The Louisville basketball program was thrown into the spotlight earlier this month, following the publication of a book written by self-described madame Katina Powell, who claims to have supplied escorts to former members of the Louisville basketball team. ESPN’s Outside the Lines has since gotten in touch with a handful of former players and girls who worked the parties, many of whom confirmed that the basketball team was routinely provided with strippers at parties within the dorm, and that some of the strippers had sex with players in exchange for money.
According to Powell’s book and her interview with Outside the Lines, the parties were coordinated and paid for by former graduate assistant Andre McGee, often in an attempt to lure recruits to the school. Here’s how one former player described the parties to OTL:
The former player who said he had sex with a dancer told Outside the Lines that McGee provided him with one-dollar bills to tip dancers and paid for one of the dancers to have sex with the player in a separate room. One of the other former players, who said he attended the parties as a recruit and player, said McGee “would give us the money, just the recruits. A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one [of the dancers] they wanted.”
Powell told OTL that she helped facilitate many deals in which a recruit or player paid for sex. A few of these deals even included her daughters:
Lindsay Powell, 24, Katina’s daughter, told Outside the Lines she danced at multiple parties and was paid $100 to have sex with former Louisville point guard Russ Smith, part of the Cardinals’ 2013 NCAA championship team and now a player with the Memphis Grizzlies. Katina Powell’s book also mentions the allegation involving Smith, who did not respond to requests for comment.
“I believe that McGee came to my mom and said something to her about it, and my mom came to me and I was like ‘OK,’ and we went in another room and we had sex,” Lindsay Powell said.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and the school have repeatedly claimed that they had no knowledge of these parties. But given how much money McGee allegedly spent—Powell claims to have received around $10,000 from him—it’s hard to believe he was organizing and bankrolling everything on his own.