonio Blakeney is used as proof. Powell alleges one of her daughters was paid to have sex with Blakeney while Powell had sex with his guardian in order to secure a commitment to Louisville. To back up the claims, the books supplies a screenshot of a conversation in which Powell’s daughter sent a photograph of herself wearing lingerie asking, “Hey you remember me from Louisville??” Blakeney, who is now a freshman at LSU, replied, “Yea I do wassup.”

The book’s co-author, Dick Cady, writes that the athlete’s mother denied her son ever stayed at the Louisville hotel where the events allegedly took place. ESPN reported Friday that Blakeney, a coveted Class of 2015 recruit who originally committed to U of L before signing with LSU, was recently interviewed by the NCAA with regard to the book’s allegations.

The book is also sprinkled with screenshots of text message exchanges that it claims are between Powell and McGee seeking to arrange for performers to visit groups of players or recruits, though the phone number next to a contact labeled "McGee" is blurred out in some instances and a sender’s name and number are altogether absent in others.

The allegations in the book carry a bevy of potential problems – both for Louisville and for others mentioned.

If the allegations prove to be true, U of L may have to forfeit its 2012 Final Four appearance and 2013 NCAA title, as some of these parties took place during that period. McGee, now on administrative leave at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, could face NCAA and legal issues, as could the unnamed others who Powell alleges worked for U of L and helped set up and pay for the parties.

U of L has hired an independent compliance investigator, Chuck Smrt, to look into the matter, and the NCAA’s ultimate ruling is not weighed down by the same burden of proof that would be required in a criminal investigation.

There are also potential legal issues for Powell, who does not have a criminal history. The book chronicles in detail - with photos of Powell's journal entries featuring lists of performances and prices - how she, with the help of several others, ran an organized prostitution ring and how she enlisted her underage daughters to help pick up dollar bills at the parties and later “promoted” them to dancers.

Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro police department, said it is not investigating whether Powell committed a crime. She noted that U of L has its own police department and would be more likely to follow up on that. Most of the alleged parties were said to have taken place at Billy Minardi Hall, an on-campus dorm where many of the men's basketball players live.

John Karman, a spokesman for the university, declined to comment.

Smiley declined  to comment on whether Powell's admissions, if true, would constitute promoting prostitution or any other criminal offense.

Powell also shines light on how the book came to be and on her motivation for going public with the accusations. After feeling spurned by an alleged request from McGee for other dancers, Powell says she reached out to the NCAA to report the events but was told the organization could not take allegations over the phone as they were hearsay. She then found a publisher in IBJ Book Publishing and its co-owner, Indiana University booster Michael Maurer, and said she was interested in making money from the story.

Powell was paired with Cady, a former Indianapolis Star reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to write the book. IBJ Book Publishing reportedly paid for the claims to be investigated.

The IBJ article also points out that Powell did not receive an advance and will be paid 10 percent of its gross sales.

Contact sports director Chris White at 502-582-4367, on Twitter at @ChrisWhite_LCJ or via email at ccwhite@courier-journal.com. Contact U of L sports reporter Jeff Greer on Twitter at @JeffGreer_CJ or at jgreer@courier-journal.com.

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while these young ladies were blowing the Louisville players, they were writing term papers for the UNC players

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