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Book claims UMKC assistant coach paid escort service to help recruit players while at Louisville

This March 14, 2009, file photo shows Louisville’s Andre McGee before he became a graduate assistant for the program. Louisville said Friday it has launched an investigation into allegations that former McGee paid an escort service to provide sex for recruits.
This March 14, 2009, file photo shows Louisville’s Andre McGee before he became a graduate assistant for the program. Louisville said Friday it has launched an investigation into allegations that former McGee paid an escort service to provide sex for recruits. The Associated Press

Andre McGee, a UMKC men’s basketball assistant coach, is said to have paid an escort service to help recruit players to Louisville while he worked for the basketball staff there, according to a new book.

The book, titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” is being published by Indianapolis-based IBJ Book Publishing LLC. Yahoo Sports first reported the allegations contained in the book.

According to the publisher, the book tells the story of Katina Powell, a Louisville stripper and escort who claims “she was hired repeatedly by former University of Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee to provide strippers and prostitutes during the campus visits of highly sought high school basketball players — and in some cases their fathers — as well as then-current Louisville players.”

UMKC placed McGee on administrative leave with pay.

“The University of Missouri-Kansas City is aware of today’s reports alleging wrongdoing by a current UMKC employee while he worked at another institution,” read a release from the school. “UMKC is taking the allegations seriously and we have already initiated our own review of the matter.”

On Saturday, UMKC coach Kareem Richardson said director of basketball operations Conner Hampton would serve as an assistant coach while McGee is on leave.

“The allegations reported yesterday are a matter of serious concern. Like many, I am eager to learn the results of the investigations underway by UMKC, Louisville and the NCAA but we all need to allow the process to run its course without interference,” Richardson said in a release by the school. “To keep our focus on school and basketball, we will not have further comment at this time.”

Scott Cox, an attorney retained by McGee, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that McGee “told us that he is not guilty of these allegations, that he has never supplied a prostitute or escort to a player or recruit at the University of Louisville.” Cox told the newspaper that McGee knew Powell but there “was certainly nothing nefarious or inappropriate at all” and that Powell “is interested in making money.”

The University of Louisville released a statement Friday that said it had hired Chuck Smrt, a private investigator from The Compliance Group in Lenexa, to review the book. Louisville learned of the book and its allegations in late August, according to the release, and hired Smrt and notified NCAA enforcement staff.

“The University of Louisville will continue its review in full cooperation and coordination with the NCAA and, if warranted, take any appropriate action,” the release read. “The allegations have been taken very seriously. In no way would anyone at this institution condone the alleged activities. To preserve the integrity of the review process, the university will withhold comment on any details until the review is concluded.”

McGee played for Louisville from 2005-09 before becoming a graduate assistant for two years and then director of basketball operations. He followed Richardson, an assistant at Louisville, to UMKC in 2014 after Richardson became the head coach of the Kangaroos following the Cardinals’ 2013 NCAA championship.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino told reporters Friday he didn’t believe the allegations.

“I spoke to Andre one time,” Pitino said. “I just asked him a few questions. I don’t want to speak for him. I’ll let Andre speak for himself. At no time did he own up to any of what’s being printed right now.

Asked if McGee denied the allegations, Pitino said, “Yes.”

Pitino said he learned of the allegation a month ago. He said he spoke to as many as 15 members of the program, players, coaches and staff members and none said they knew about this.

“To say I’m shocked, I just can’t fathom, can’t believe it,” Pitino said. “My heart’s been taken out of my body and is broken.”

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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