Former escort Katina Powell is “absolutely” the author of the journals that serve as the basis for a book alleging a former University of Louisville basketball staffer hired strippers and prostitutes to entertain recruits, her co-author says.
Dick Cady, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, said suggestions by Louisville men’s basketball Coach Rick Pitino that Powell didn’t write the journals—which cover about four years—were an attempt to deflect attention away from her accusations during a press conference in which he acknowledged something “scurrilous” did occur.
“There’s no doubt she wrote the journals, absolutely no doubt,” Cady said.
In the press conference Friday—in which Pitino spoke about the book for the first time publicly in months—the coach alluded to a meeting between University of Louisville officials and IBJ Book Publishing, which released the book in October. Pitino, who was not in the meeting, said a representative of IBJ Book Publishing said Powell “can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book.”
Pitino then, talking about the journals, said, “There was no four-year record. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
But IBJ Book Publishing Director Patricia Keiffner said there’s no doubt Powell authored the journals and that she’s fully capable of the writing they contain.
“Her journals speak for themselves,” Keiffner said. “She can put two sentences together.”
Cady said he doesn’t recall any comments in the meeting with Louisville officials that would have implied Powell did not write the journals, which detail her activities at the university’s Billy Minardi Hall, where basketball players lived. The meeting was intended to give University of Louisville officials the opportunity to provide a response to be included in the book.
Powell is “not a bad writer,” Cady said. Then he added, “Whether she could write a complete book, that’s debatable.”
IBJ Book Publishing, a sister company to IBJ Media, hired Cady to interview her and others involved in the story and help organize the journal entries into a book titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”
In it, Powell says she helped provide women to strip for and have sex with Louisville basketball players and recruits during 22 parties from 2010 to 2014. Many of those parties took place at Minardi Hall. Powell claims former Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee requested the strippers and prostitutes and organized the parties. Powell said McGee forked over thousands of dollars in exchange for the women’s stripping and prostitution services.
Since the book’s release, CBS Sports and ESPN have reported that some former players and recruits have confirmed at least some of the story. The NCAA and a grand jury are investigating the allegations and a group of women who say they were identified in the book are suing Powell and IBJ Book Publishing.
The book does not accuse Pitino of knowing about the activities and he has repeatedly denied any involvement. But he said on Friday that he has come to believe one person did do “some scurrilous things.”
“The only thing I don’t know, I don’t know why he did it,” Pitino said. “I just, for the life of me, can’t figure out—he knew better, he was taught better, by his parents and by me.” He did not name McGee.