IU claims to not be involved in Louisville escort scandal
By Zach Osterman, IndyStar
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Oct. 2, 2015)– An email forwarded by an IU Athletics administrator appears to have alerted the University of Louisville in August to a possible scandal surrounding its men’s basketball program. News of the scandal broke publicly Friday: claims in a new book that a former Louisville Cardinals basketball staffer paid escorts to have sexual relations with players and recruits during his time at the university, according to our partners at the Indianapolis Star.
In an email exchange released to the media Friday night by IU’s sports information office, Michael Maurer – an IU law school alumnus for whom the IU-Bloomington law school is named – contacted IU Deputy Director of Athletics Scott Dolson, asking to be put in touch with Dolson’s counterpart at Louisville.
The email exchange started by Maurer sought identification of a Louisville player in a photograph. A few days later, before receiving a reply from Louisville, Maurer gave a heads-up: the identification was wanted for a book that wouldn’t reflect well on the university.
Maurer is also chairman of IBJ Media Corp. in Indianapolis, and the book is being published by IBJ Book Publishing LLC.
Here’s the email exchange released Friday by IU:
“Scott, Do you know your counterpart at Uof L?” Maurer’s email read. “I have a photo and I need a player ID. Thanks.”
Dolson forwarded the email, dated Aug. 28, to Kevin Miller, an executive senior associate athletic director at Louisville.
“Kevin – Hope all is well!!” Dolson wrote. “Below is an email from one of our all-time great IU benefactors Mickey Maurer….he needs some assistance in identifying one of your players in a photo and I told Mickey that I would connect him to you in hopes either you or someone in your department can help. Thanks in advance for your help Kevin and keep in touch!!!”
Miller then involved Kenny Klein, Louisville senior associate athletic director for media relations, in the email chain on Aug. 29, saying Klein could help identify the player.
Two days later, Maurer sent a blanket reply back stating that it “turns out this is for a book that will not be favorable to the UofL image. I understand if you don’t choose to assist but would be grateful if you do.”
Dolson responded to directly Miller less than five minutes later, apologizing.
“Not sure what this is but it blindsided me,” Dolson wrote. “Please tell Kenny to handle however he feels appropriate.”
The book could be released as soon as Saturday, according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Speaking with The Star Friday night, IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass said that Dolson acted without knowing about the book or the allegations.
“Scott Dolson put two and two together, and realized that he had been asked by Mickey Maurer to connect him with his counterpart at Louisville about a photo, but it seemed like an innocent, innocuous thing,” Glass said. “Mickey says that this is somehow going to reflect badly on Louisville, which kind of took everybody by surprise.”
Standing behind Dolson, one of his most prominent administrators, Glass said he believes the emails “speak for themselves.”
“It appears that we connected Mickey Maurer with Louisville, not knowing the subject matter,” he said.
Reached Friday night, Maurer flatly rejected the suggestion his company published the book because he’s an IU supporter. “To say that I was motivated by being a big fan of Indiana is total lunacy.”
Mauerer also said IU did not know about the book when he contacted the school for help in reaching an official in Louisville’s athletic department.
Indiana’s involvement was first mentioned Friday by Tom Jurich, Glass’ counterpart at Louisville, who said in a teleconference with local media that Louisville had first been alerted to the allegations by an IU Athletics official.
Jurich was speaking by phone at that teleconference, with media in the room. Klein was present as well, relaying questions to Jurich from media members, and he said Dolson “had no idea what the book or picture was about,” according to WDRB’s Eric Crawford.
Louisville issued a statement that said it learned of the book and its allegations in late August and immediately launched its investigation and notified the NCAA enforcement staff. Louisville and the NCAA have been in “regular communication,” according to the statement.
The former staffer named in the book as the person who allegedly connected players with escorts is Andre McGee, who was director of basketball operations for four years.
Indiana and Louisville are scheduled to begin a three-year series in men’s basketball next season, with the first meeting set to take place in Indianapolis.