Katina Powell to ESPN: ‘How could Rick not know?’

Updated: Jul. 17, 2018 at 11:08 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The self-proclaimed madam whose tell-all memoir has rocked the UofL athletic department told ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that she thinks Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino knew about the alleged prostitution scandal at Minardi Hall.

"This is my theory," Katina Powell said in an interview that aired Tuesday morning on ESPN. "Four years, a boatload of recruits, a boatload of dancers, loud music, alcohol, security cameras, basketball players who came in at will ... How could Rick not know?"

[MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch part of ESPN's interview with Katina Powell]

Powell said she asked Andre McGee, who played for Pitino at UofL for four years and was on the staff for three more, whether Pitino knew about the sex-for-money arrangement that she claims netted her at least $10,000.

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"'He's Rick,'" Powell said McGee told her. "'He knows about everything.'"

Powell's three daughters were among the escorts who stripped at the parties involving players and recruits, one of whom told ESPN that she had sex with Russ Smith.

ESPN obtained photos that showed Smith with one of the escorts, and another that showed former UofL star Montrezl Harrell with another escort. Powell said another top player from last year's team -- Terry Rozier -- had sex with an escort. Smith, Rozier and Harrell are now in the NBA.

Powell said she worked in tandem with McGee, who would ask if any of her strippers were interested in making side deals.

"The side deals were sex, and if they wanted to make extra money, that's what the side deal was: Sex," Powell said.

Powell also denied previous claims that her daughters were minors when she prostituted them.

"Everybody that I dealt with was grown, and was able to make their own decisions as to what they wanted to do," said Powell, who also told ESPN that in addition to players and recruits, some of the men who had sex with the escorts were fathers and guardians of the athletes.

ESPN's John Barr asked Powell why she kept a journal detailing the transactions from 2010-14.

"I knew this day would come," she said, adding that if she didn't keep a record, nobody would believe her.

ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Goodman said that at least one UofL recruit confirmed that he had sex with an escort. Goodman also said he's talked to 10 or 12 former UofL basketball players and recruits and five of them confirmed that Powell and others stripped for the athletes.

Some of the basketball players were on official recruiting visits, and others were on unofficial visits when the stripping parties happened, Goodman said.

"It was crazy," one of the recruits told ESPN, asking to remain anonymous. "It was like I was in a strip club."

McGee gave the players dollar bills to give to the strippers, Goodman reported.

"Andre was the one who always had the money," Powell told ESPN. "He made it rain."

Goodman opined that with stricter NCAA rules requiring coaches to take more responsibility for the actions of their players, he'd be surprised if Pitino got a less severe penalty than the nine-game suspensions fellow Hall of Fame coaches Larry Brown and Jim Boeheim will be serving this season.

This story is being updated.

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