NC State outlines steps taken in federal hoops investigation
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State has released a timeline of steps the university has taken to cooperate with investigators since the federal probe into college basketball became public last fall.
The university had essentially responded to inquiries before becoming further entangled in the investigation in recent weeks. Chancellor Randy Woodson was more proactive Tuesday, releasing a statement outlining actions N.C. State has taken.
In January, the school received a grand jury subpoena seeking records involving former one-and-done guard Dennis Smith Jr.
Last week, a rewritten federal indictment alleged a former Adidas representative arranged $40,000 for the parent of an athlete who committed to the school. It also alleged an unnamed Wolfpack coach was involved in delivering the money.
University officials want their ”community” to know they aren’t just idle bystanders. Woodson says the school is ”fully cooperating” both with U.S. attorneys and the NCAA.
”Given the details released by the Southern District of New York last week, and the information previously made public, we feel we can now provide our community more specifics about N.C. State’s involvement without jeopardizing the investigation,” Woodson said in the statement.
Last week’s rewritten indictment didn’t specifically name the player involved, and no one tied to the school is facing criminal charges. But the grand jury subpoena sought records such as communication involving Smith’s representatives – including his father – and members of the Wolfpack’s former coaching staff, as well as records tied to former head coach Mark Gottfried and assistant Orlando Early.
Woodson’s Tuesday statement and accompanying timeline both name Smith. That included noting that Smith indicated he had no knowledge or involvement in NCAA violations in response to routine written questions from the university in December 2015 and August 2016.
After learning of the September indictments that led to charges against 10 people – though none at N.C. State – the school said last week it had contacted former coaches and that all had denied knowledge or involvement in any activities related to the allegations.
In Tuesday’s timeline, the school stated the list of coaches questioned included Gottfried, Early, and former assistants Butch Pierre and Heath Schroyer. Gottfried lost his job after the Wolfpack missed a second straight NCAA Tournament in spring 2017 and has since been hired at Cal State Northridge.
The timeline also noted that compliance staffers in October interviewed an agent who had contacted the school to say he believed Smith’s enrollment at N.C. State was due to ”influence by Adidas through his father.” The agent said he had no direct knowledge of the payments or other details, and Woodson said the school forwarded that information to an area FBI agent ”in case it was germane to the federal investigation.”
The school also said it found no relevant information in email reviews following a Yahoo Sports report in February revealed bank records and other expense reports listing improper payments from agents to at least two dozen players or their relatives, including loans of thousands of dollars to Smith – who recently completed his rookie year with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
Tuesday’s timeline stated the school ”continues to locate, review, redact and produce records” to comply with the federal subpoena, while Woodson said the school has ”acted proactively, ethically and responsibly.”
Woodson and athletics director Debbie Yow said the release was an effort to be transparent.
”We’ve worked consistently to establish a culture of compliance and accountability within N.C. State athletics,” Yow said in a statement. ”When that culture is threatened, we will always act with integrity.”
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