NCAA: Pitino may not have been looking for 'red flags'

NCAA: Pitino may not have been looking for 'red flags'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The NCAA has rejected claims that UofL coach Rick Pitino did everything he could to prevent the sex scandal that rocked the university's high-profile basketball program in 2015.

The NCAA handed down its Notice of Allegations in October, to which UofL responded in January with full support of its Hall of Fame coach.  Pitino also filed his own response in January.

In its latest report, 118 pages long, the NCAA repeated its original claim that Pitino did not properly monitor former director of basketball operations Andre McGee, who's accused of working with self-proclaimed escort queen Katina Powell to provide strippers at sex parties attended by UofL players and recruits.

"If Pitino saw no red flags in connection with McGee's interactions with then prospective and current student-athletes, it was because he was not looking for them," the NCAA's latest report said.

The NCAA gave UofL its report on Friday, the day the Cards won their first-round NCAA Tournament game. The university released the report Thursday afternoon.

>> MORE: UofL Sex Scandal

"No men's basketball staff member, including Pitino, ever specifically asked McGee what the prospects did to consume their time once they were under his watch in the dormitory," the NCAA report said. "Pitino believed his role in monitoring was limited to obtaining feedback from McGee regarding where he thought the prospects would enroll."

UofL issued a short statement to media late Thursday afternoon:

"We continue to regret that NCAA legislation was violated by a former UofL employee. His behavior was shameful and wrong. This behavior is the reason we self-imposed severe penalties on ourselves. In this latest correspondence, the NCAA Enforcement Staff's Response reiterates its previous position and, in fact, makes clear that the allegation does not state that Coach Pitino should have detected or known about the violations. We have faith in the NCAA process and look forward to demonstrating at the hearing that Coach Pitino properly monitored his staff."

Thursday's development sets up a showdown in front of the NCAA's Infractions Committee, which ultimately will find whether Pitino failed to monitor McGee. Such a hearing likely would take place this summer, and if Pitino is found to have failed, he could face significant punishment.  Under NCAA bylaws, those penalties include a possible suspension, or a "show cause" order against the Hall of Fame coach.

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UofL self-imposed a postseason ban in February 2016, in an effort to lessen whatever sanctions the NCAA might administer. But the NCAA, in its latest response, didn't sound like it would weigh that self-ban too heavily.

"The institution has a history of major violations," the NCAA wrote, citing missteps in 1957, 1996 and 1998.

But the university disputed those examples, saying they weren't enough to warrant additional punishment. The NCAA, however, stood firm.

"The institution's violation history speaks for itself," it wrote.

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