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Feb 05, 2016 04:28 PM EST

Louisville Basketball Self-Imposes Postseason Ban Amid NCAA Investigation


The University of Louisville announced it had self-imposed a postseason ban on its men's basketball team while multiple organizations investigate allegations of prostitution solicitation.

In addition to its own probe, the NCAA and law enforcement are investigating the claims of a former escort. In her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules," Katina Powell alleged a former Louisville basketball staff member paid her and other escorts to strip for recruits and, on occasion, have sex with them as well.

The Louisville Courier-Journal and other news outlets learned from unnamed sourced Friday the program was planning to self-impose a postseason ban, and the school made the formal announcement later in the day. Like any school that self-imposes sanctions before the NCAA completes its investigation, Louisville will hope they can lessen the blow by being proactive.

"This was not a team that wasn't going to make the tournament," UL head men's basketball coach said at the news conference. "It is substantial. It comes as a complete shock to me."

Pitino has staunchly denied having any knowledge one of his former staffers was allegedly hiring escorts to entertain players he was recruiting. In an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines, Powell implied Pitino was not entirely ignorant, saying the staffer, Andre McGee, told her Pitino "knows everything."

The NCAA may well penalize Pitino with their relatively new rule holding head coaches accountable for misconduct within their programs.

While it was not one of his best seasons at Louisville, Pitino's squad 18-4, sitting one game behind North Carolina for the ACC lead, and ranked 19th overall in the nation. SB Nation classified Louisville as an NCAA Tournament "lock," projecting them as a five-seed.

In fact, guards Damion Lee and Trey Lewis transferred to Louisville for the senior seasons primarily to have the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Pitino said the news of the postseason ban, which will also keep them out of the ACC Tournament, hit them the hardest.

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