Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is adamantly denying having any involvement in an alleged prostitution scandal rocking the school's basketball program ... claiming he's completely shocked by the allegations.
The University has already launched an investigation into allegations spelled out in a book penned by self-described madam Katina Powell ... in which she claims U of L staff paid her more than $10,000 for dancing and sex services from her stable of escorts.
In her book, Powell singles out ex-Louisville staffer Andre McGee -- a graduate assistant who became director of basketball operations -- claiming he was the point man who paid Powell.
Powell claims her stable of dancers included her own daughters -- and they would perform for Louisville players at various off-campus locations from 2010 to 2014.
After the dances, Powell claims she would negotiate a separate fee for the players to have sex with the women.
As for Pitino, he just addressed the media and denied any involvement in the alleged sex plot -- adding, "It's a mild understatement that I'm shocked at these allegations."
Pitino says he spoke with McGee about the allegations -- and McGee denied everything. Still he added, "If Andre is a part in this in any way, I've got to forgive him."
There's more ... Pitino says, "I'm shocked over this. My heart's just taken out of my body and broken."
"I venture to say that not one person came here because of these women."
4:35PM PT -- The University of Missouri-Kansas City -- where McGee currently coaches -- just released a statement announcing McGee has been placed on administrative leave. School officials say they've initiated a review into the UL prostitution allegations.