The NCAA is dropping the hammer over the Louisville basketball prostitution scandal -- charging head coach Rick Pitino with failing to monitor his program ... and he could face suspension.
The NCAA launched an investigation into allegations made last year by self-proclaimed madam Katina Powell -- who said U of L staffers paid thousands of dollars for dancing and sex services from her stable of women.
The NCAA determined Powell was telling the truth -- and claim former director of basketball operations Andre McGee paid more than $5,400 for adult entertainment and sex acts for at least 17 UL players and recruits from 2010 to 2014.
McGee was hit with 2 charges -- including arranging the entertainment and failing to cooperate with the NCAA investigation, both considered "severe" breaches of conduct.
As for Pitino -- he was charged with failure to frequently spot-check the program -- including looking for red flags and asking pointed questions ... basically failing to monitor the program.
Pitino's alleged violation is also considered "severe" and could result in a suspension.
A 3rd basketball staffer was also charged with failure to cooperate.
The University is backing Pitino -- claiming it believes McGee acted alone and no other school official had knowledge of his actions.