Louisville coach Rick Pitino is charged by the NCAA with "failure to monitor" his basketball program in connection with lurid allegations of university officials providing cash and prostitutes who performed striptease and sex acts for at least 17 basketball recruits in the university's student dormitory.
Pitino faces a possible suspension and fine, but escaped a much harsher punishment from the NCAA.
In the NCAA notice of allegations (embedded below) released Thursday, Pitino and former director of basketball operations Andre McGee – pinned as the ringleader of the prostitute scandal in which women were paid to perform sexual acts with recruits – are named directly by Louisville avoided the more damning "lack of institutional control" charge.
The NCAA asserts that Pitino did not monitor McGee and failed to "spot check" and "actively look for red flags."
Louisville issued a statement from president Neville Pinto and athletic direction Tom Jurich and plans to dispute the charges formally.
"We believe that Mr. McGee acted furtively and note that the NOA does not indicate that any other university employee besides Mr. McGee had knowledge of these activities," the statement said. "We are confident in Coach Pitino and we know he is and always has been committed to NCAA compliance."
McGee did not participate in the NCAA investigation.
Pitino could face a multi-game suspension and fine. Last season, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse was penalized nine games.
Pitino came under intense criticism after Katina Powell, a paid "escort," wrote a book "Breaking Cardinal Rules" which detailed the payment for performances in the form of cash and game tickets. Powell identified McGee as the one who paid for sex with recruits and players in the players' dormitory, Minardi Hall.
The NCAA findings allege that McGee paid at least $5,400 to the prostitutes and 17 or more recruits were involved in what is deemed "impermissible inducements" in the form of cash gifts and payments to the prostitutes for striptease shows and sex acts performed in the Minardi student athlete dormitory – during both unofficial and official paid recruit visits.
Pitino has repeated he had no knowledge of the activity, but the NCAA bylaws stipulate that the head coach is presumed responsible for actions within the program, a change implemented not long after Penn State was penalized for the felonious actions of child predator Jerry Sandusky.
Former assistant Brandon Williams is named in a third charge. He refused to cooperate with the NCAA investigation and did not turn over phone records.
Both former assistants are likely to be hit with the harshest penalties because the NCAA deems ethical misconduct the most egregious offenses.