Katina Powell: ‘I Never Saw Rick’

Katina Powell, author of “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss the most controversial journal in college athletics. Powell, a former escort, claims she participated in nearly two dozen stripper parties at Louisville’s Billy Minardi Hall from 2010 to 2014. She said that the shows, which allegedly included sex, were paid for by former Louisville graduate assistant Andre McGee.

“I had already did a show at Minardi Hall and then I was introduced to Andre,” Powell recalled on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “And then Andre asked me would I be interested in coming back (and) doing more shows for recruits, and I said yes. It was fun at the beginning. It was a nice experience to get to meet the players and have fun, introduce the girls to players and to make money. It was fun in the beginning. But it started to be just a little too overbearing toward the end. Andre and whoever Coach Mike is started asking for things that were just ridiculous. They wanted white girls with big butts and breasts that could do tricks. They wanted Asian girls. It was beginning to be too much what they were asking for. The demands was too high.”

Powell, whose daughters also performed at Minardi Hall, believes Rick Pitino knew about the parties.

“That’s just my opinion,” she said. “Also, Andre telling me that Rick knew. I mean, those were his words out of his mouth. When I asked him did Pitino know, he said, ‘Rick knows everything.’ So those were the words out of Andre’s mouth himself.”

Powell said she contacted the NCAA about her story but that the NCAA didn’t want to talk to her. She recently stated that she would talk to the NCAA now if it promises not to use what she says against her in a court of law, even though the NCAA doesn’t have subpoena power.

“I did not know that at the time,” she said.

Powell said that she never met Pitino during her shows.

“No, I never saw Rick, never talked to Rick, never exchanged money with Rick,” she said. “Nothing that I did was ever with Rick Pitino. I can say that.”

Powell, who said she was motivated financially to expose Louisville’s program, was asked how the public has treated her since her story came out.

“Well, I’m going to always demand respect,” she said. “I’m not going to let anyone disrespect me regardless to the situation. But I get people that stare. A lot of people have been really nice and told me to hold my head up, keep my head up and everything will work out. It’s been okay. I can’t say that it’s been too rough.”

Powell said that she and the other performers did not allow anyone to use cell phones during shows.

“We didn’t use cell phones as far as anything negative or anything that was inappropriate,” she said. “Towards the end is when we started taking pictures of the dorms, the bathrooms. We just started taking pictures of everything – except for anything, like I said, that was distasteful. We didn’t want to do that.”

Powell, who said she felt like she was part of Louisville’s recruiting pitch, has no qualms about the potential trouble that the program or Pitino could be in as a result.

“I mean, I have no control over Rick’s career,” Powell said. “I have no control of that. All I have control of is my part and what I’ve done. I’m sorry. I have no control of what they do to Rick at this point.”

Powell said she does not have any regrets about anything and was asked if the money she will make from the book and media tour has been worth it.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s worth it.”

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