Katina Powell details how she planned 22 parties with Andre McGee
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A week has gone by since the NCAA levied sanctions against UofL for a sex scandal that's made national headlines for nearly two years.
Basketball coach Rick Pitino and the university claim the penalties for the sex-for-cash parties are too severe, and they are planning to appeal.
The self-proclaimed escort queen whose explosive tell-all memoir "Breaking Cardinal Rules" rocked UofL came to the WAVE 3 News studio to do an interview with Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio and WLEX TV, and also agreed to do an interview with WAVE 3 News. WAVE 3 News decided to interview her because her revelations have had a huge impact on University of Louisville's storied basketball program.
Powell said that from 2010-2014, she put on 22 parties with strippers at the request of ex-assistant Andre McGee in the dormitory where players and recruits stayed. She was asked whether the players knew the parties were set up by a UofL staff member.
"Of course, they would always come in Andre's room," she told Jones. "They would look at dancers, laugh, joke, and then leave."
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Powell said she earned between $300 to $400 per party.
"It wasn't like I was trying to get rich doing it," she said. "I was just asked to do it. I knew Andre wasn't big time. Wasn't like dealing with head coaches. Yeah, (the) price would have been more if dealing with (head coaches)."
The NCAA report specifically said it could not conclude that Pitino was aware of stripteases and prostitution as described in Katina Powell's book.
Wednesday night, Pitino released a letter to his booster club, arguing that the NCAA penalties for a recruiting scandal are too severe, and claiming he never knew about the parties. Powell asked how could he not.
"A blind man is not going to let something go unknown for four years," she said. "A blind man is going to know that smells, something in that corner smells and it's been smelling that way for four years for a long time, someone needs to get on that.
"The music was so extreme. The coming and going and everything. Somebody would have to say something."
Powell said McGee would call her to arrange the parties.
"He would tell me it's party time," she said. "We need the girls. We got recruits. We need to get it poppin'. Basically it's time to turn it up."
Powell claimed the parties were organized at times in exchange for cash and other times game tickets, on the floor, given to her by McGee from an envelope.
She also said friends encouraged her to tell her story. She said she first tried to tell the NCAA, but said she was hung up on twice. So she called an Indianapolis publisher whose company released Breaking Cardinal Rules.
"He told me that if I told him the story, gave him the chance to write the story, print the story, my life would change tremendous, tremendously," Powell said. "I would not be escorting anymore. My lifestyle would change. And it was a lot and I believed it."
She said she is no longer escorting, and is now in school studying criminal justice and spending time with her four young grandchildren. Powell said that at times, she fears for her safety because she's received threats.
"I can pull up at a restaurant right now and the whole staff, from the cook to everybody, will run to the window like, 'That's her, that's her,' so I'm very careful about what I do," Powell said.
The NCAA's ruling could force UofL to forfeit its 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four run.
"I really don't have an opinion when it comes to that banner," Powell said. "Do I feel bad? Yes, there are days that I feel bad. Some people ask if I have regrets. I have mixed emotions about it. I really can't say I have regrets because I did it. But do I have bad days? Do I feel bad at times? Yes I do, there are times I feel bad."
From the beginning, Pitino has questioned the validity of Powell's story, and asks if the parties were really the way she describes, why pictures from them never turned up on social media.
"There were no phones," Powell said. "If you had a phone out, the party stops. It stops. And I had no problem stopping it. I was already paid but had no problem stopping the party."
WAVE 3 News contacted the University of Louisville following Powell's recent comments, and the school said it stands by the letter written by Dr. Postel.
Powell said she is currently working on a second book and has been approached about a movie deal.
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