Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Friday night that he is stunned and highly skeptical about the allegations in a new book from IBJ Book Publishing that charges former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee paid an escort to provide sex for recruits.
“I am shocked over this,” Pitino said. “My heart is just taken out of my body and broken.”
Speaking at a hastily called press conference, Pitino and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich also appeared to try to cast doubt on the independence of the book publisher, Indianapolis-based IBJ Book Publishing, pointing out that it is owned by one of Indiana University’s biggest boosters, Michael Maurer. IBJ Book Publishing is a sister company of IBJ.
“I don’t know anything about the participants, other than that the law school is named after the person who published the book,” Pitino said, referring to the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.
Reached for reaction later Friday night, Maurer said: “Any allegation that I was motivated by my love of IU is ludicrous.”
Pitino said during the press conference that after he became aware of the allegations about a month ago, he talked to a dozen or so former assistant coaches and staffers—none of whom was able to corroborate any of the allegations.
He said he spoke once to McGee and that he denied the allegations. “I just asked him a few questions,” Pitino said. “I will let Andre speak for himself, but at no time did he own up to anything that is being printed.”
Pitino insisted that he has not reached a conclusion about what transpired. “If Andre was a part of this in any way, I have got to forgive him.”
Jurich said at the press conference that the university will investigate vigorously. Louisville retained Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group, which assists schools in NCAA cases, to review the allegations.
"We're an open book. We want to get to the bottom of it," Jurich said.