Forgrave: McGee’s resignation lends no clarity to Louisville sex scandal
There was no answer at Andre McGee’s apartment door earlier this week. There was silence coming from his phone, too. For weeks, there has been nothing but silence from the man who is the epicenter of the storm engulfing Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and Louisville’s basketball program.
The silence resonating on the other side of McGee’s door at his fourth-floor apartment in a historic renovated downtown loft — less than a mile from the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City — was finally broken on Friday in the form of a terse 28-word statement McGee sent to his athletic director at UMKC, where he was hired as an assistant coach after serving on Pitino’s Louisville staff.
"The university deserves a full-time assistant coach and I am not able to provide that to the basketball team while the false allegations against me are being investigated," McGee wrote in a letter he submitted to UMKC athletics director Carla Wilson.
The letter was a resignation. But McGee’s first public words since a Louisville madam published a book earlier this month, which alleges that McGee organized strip shows and sex with prostitutes for Louisville basketball players and recruits at an on-campus basketball dorm, lent absolutely zero clarity to the story that’s dominating college basketball and much of sports.
All indications are that something bad happened at Louisville. Pitino has not denied Katina Powell’s allegations that she accepted more than $10,000 over four years to organize 22 of these parties. Multiple reports, including ESPN’s exhaustive "Outside the Lines" investigation earlier this week, have corroborated the gist of Powell’s allegations.
The main question now centers on what Rick Pitino knew was going on under his watch. It will determine whether the ongoing investigations at Louisville and the NCAA will lead to a stern suspension and stiff penalties for the basketball program — or whether the investigations will end Pitino’s illustrious career. On Thursday, Pitino reiterated on his website that he will not resign as Louisville’s coach.
McGee has been AWOL since "Breaking Cardinal Rules" was published. UMKC, where he worked under another former Pitino employee, Kareem Richardson, had placed him under administrative leave while it conducted an investigation. He wasn’t picking up his phone. He wasn’t answering the door at his apartment.
But McGee is perhaps the only person who knows the full breadth of the alleged prostitute scandal at one of the nation’s top basketball programs.
"There’s only one person who can speak on this matter, and that’s Andre McGee," Pitino told Yahoo Sports and ESPN earlier this week. "He owes it to his teammates, coaches and the university to tell the truth."
"If he’s done the wrong things, he needs to own up to it," Pitino continued. "If he hasn’t, he needs to say it’s a lie."
In his resignation letter, McGee refers to the whole scandal as a "lie". This seems far-fetched, given the mountains of evidence piling up against him.
But what we don’t have any evidence of is whether this was a one-man rogue operation or if it went deeper. If it was solely McGee, then his career in college basketball is over. If it was bigger than that, then a whole lot more careers might be over, including Pitino’s.
So I’d like to add to Pitino’s plea for McGee to tell the truth with my own: Answer the door, Andre. Don’t just tell the truth to the NCAA and to Louisville. Tell the truth to all of us. And do it soon. Now.
Because the longer you hide behind your door, the worse it looks — not just for you, and for Pitino, and for Louisville, but for the entire game of college basketball, which is being dirtied not just by your alleged actions but also by your continued silence.