Woe is us. The incalculable collateral damage from the University of Louisville sex-scandalized basketball program is spreading like STDs at a crack house. Former prospects who publicly confessed that they humped a hooker are straining to explain wherefore to their girlfriends and mothers — between frantic mandates to get tested. They are forever tainted by a stench putrid enough to defy a tomato soup bath. The rest of us want to shower — alone.
Ex recruits’ moms are looking askance at their husbands, wondering if they were among the guardians allegedly seduced by Katina Powell, author of “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” or her dubiously barely legal daughters (happy belated Mother‘s Day). Amid the nuclear fallout, romantic relationships will disintegrate while Cardinal fans agonize and UofL officials age weeks daily.
On a whirlwind tour to promote her screw-and-tell on TV, the shameless slattern — a dead ringer for the decadent Kit Kat Club emcee in “Cabaret” — is being treated more like Mary Poppins. It’s symptomatic of a sick society that rewards fame and infamy alike. When the smoke clears and the all the carnage is laid bare, inquiring minds will want to know, “Katina, was it all worth your crummy 10 percent?” If she wreaked all this wreckage for a measly one-tenth of the profits, then she needs a pimp less greedy than she.
Reminder of last time’s bumper-sticker brainchild (still in full force): “Don’t buy books by whores (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)” — and this week’s inspiration: “Don’t screw a shrew.”
Since my last offering, former UofL director of basketball operations, Andre McGee — who spearheaded the scandal, according to Powell — has quit as assistant hoops coach at the University of Missouri — Kansas City. Powell alleges, “Andre was the one who always had the money. Passed out the money. Made it rain. Made the deals. Paid for the deals. He would start the music and usually the girls would come out one by one.”
While Powell’s hills are alive with the sound of music (cha-ching!), the Cardinal faithful walk through the valley of the shadow of suspension.
McGee’s attorney, Scott C. Cox of Louisville, vehemently denies his client’s culpability. But his resignation means that he can tell NCAA investigators to bug off (d’ya reckon he will?). It’s a fair bet we’ll hear bupkis (or “kiss my bup”) from McGee unless he’s subpoenaed to testify by a grand jury or trial lawyers.
The good news is that there’s a lawsuit; the bad news is that it’s a train wreck. A UofL student last Thursday sued Powell and her publisher, claiming that the book has devalued her degree, hobbled her job prospects and ability to repay student loans. The civil suit seeks class-action status on behalf of the student body, monetary damages and a jury trial.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Nader George Shunnarah, told WDRB-TV that Powell “doesn’t have the right to profit from prostitution. It’s illegal. Kyle Hornback has taken a stand that this individual does not have the privilege of damaging UofL through illegal acts.” The suit asks that proceeds to Powell be withheld in the Jefferson Circuit Court Receiver’s Office while it is pending.
“This is just silliness,” First Amendment expert Jon Fleischaker, an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl, told WAVE-TV. “I would be shocked if this thing goes anywhere.”
“This does not affect the value of their education. This does not affect the value of their degree. This is just about basketball.” He added that Powell has neither been charged nor convicted of a crime — and furthermore, the courts can’t “punish a person for writing the truth.”
Other legal luminaries doubt that Powell could be successfully prosecuted based solely on the sensational claims in her book. Unfortunately, it appears that even an autobiographical narrative does not carry the same legal weight (or liability) of sworn testimony.
Powell is outraged by the very notion. “I was asked to do this,” she told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “Why would I be the only one facing jail time for something I didn’t ask for? That’s not fair.”
Neither is “Ho and Tell.”
Katina, lest you’re inclined to blame me for writing this column, know that I was asked to do it. And yeah, it was worth it. I enjoyed it so much, I would have done it for free. What’s more, if Coach Rick Pitino knew about any of this, I’ll eat your deflated pom-poms.