Ex-Louisville player describes stripper visits as 'dancing in bathing suits'

ByC.L. Brown ESPN logo
Friday, October 9, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A formerUniversity of Louisvillemen's basketball player confirmed an earlier report that strippers visited the Billy Minardi Hall dormitory "one or two times," but said nothing more than dancing transpired.

The school launched an investigation into allegations made by Katina Powell in her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," that she was an escort who organized a group of women who were paid to strip and have sex with Louisville basketball players, recruits and sometimes their guardians. Powell claimed that former University of Louisville director of basketball operations Andre McGee paid her about $10,000 between 2010 and 2014 for 22 parties.

The former player, who played during the years in question, spoke to ESPN.com under the condition of anonymity. He said he didn't know who contacted the strippers and that their presence wasn't announced to the entire team.

He said he only went into that particular room because of the loud music and estimated about a dozen people, including the women, were present.

WDRB-TV in Louisville reported Thursday that a source familiar with the investigation indicated that a player acknowledged strippers visited the dorm on one occasion.

"They were just up there dancing in bathing suits, they didn't even get all the way nude," ESPN.com's source said.

He added: "It was just [for fun], and after that it was like a regular night. We went out to a club. Far as paying for sex -- nobody did that. She [Powell] is lying about that."

The former player said the only money he saw exchanged was the money players tossed at the strippers while they danced. The total, he said, was probably more than $100.

"It wasn't no $10,000. I know that much," he said. "Things don't add up. Andre is staying in the dorm, but he's going to give her $10,000? Like I said, I never seen Andre McGee hand her no money. The only money I saw was what was thrown at the strippers. Not by Andre McGee. By players, by their choice. And the girls left, and that was just that."

In the book, Powell said her three daughters were part of her troupe that entertained players. The youngest was 15 in 2010 when the visits allegedly began. The former player told ESPN.com that he remembered Powell's face but could not recall if any of the women were her daughters.

At least four organizations are conducting their own inquiries into the allegations, including the Louisville Police Department and the university's police department.

University of Louisville president James Ramsey issued a statement before the school's board of trustees met on Thursday asking fans to stay patient while the investigation played out.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who appeared on a local radio station Thursday, can handle the waiting but appears to be most frustrated with figuring out a motive.

"Right now, we're trying to find out exactly what went on," Pitino told WHAS radio host Terry Meiner. "And then I'd like to know why it went on, more than anything else. The why is very important to me."

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