2015 University of Louisville basketball sex scandal
The 2015 University of Louisville basketball sex scandal involved National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules violations committed by the University of Louisville (U of L) men's basketball program. The scandal centered around improper benefits given by former Director of Basketball Operations and Louisville player Andre McGee to prospective players and former Louisville players.
In October 2015, Yahoo! Sports reported that the University of Louisville was investigating allegations made by Katina Powell, who described herself as a madam. Powell alleged that she had been paid several thousand dollars from 2010 to 2014 to provide women to dance for and have sex with Cardinals players and recruits. Many of the alleged parties took place at Minardi Hall, the men's basketball dormitory; others took place at off-campus locations. The allegations came out in advance of the release of Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, a book written by Powell and Indianapolis-based investigative journalist Dick Cady. In the book, Powell named Andre McGee, a former Cardinals assistant and in 2015 the team's director of operations, as having paid her for these services.
McGee graduated from Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, California in 2005. McGee enrolled at Louisville in the fall of 2005 where he played for the Cardinals until he graduated in 2010. As the starting point guard his senior year in 2009, he led the Cardinals to the Big East regular season and tournament championships, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and advancing to the Elite Eight. He also helped U of L to the Elite Eight in 2008 and started 57 career games for the Cardinals.
After his playing career at Louisville, McGee served as a program assistant and Director of Basketball Operations under Rick Pitino from 2010 to 2014. It was during this time that McGee committed NCAA violations by acquiring and paying for striptease dances and sexual acts for prospective players and players on his current roster. The violations occurred from December 2010 until June 2014.
The NCAA found the University of Louisville's head coach, Rick Pitino, guilty of a Level I charge. The NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11page:19; require the Head Coach to monitor all recruiting activities to ensure that they are complied with. Pitino failed to monitor that Operations Director Andre McGee complied with the NCAA rules, when Pitino gave McGee recruiting responsibilities.
The NCAA found the University of Louisville's Basketball Operations Director McGee engaged in unethical conduct and failed to cooperate when he refused to participate in interviews or provide relevant information to the enforcement staff during the investigation, which constituted violations of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 19.2.3, and 10.1-(a).page:16
Though he was set to be suspended for the first five games of the ACC season in 2017–18, Pitino was ultimately fired before the season started.
The program also had 123 wins from December 2010 to April 2014 vacated, including the 2012 Final Four and the 2013 national championship. The Cardinals were the first to have a men's basketball national title vacated by the NCAA. They will also face a monetary fine for money the university made from advertisements during the Final Fours and National Championship.
The University filed an appeal, but the NCAA upheld the findings and punishments on February 20, 2018.
On September 30, 2019, a group of players on the 2012–13 team who were not involved in the rules violations settled a lawsuit they had filed against the NCAA. Most of the settlement was confidential, but one portion was authorized to be revealed—while Louisville's team records (including the national title) remained vacated, all honors and statistics for these players were restored. Most notably, Luke Hancock, a plaintiff in the suit, was once again officially recognized as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 Final Four.
- "University of Louisville Public Infractions Decision June 15, 2017" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
- Forde, Pat (October 2, 2015). "Louisville investigating allegations basketball staffer paid for prostitutes for players, recruits". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Tracy, Marc (February 5, 2016). "Louisville Men's Basketball Team Is Out of Post-Season". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2016.
- Graves, Gary B. (February 20, 2018). "Louisville must vacate basketball title, NCAA denies appeal". ABC News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2018-02-21. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
- Note: During the period of the infraction, the NCAA rules were changed, so the rule number designations changed. Pitino was found guilty of violating one rule whose designation number changed. https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/former-louisville-operations-director-acted-unethically-head-coach-failed-monitor
- Story, Mark (February 20, 2018). "For U of L and Pitino, vacated NCAA title an ever-lasting stain on reputations". Lexington Herald-Ledger. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- Norlander, Matt (February 20, 2018). "Louisville isn't the 1st NCAA champion to vacate a championship -- here are the rest". CBSSports.com. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- "Ex-Louisville players' stats, honors restored as part of NCAA settlement". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.