by By Derek Medlin
North Carolina State University released a timeline Tuesday detailing its response to the widening federal probe into college basketball, including what ties the school’s basketball program and former hoops standout Dennis Smith Jr. may have to the ongoing investigation.
Chancellor Randy Woodson said NC State has worked “proactively” to search for and report relevant information since the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a series of complaints in September against Adidas, several college basketball programs and top prospects.
The timeline can be found here.
Last week, a superseding indictment filed in the investigation accused James Gatto, Merl Code and Christian Dawkins of facilitating payments to the families of six student-athletes, including Smith, to ensure those players would attend four schools – North Carolina State University, the University of Louisville, the University of Miami and the University of Kansas.
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The court papers portrayed Gatto, a former executive for Adidas, and some coaches as bad actors, saying the conspiracy included hiding payments and signing forms falsely asserting that no payments had been made.
The indictment accuses Gatto of helping facilitate payments to the family of Dennis Smith Jr. to ensure the top prospect remained committed to the Wolfpack in 2015.
It also alleges that a coach at NC State helped get money from Gatto’s company to Smith’s family.
The coach, labeled Coach-4 in the indictment, is not identified by name, but the indictment said the coach said in or around October 2015 that Smith was “not happy with his decision to attend NC State and was considering de-committing before the 2016-17 college basketball season.”
“Accordingly, and to secure the student-athlete’s willingness to remain committed to the university, Gatto and CC-3 agreed to make a payment of $40,000 to Coach-4, which Coach-4 would in turn deliver to Parent-1,” the indictment says.
Investigators allege that the money was delivered to Coach-4 in North Carolina shortly after. In December 2015, Smith signed a financial aid agreement to play at NC State.
Smith, a Fayetteville native, came to NC State as one of the most highly touted players in his high school class. He played just one year for then-head coach Mark Gottfried before leaving for the NBA. Smith was a first-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks.
NC State said last week that it focuses “significant effort” on educating student-athletes, coaches and employees about NCAA regulations.
Woodson reiterated that in his statement Tuesday, saying he was pleased with how the school’s general counsel has handled the process since last fall.
“I’m also pleased with the culture Athletic Director (Debbie) Yow has established at NC State. She has led an intentional and consistent emphasis that all NCAA rules and regulations are always to be followed by all coaches, staff and student-athletes,” Woodson wrote.
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