Report: Ex-Louisville recruit confirms ‘gist’ of book’s allegations

Report: Ex-Louisville recruit confirms 'gist' of book's allegations
Updated: Oct. 20, 2015 at 1:42 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An ex-University of Louisville men's basketball recruit confirmed to an NCAA investigator this week that the "gist of allegations" being made in a new book involving paid escorts and strippers are true, according to a CBS Sports report.

According to the article, Ohio State freshman JaQuan Lyle spoke with an NCAA investigator this week regarding his recruiting visit to Louisville in June 2013.

[PREVIOUS STORY: UofL police investigating stripper's claims that she prostituted teen daughters]

In her book Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, which was published late last Friday night, self-described madam Katina Powell claimed that she provided escorts to dance and have sex with UofL players and recruits over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014.

Lyle, a 6' 5" guard from Evansville, Ind., verbally committed to UofL shortly after his visit to the school. Lyle, however, de-committed in September. He is currently a freshman guard on the Ohio State roster.

"As we have noted earlier, to preserve the integrity of the review process, the university will withhold comment on any details until the review is concluded," UofL spokesman Kenny Klein said when asked for a comment Thursday afternoon.

However UofL coach Rick Pitino did appear on the radio show of his long-time friend, Terry Meiners, late Thursday afternoon on 840 WHAS and made several newsworthy comments. Meiners asked Pitino that if, in light of the CBS Sports report on top of the other allegations, he would consider resigning.

"I think it's the cowardly way out," Pitino responded. "What does it do for the program if the head coach just runs away?

"I had no knowledge of any of this...the whole thing is sickening to me."

Later in the interview Meiners asked Pitino about Andre McGee, the former UofL staffer who Powell claims set up the "parties" for Cardinal players and recruits.

"He was a great kid here, he played hard, did all the right things, I don't know where he went wrong with this...why he went wrong, it breaks my heart" Pitino said. "He was a great kid, he had a great future."

After telling Meiners he wasn't going to resign, Pitino did discuss his immediate future.

"If (Athletic Director) Tom Jurich wants me to leave tomorrow I'll pack my bags and leave," he said.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of reaction around the city to the CBS Sports story. Inside ESPN 680 studios, in the heart of Cardinal Towne, long-time local radio personality Bob Valvano took to the airways.

"I understand what people are saying," said Valvano, who also works as a game analyst for the UofL basketball TV and radio broadcasts. "I understand it. The main argument for people is going to be, 'I cannot believe a guy who oversees every minute detail of his program wouldn't know this. Or the other side would say, 'Maybe he didn't know anything about it, I think he should have.'

"I'm obviously rooting for Louisville and rooting for Rick Pitino, but I'm trying to discuss it analytically and analytically that's why I say today was a hard day."

There were also a pair of related statements released Thursday.

One came from Louisville attorney Scott Cox, who represents McGee, in response to the CBS Sports story.

"It's not clear what allegations he is confirming," Cox said. "It says the 'gist' was confirmed. What does that mean? Who is this person leaking confidential information?

"This is going to be a long, thorough investigation. We're not going to comment on every rumor."

The second statement came from UofL President James Ramsey. It was his first response to the allegations against the UofL basketball program.

"As was stated last week, when we learned of the allegations toward our men's basketball team, we immediately hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the alleged misconduct," Ramsey said. "Chuck advised us that we should also report these allegations to the NCAA so they could join our investigation.

"For the past 18 years, Tom Jurich has served as Athletic Director of an exemplary program at UofL. I fully support Tom as we work to identify the facts in this situation, and that is what we are doing. Tom and I are committed to the values that are fundamental to the success of Cardinal athletics.

"As I stated in the recent State of the University address, it is important that the university - all of us - stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding students with a world-class education. The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward."

Noticeably absent from Ramsey's statement, however, is any mention of Pitino. He was asked about that by Meiners.

"I'm sorry Dr. Ramsey didn't think enough to mention me, but that's beyond my control," Pitino responded.

Copyright 2015 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.