I'm sure many of you have already heard about this, but its pretty fucking crazy.....

When Karen Sypher caught Rick Pitino's eye across the bar, the famous basketball coach motioned to the empty seat next to him.

"He had a glass of red wine ready for me," she told The Post.

"I recognized him. I was divorced and single" and decided to join the ex-Knick coach.

The chance encounter in a Louisville restaurant on Aug. 1, 2003, would end in the two having sex on a table -- and would change their lives forever.

She accused Pitino of rape -- an allegation he denies. Although cops declined to prosecute, the scandal caused him painful public humiliation and nearly cost him his job as a University of Louisville coach.

He had to make a public apology this week to his fans and family.

As for Sypher, she was accused of trying to extort him for as much as $10 million to keep quiet.

Those charges are still pending -- and her marriage is on the rocks.

The tawdry episode started quietly enough.

Pitino and his new friend, whose name was then Karen Cunagin, drank together and talked -- mostly about their kids.

"Being a typical mom, I said they were very good at sports," she recalled.

"So he got on the phone and talked to my children."

Sypher, who said she "hardly ever drinks," insists she got up to leave after finishing a third of her wine.

But the 56-year-old coach coaxed her to stay and have an "appetizer." The restaurant cleared out.

The two agree that they wound up precariously balanced on one of the leather barroom booths.

Sypher later claimed she had been raped. The coach insists it was consensual.

In fact, as Sypher drove Pitino home that night, she pleaded with him for free basketball tickets, he told police.

He gave her his card, told her to call and said he would get her tickets to Louisville games.

Two weeks later, she called Pitino and dropped a bombshell -- she was pregnant.

So the two devout Catholics discussed it.
Sypher insists Pitino forced her to have an abortion, even though she felt it was murder.

"This is all I have of the baby," she said yesterday, holding up the ultrasound picture taken the day of the procedure.

"I'll never forget. I wanted to have the baby, but Rick said my children would all be in concrete. I lived in fear for five years," she said.

"I prayed to God, 'Please, I don't want this.' When they called my name [at the clinic], I stood up."

But paperwork Sypher filled out at the clinic, which she provided to The Post, contradicts her account.

She checked off boxes indicating she felt "confident" and "strong" that she was doing the right thing.

Sypher also checked off responses indicating she did not think abortion was akin to murder and that she would not regret having the procedure.

Meanwhile, the 49-year-old provided the media with a voice-mail message from Pitino that contradicts her claim. Speaking of the pregnancy, Pitino says, "I think that the best thing in all scenarios is to go through with it [have the baby], but that it has to be your call.

"I think, I really can't give you any advice, except I have thought about it," he said.

"This is a very unfortunate situation . . . You just let me know what you're gonna do."

She decided on an abortion, and since she did not have health insurance, Pitino says he gave her $3,000.

Pitino's equipment manager, Tim Sypher -- who, in a bizarre turn, later married Karen -- drove her to a Cincinnati abortion clinic.

Karen Sypher was charged earlier this year with threatening to go public with her salacious story if the coach did not cough up millions of dollars.

It was only after the extortion charges were filed that Karen told cops that Pitino raped her -- not only in the restaurant, but later in Tim's condo.

That second rape, she said, took place before she and Sypher hooked up romantically.

Cops decided not to prosecute Pitino because there was insufficient evidence.

But the extortion charges against Karen Sypher have not been dropped.

This woman is incapable of telling the truth," said Pitino's lawyer, Steve Pence. "She is extremely deceitful, and in many ways disturbed."

Pitino had to come clean and this week issued his public apology.

"The past seven months have been very difficult on the people I love," he said.

But that wasn't enough for Sypher, who was incensed that he did not apologize to her.

"Rick apologized to his family. What about my family?" she said.

"I'm still waiting for it."

Sypher was in divorce court yesterday.

Her husband, Tim, who she claims cooperated with federal investigators, is seeking custody of their 4-year-old child. She said their marriage -- eight months after he drove her to the abortion clinic -- was all part of an evil plan by Pitino.

She contends that Pitino set up the marriage to Tim as part of his ploy to silence her.

"The feds bugged my house and put surveillance everywhere with Tim's help," she said.

"I now think my husband was paid to marry me."

Sypher claims she married her husband only because she was still in shock over being raped.

"I fell in love with this man who wined and dined me," she said.

"He totally brainwashed me. I'm embarrassed to say that because I feel so stupid."

Before she made her accusations against Pitino, a father of five, Sypher would frequently run into him at social gatherings.

"Rick would come up and give me a hug, and it was like I was being raped again," she said.

"I can't explain how bad it was. I would dread every party. I just wanted to come home, but I had to be the wife and play my part."

Sypher also claims that she is one of many on Pitino's list of conquests.

"There are other women," she said.

"He has a reputation as a philanderer. I'm definitely not the first. I pray they come out of the woodwork."

The scandal will not have any impact on his coaching job, University of Louisville President James Ramsey said yesterday.

Pitino is "our guy," he said, adding that the school will become stronger after the coach's expression of remorse.

The coach said he plans to remain at Louisville for as long as the university allows.