Rick Pitino has been one of the greatest coaches in college basketball. He took an undermanned Providence College team to the NCAA Final Four. He revived the University of Kentucky program after NCAA punishment tore their program down. And after a brief stint in the NBA coaching the Celtics, he has made the Louisville program one of the best in the country. But the recent news that came out about his program in Louisville is something that does not put him in a good light. Currently there is a lot of talk about a former assistant at the University of Louisville. Andre McGee reportedly paid strippers to come to parties on campus to entertain recruits and players. And it is reported that McGee also paid some of them extra to sleep with some of the players. Five former players and former recruits told ESPN’s John Barr and Jeff Goodman about McGee’s deeds while there at the university on the condition of anonymity. And these claims will all be published in a book titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen”. The escort, Katina Powell is also writing in her book all about the payments she received and all the things that McGee did in terms of getting the monies to her for the strippers to attend the party. The immediate reaction from most has been one of horror and disgust. The immediate reaction is “How can this be happening on the campus?” The other reaction then goes towards Pitino. He says that he does not know, but according to some, he actually knew what was going on. And for that, some are asking for the university to get rid of him at this time. It seems really bad for Pitino and the university, but there is a little something that many looking down on Louisville may want to understand.
Pitino and Louisville are not the only universities that have probably done something like this. In fact, there are many universities that go all out for their recruits. Just to give you an example, I was once a young athlete getting ready to go to college. I was on a recruiting visit to a school that will remain unnamed to prospectively play football for them. On the trip, there was a woman that they purposely put me with. And it was like she on me from the beginning of the trip until the end. Now nothing physical happened between me and the woman. Besides, my mother and sister were there with me. But it isn’t like the woman lacked for trying. She would say things to me like “The football players get much play down here.” For those that don’t know what that is, she was saying some sexual innuendo when speaking to me in that way. And the crazy thing is she did not care if my mother and sister were there. Of course, my mother did not like that among other things about the specific university. And of course, I never attended that school. Plenty may not believe this happens at universities, but it is actually something that happens all the time. Plenty of universities have groups of women that they put together for the specific reason to get players to come to school. And plenty athletes that are reading my story are probably thinking that is light compared to what happened on their visits to a prospective school. The reality is that the colleges and universities really don’t care what happens in these instances. The main thing they care about is what student-athlete gets in the school to help the program make money.
So being that this is something that happens everywhere, many may watch what happens a little more closely. And just like fans are watching this one, there are many programs that are as well. Plenty fans may like to think the programs they watch are clean and do things the right way, but the reality is that many sweep things under the rug and the head coach acts oblivious to something he or she does not want to know about. If something happens and Pitino gets fired, there will definitely be some repercussions. Many will wonder if their programs have that one skeleton in their closets that can come out as a result of this one. Others will continue to live in the shock that this actually happened, oblivious that this could be happening at a university right near them. The fact of the matter is that this issue is something that just did not come out of nowhere. Of course, the Louisville issue is something that is to the extreme. But there will be some acts that will be similar if not worse that will be done in the pursuit of a recruit by a college or university. And in the coming days and weeks, there will probably be many former college athletes that come forward with their recruiting visit stories.
Rick Pitino is the face of the school and he is also the face of this scandal. Regardless if he knew about it or not, he will definitely be under fire for this fiasco. But this incident is similar to things that happen on college campuses all across the country. The sad thing about this whole scenario at Louisville that captures many is that Powell had two underage girls, her daughters, involved in this. Essentially she pimped her own daughters to the players/recruits at Louisville . That in itself is unsettling for many. And the fact that she could do this without thinking it over is even more appalling. Louisville is definitely in some hot water over this one, but there are also some universities sweating bullets over their recruiting practices potentially being exposed. Pandora’s Box has been opened. Let’s see if something comes out of it.