A book released last month is raising a stink for fans of the University of Louisville.
Louisville is something of a legend in NCAA Men’s Basketball. They’ve made 40 NCAA tournament appearances, been to the Final Four ten times, and won the championship three times. Only eight schools have won the NCAA title more than twice. It’s safe to say basketball is a big deal in Louisville. Mess with the program at your own peril.
Katina Powell released a book called Breaking Cardinal Rules that alleges all kinds of sordid goings-on regarding the Cardinals’ basketball program. She claims that she provided escorts and sexual services to various recruits and players for Louisville from 2010 to 2014, and says she’s got the personal journals and phone records to back up what she wrote.
Louisville fans are outraged, and understandably so. Coach Rick Pitino is something of a god to many basketball fans, even those who don’t root for the Cardinals. He’s been at Louisville for fourteen years, and is under contract for another seven. Per Wikipedia:
Pitino holds the distinction of being the only recognized men’s coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four and the only coach in the NCAA to lead two different schools to an NCAA National Championship (Kentucky and Louisville). Pitino is also one of only four coaches in NCAA history (along with Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim) to take his school to the Final Four in four separate decades, one of only three coaches (along with Roy Williams and Jack Gardner) to have led two different programs to at least two Final Fours each, and one of only two coaches (along with Williams) to have led two different programs to at least three Final Fours each. In addition, Pitino has achieved a measure of success as an author and a motivational speaker. Pitino’s election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was officially announced on April 8 during the 2013 Final Four; he was inducted five months later.
To borrow a phrase, he’s kind of a big deal. I get that.
So Powell co-wrote a book that tells her version of what happens, and could paint the school’s storied basketball program, and by extension, Coach Pitino (she doesn’t claim that he had any knowledge of the situation) in a bad light. That’s ticked some people off, and caused them to utter some pretty disparaging remarks about Powell. Not surprisingly in this day and age, someone has sued her. Actually, several someones have sued her, and here’s my problem.
They’re suing Powell because her book tarnishes the school’s reputation, and the degrees issued by that school.
They’re not worried that the accusations are true. They’re upset that the accusations were made.
Never mind that five former players from that era have said that yes, we attended parties with strippers and escorts.
No, Kyle Hornback is upset that Powell made the accusations.
Powell has admitted that she wrote the book for the money (news flash – that’s what writers do), but also claims that the NCAA refused to listen to her claims in the first place.
But Hornback is worried about her school’s reputation, and her degree. In political science. I’m having a hard time figuring out how a political science degree can be affected by something that happens with the basketball team. She’s not worried that the body tasked with keeping college sports clean refused to handle a claim that recruiting rules were being violated. She’s not worried that her school was breaking those recruiting rules. She’s worried that the accusation was even made.
That suggests a really poor sense of priorities for Hornback, and the people who are supporting her. She’s seeking class status for the lawsuit, and wants the profits to go to UofL students whose “ability to pay back student loans…and…ability to get a job” have been damaged.
Hornback is seeking redress under a Kentucky statute aimed at compensating someone who was “intentionally harmed by the criminal conduct of someone else.” She’s going to have a hard time proving that she was harmed at all, since she’s a sophomore, and hasn’t yet received a degree. Then she’s going to have to prove that Powell intentionally harmed her, which is going to be even harder to prove.
And what of Dick Cady in all this? Isn’t he entitled to profit from his work in writing this book? Is he any different from Vincent Bugliosi, Truman Capote, Ann Rule, or any other true crime writer? Seizing all of the profits of the book would block Cady from money he’s legally entitled to.
The bigger problem to me is that Hornback is apparently ignoring Andre McGee’s part in all of this. According to Powell, he’s the one who contacted her, and he’s the one who paid her the money for the parties and the escorts. McGee is or should be considered just as guilty as Powell of promoting prostitution, and he had to have come up with $10,000 somewhere. Maybe Hornback should focus more on McGee and the damage he and his financial supporter have done to her school, and to the degree that she hasn’t received yet.