NCAA suspends Louisville coach Rick Pitino for five ACC games

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — NCAA suspends Louisville coach Rick Pitino for five ACC games after escorts scandal investigation

A former men’s basketball staffer is alleged to have hired strippers to entertain players and recruits.

The school met with the governing body in April and expects to hear about its penalties from the Committee on Infractions. Louisville is alleged to have committed four violations, with Pitino charged with failing to monitor former assistant Andre McGee. The Hall of Fame coach and the school vowed to fight that allegation.

Louisville self-imposed several sanctions last year, including a postseason ban along with reducing scholarships and recruiting visits by assistant coaches. The NCAA could accept those measures or add penalties, including a possible suspension of Pitino.

Former escort Katina Powell alleged in a 2015 book that McGee had hired her and other escorts to strip and have sex with Louisville recruits and players.

The allegations led to several investigations, including one by Louisville’s athletic department in February 2016 that ultimately determined violations did occur. It imposed a postseason ban along with reducing scholarships and recruiting visits by coaches. The school participated in last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Tournaments.

McGee did not cooperate with the NCAA investigation. Both Pitino and Louisville vowed to fight the charge that Pitino failed to monitor McGee when the coach and school officials met with the Committee on Infractions earlier this spring.

Pitino declined to discuss the specifics of the hearing with the NCAA in April, which he said was “one of the most difficult days, and I don’t want to relive any of those hours.”

Pitino has said he had no knowledge of the activities described in Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” Besides reiterating its allegation that the Hall of Famer failed to monitor McGee’s conduct, the NCAA said it in its earlier response to the school that Pitino didn’t seem to want to know what his assistant was doing.

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