Escort At Center of Louisville $ex Scandal Gives Names, Including Current NBA Players
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
The University of Louisville is being rocked with a sex scandal in which self-described former escort Katina Powell alleges to have provided strippers for the program in an effort to lure recruits to the school. Powell also included her own daughters as escorts and there are claims that her youngest daughter may have been underage.
As early as this Saturday (October 24, 2015), Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” could hit the stands and Louisville’s Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino‘s job and legacy hangs in the balance.
ESPN‘s Outside the Lines has done an in depth report on the scandal and 5 players, speaking under the condition of anonymity, have confirmed that the parties took place with at least one player saying he had sex with an escort. The parties took place at Billy Minardi Hall, named after Rick Pitino’s brother-in-law who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and were arranged and paid for by former Louisville player, graduate assistant and director of basketball operations Andre McGee.
“He asked me, ‘Is there any girls that want to make extra money,’ pretty much a side deal with the players. … So I asked the girls and their eyes lit up like, ‘Well, yeah,'” Powell said. “… ‘Side deals’ were sex, and if they [the dancers] wanted to make extra money, that’s what the ‘side deal’ was, sex.”
Powell, however, has not only written a book detailing the scandal, but has named names of recruits that have had sex on University of Louisville recruiting visits with some of these players now playing in the NBA.
Lindsay Powell, 24, one of Katina’s daughters, told Outside the Lines that she danced at several parties and was paid $100 to have
sex with former University of Louisville point guard Russ Smith. Smith was a player on the Cardinals’ 2013 NCAA championship team and is currently a player with the Memphis Grizzlies. Powell’s book also mentions Smith.
“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.
Rod Ni Powell, 22, another daughter of Katina’s, claims she was paid to have sex with former Cardinals player Montrezl Harrell, who now is a power forward for the Houston Rockets.
“Montrezl was there, and I don’t know, I guess he felt left out. He just kind of asked me if I would do it, and I did it. I got paid maybe $100, maybe a little more,” Rod Ni Powell said.
Harrell was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle earlier this month and denied having knowledge of the parties.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Harrell said. “I didn’t too much stay at the dorm. I stayed off campus. I had a girlfriend off campus. … It was pretty shocking that took place, if it did. I’m right there with Coach [Pitino], as shocked as he is.”
Two other women who spoke on the condition of anonymity with Outside the Lines say they also danced at the dorm parties. “Mandy”, said she went to a party at Minardi Hall in 2010 or 2011, said she was 17 at the time and not yet graduated from high school.
She said Katina Powell gave her a specific purpose of the party: “Basically to help people come to Louisville.”
“Mandy” said she was paid roughly $300 for stripping and one sexual encounter with a recruit.
“It would be a lot of guys, and they all had chairs,” Mandy said. “I was excited, because Peyton Siva was there.”
She also estimated that she made another $400-$500 that night in tips.
Powell said Louisville recruits JaQuan Lyle (Ohio State University), Antonio Blakeney (LSU), Jordan Mickey (LSU) and Terry Rozier (Louisville/Boston Celtics) all had sex on their recruiting visits. Outside the Lines could not reach Lyle, Blakeney and Mickey for comment.
Rozier said: “I don’t want to talk about it. … I was already committed before I took my visit. … I will say, though, Coach P [Pitino], as far as the dorm situations and visits, he’d go out to eat with the recruits and their parents. As far as after that, he wouldn’t know. … I can say his nose is clean.”
This investigation has more than NCAA recruiting violations on the line, but criminal implications as well. Powell’s admissions and McGee’s alleged role are being investigated by the University of Louisville Police Department. A spokesman for Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine confirmed that his office was working with law enforcement.
“If my office receives credible evidence of sexual abuse or other criminal activity involving minor children, we will vigorously prosecute those responsible for those crimes,” the spokesperson said.
Powell admits that all three of her daughters were paid to strip and have sex with players but insists that they were all 18 the first time they were paid to have sex and that she never profited from the escorts’ acts. The age of sexual consent in Kentucky is 16.
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