NCAA suspends response deadlines in hoops corruption cases
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA is suspending its deadlines for schools to respond to charges levied by the governing body in the wake of college basketball’s corruption scandal.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press in a public-records request, infractions committee member Carol Cartwright wrote NCAA vice president of enforcement Jon Duncan last week to say the committee “will not act” on cases until Nov. 20. She also wrote that all “briefing deadlines” are on hold during that time, such as the 90 days schools or individuals have to respond to charges outlined in a Notice of Allegations (NOA).
North Carolina State and Kansas both face discipline from the NCAA after being named in a federal criminal case involving improper payments to recruits and their families, which grew out of an FBI investigation into apparel company Adidas.
Kansas said it received a notice from the NCAA just this week, and N.C. State was charged in July. Hall of Fame Kansas coach Bill Self and former N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried both face possible top-level counts.
Cartwright’s letter states the committee’s “preference” is for no additional notices to be filed before Nov. 20, even while acknowledging “more cases will follow in the coming months.”
N.C. State released a copy of the letter Tuesday evening among numerous case documents in response to a records request. The NCAA charged the school in July with four violations, including the potential top-level counts against Gottfried and former assistant coach Orlando Early tied to guard Dennis Smith Jr., who played one season for the Wolfpack before leaving for the NBA.
The school was due to file its response Oct. 7 as the first of the cases to come through the NCAA infractions process.
“We will follow the guidance and recommendation of the NCAA,” N.C. State athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said when asked about Cartwright’s letter.
NCAA spokeswoman Emily James declined to comment when reached by the AP on Tuesday night.
Cartwright’s letter states it will “apply to all infractions cases connected” to the federal corruption investigation into the sport, which became public in fall 2017. The same deadline stipulations will apply to any related notices issued by the NCAA enforcement staff before Nov. 20, while she will determine “next steps” in pending cases after that date, according to the letter.
Cartwright, the former president of Bowling Green and Kent State universities, wrote the letter as part of an effort to “better manage” the complex cases following the federal criminal case that touches numerous schools including Arizona, Auburn and Louisville.
Most notably in N.C. State’s case, the NCAA alleged that Early provided Smith and his associates with about $46,700 in improper inducements and benefits — including $40,000 that a government witness testified he delivered to Early, intended for Smith’s family, in 2015.
Gottfried was charged under the NCAA provision of head-coach responsibility for violations within his program.
The documents released by N.C. State also included a memo summarizing school officials’ April interview with Smith, who’s now with the New York Knicks.
“He said neither he nor his family ever received any cash from anyone at N.C. State,” the memo states, adding that Smith said he “would not have been driving his grandmother’s car” had he accepted money.
Additionally, the school said it had planned to release phone records for Gottfried, now the head coach at Cal State Northridge. But attorneys for Gottfried successfully obtained a temporary restraining order in a Wake County court Tuesday afternoon preventing the release of the records.
In a court filing, Gottfried’s attorneys argued the records shouldn’t be released without Gottfried being able to first review and redact records of personal calls unrelated to his job as N.C. State’s former coach.
Elliot Abrams, a Raleigh-based attorney representing Gottfried, declined to comment Tuesday night. A court hearing in that matter is scheduled for Monday.