Louisville Basketball and hookers – First scandal I just don’t care about

by Kent Sterling

Katina Powell made $10K, Louisville recruits were pleased, Rick Pitino wins.  "Where's the crime?" is the question Louisville fans are asking.

Katina Powell made $10K, Louisville recruits were pleased, Rick Pitino wins. “Where’s the crime?” is the question Louisville fans are asking.

We tend to get high and mighty about college sports – like it should be pure, chaste, and reflective of our best guess as to how teenagers should act.  The coaches should be priests and the athletes alter boys.

Those expectations are ridiculous.  For a group to whom the word “No” has rarely been used, much is provided.

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There is a recently published book about Louisville Basketball recruits and players being provided services by prostitutes.  It’s a good book by self-described entrepreneur (prostitute) Katina Powell and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dick Cady with lots of details about a basketball program that secured commitments from recruits with strip shows plus side deals.

We tend to be outraged by cheating and bad behavior from universities trusted to educate kids, but in this case I am oddly off-put by the fact that Powell kept detailed notes.  Is there no honor among “entrepreneurs”?

I mean, what has the world come to when a prostitute finishes her transaction and then sprints home to chronicle the details?  If a man (or woman) can’t trust the discretion of a prostitute, the entire sex for cash economy is in dire peril.

While a college basketball program should be punished for an emissary (the director of basketball operations in this instance) passing out stacks of singles to recruits for tipping strippers or negotiating side deals for sex, are we really so surprised by any of this?  Showing recruits a good time has been a part of college recruiting for a century, and female companions have been a major part of that good time.

Louisville is going to be severely penalized because the NCAA cannot look the other way at the program that funds a prostitution ring while it smites those with simple academic improprieties.  Rick Pitino will survive because Louisville is a town that loves basketball success more than it loathes prostitution.

This scandal gives those with a yearning to claim the high moral ground an opportunity to scream and holler about the hideous terrain of college athletics, but if anything, Louisville’s tactics of entertainment were more reasonable than those employed by many other programs that use female students as escorts for recruits (and I mean escort in the literal sense; not as a euphemism for prostitute).

Talk to many basketball and football recruits off the record, and they tell stories of recruiting weekends that sound like a dream come true for a teenager.

One detail of the Powell book that made me uneasy was the revelation that parents and guardians of recruits were provided women for sex, which is a level of creepy behavior that is nauseating.  To leverage a son’s basketball talent for 15 minutes with a pro is as wretched an example of parenting as Powell’s admission that she sent her daughters to entertain at these parties for Louisville basketball recruits and players.

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This is the type of salacious story we enjoy crowing about – using it to show just how outraged we can become at those who cross a line that is crossed much more often than any of us like to admit.

Because Pitino wins at Louisville, the fans, boosters, and administration will wait for this storm to pass, and life will go on as usual once the punishment levied by the NCAA is satisfied.

In the meantime, the most troubling aspect of this story for thousands of men in Louisville is that Powell kept detailed notes, and the University of Louisville’s basketball program was not her only source of income.  Somewhere in Powell’s care are notebooks filled with names of men who would stand to benefit greatly from Powell’s discretion.

Pitino will survive.  Powell will get her 30 pieces of silver for providing a journal for readers to enjoy.  Men in Louisville will sweat out Powell’s next effort at nonfiction publishing.

5 thoughts on “Louisville Basketball and hookers – First scandal I just don’t care about

  1. Warren in TN

    Academics scandal at UNC, glossed over by most of the mainstream media, NCAA slow as molasses in doing anything (and most likely never will stick UNC*** with the penalties it deserves (death) for the most egregious college scandal I can remember. If not the worst, it certainly ranks as the worst ACADEMIC scandal in NCAA history, at least, in my book. (And I’m taking it easy on UNCheat)

    Louisville on the other hand? Well, Coach Rick A. Pitino (forevermore stuck with my alphabet soup moniker C.R.A.P.) and the simultaneous use of his name and the words “moral high ground” was a ship that got lost at sea a long time ago. Louisville lost any claim to any moral high ground during C.R.A.P.’s infamous Karen Sypher scandal when they had (and, ironically, STILL have) a morals clause in his contract to “protect” the university in case of a lapse in moral (and ethical) judgment by the coach.

    It makes you wonder what they thought when they put that in when they first hired him, eh?

    But I digress …..

    I guess the Emergency “Break Glass in case of Moral scandal” glass either got broken a long time ago, and they’re afraid to cut themselves on the shards left over from that debaucle, or they used all the flame retardant in the fire extinguisher the last time. Either way, I guess all I can say “pffft” when it comes to Louisville and C.R.A.P. I can echo your sentiments on not really caring, but I will only go that far.

    I’ll play along and assume the NCAA will have to let the “C.R.A.P. hit the fan” and then see where UOfLOL stands after that stinking mess gets cleaned up. (with jurich , you know they’ll be in good hands, right?!?!? – rhetorical and sarcastic question, no need for a response)

    I’ll be content with staying in a good, positive vibe and good karmic zone where UK came off a historic 38-1 run that evoked UNLV’s run years ago, and how close it all was in enjoying another great ride during the Coach Cal years. Looks good this year, too. (next year too)

    Oh, BTW, it must really chap your buttocks a guy like Coach Cal got recognized and presented with a hall of fame membership card. (*wink*)
    Dern it, the irony abounds, doesn’t it? But I’m not here spreading any ill-will with my comments, please don’t take things that way.

    I’m just a satisfied Big Blue Nation fan that is loyal to my team and the program. UK’s been through scandals and survived. Regardless of what will happen to UNCheat or UofLOL, they will survive, too. And I really hope they, after being drug through the mud and shown as the fake cheaters and sleazy programs they have come to be under C.R.A.P. and Cryin Roy’, have their collective Carolina’ Way and C1L4 egos taken down a notch or two by sports writers all over the country.

    Well, I can hope for some honestly and sincere wagging of the finger when it all comes to pass, can’t I? (Hell I’m a Kentucky fan, I know it will never go down that way, but again, I digress)

    It’s about time that their coaches “I didn’t know anything about it” denials have been shown as a sure fire way to have the NCAA (who has now set enough precedent to use that single item) to crack down on them as individuals. And that doesn’t even mention what should happen to the universities.

    I’m sure they’ll not be hit half as hard as UK was in the past, hell, the NCAA may get so mad at C.R.A.P and Roy and punish Cleveland State some more.

    Sounds about right. *cyncism rant off*

    I’ll just take in another happy year and enjoy the ride and the simple joy of watching great college basketball being performed on the court while watching my Kentucky Wildcats, and here’s to hoping even IU can have a decnt year and make things interesting.

    The greatest irony of all is how well Kentucky is playing in this, what I’ve come to term as “the Third golden age” of Kentucky basketball. Irony within irony – that the second “golden age” was the revival C.R.A.P. created when he came to Kentucky after we got punished by THAT scandal.

    But in the end this year, I would enjoy seeing a UK-IU matchup in the NCAA Tournament this year. Bring the college basketball season ON, I’m ready!

    Hope you and all yours are all doing well, Kent. That also goes out to all your readers I enjoy reading on your site. Things are good here, finally got on disability (disability adjudication judge said, after hearing all the trouble I’ve had from my brain cancer said :”You deserve disability benefits as much as anyone that ever walked through that door.”)

    So at least I have some financial stability after all these struggling years, and can get some decent medical attention finally acquiring the insurance that comes with disability. I’m doing ok.

    “Stabilized” is the word that comes to mind from my perspective, for those curious to know about me. I sincerely hope everyone here is doing fine, and may the blessings above smile upon you.

    I’ll try to make it back here more often, I’ve been too much a stranger dealing with the changes here, but they’ve been of the good variety.

    I hope we all can have a good college basketball season!

    Many thanks,
    Warren Jacobs

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      So happy your financial worries have been lessened if not eradicated. As for Kentucky, I think you know I hope the kids enjoy their time in Lexington, however brief that may be. There is a lot of optimism around here for the Indiana program – optimism I do not generally share. I want to see them defend at a high level – not hear about how they will – before I get excited.

      As for Pitino, the only reason I’m not screaming is that he is delivering on the promise and expectations of his boss and the boosters. If a hooker convinces a recruit who can win games to pledge Louisville, Pitino is fulfilling the his job requirements. To hold Pitino responsible ignores the bigger issue.

      All the best –


  2. Pauly Balst

    God bless you WArren! So glad to hear you are doing well. Keep up the good fight. Your battle puts sports in perspective. Take care

    1. Warren in TN

      Hey, thanks for a reply, Pauly ! Hope all is well with you and your friends. I’m glad I’ve found a little more time to read some of my favorite sports websites again.

      Looks like things should really be interesting for IU this year, I think CTC may very well get IU some truly good progress and hopefully make a deep NCAAT run too, all while having a good season everyone can enjoy.

      It sucks to look forward to a new year only for it to be a disappointment for wrong reasons. Seen enough of that being a UK fan, but sometimes it goes with the territory. I’m thinking all of us that stop by here on Kent’s site will have a enjoyable ride for the whole year and have a good finish, even if it doesn’t end in a title.

      We all should know by now it’s not finishing with a title that makes a season great, or even good, but how we take everything in stride as it goes along from start to finish.

      Ya’, know, as I stop to think about what I just said, that’s a hellofa good way to look at life, too, ain’t it? hehehe

      Mental note for they !

      Take care, enjoy! Great to hear from Ya’ !!!

      1. Kent Sterling Post author

        Warren – I am quite a ways from the wise perspective you suggest – at least about Indiana. I feel strongly that Butler and Purdue are the types of program Indiana should become. About life, I enjoy each day as it comes. About Indiana, I have serious and unwavering misgivings about the direction – or lack of direction – of the program.

        As I’ve always said, your contributions class the place up.


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