NC State

FBI subpoena requested documents related to NC State's Dennis Smith Jr.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that N.C. State had not released a statement.

A federal subpoena issued to N.C. State University in the FBI's investigation into alleged payoffs involving college basketball recruits, agents, coaches and an apparel company seeks information on former guard Dennis Smith Jr., former Coach Mark Gottfried and members of his staff.

N.C. State released the subpoena Friday after The News & Observer made a public records request on Monday that pointed out the university had not cited a state or federal law that would prohibit the subpoena's release.

Brad Bohlander, N.C. State's chief spokesman, said the university withheld the subpoena at the request of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the FBI investigation into alleged payoffs among college basketball assistant coaches and recruits from agents, financial advisers and clothing makers.

In a statement, the university said:

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York requested NC State not release the subpoena to any third party due to the ongoing investigation. After receiving media requests for the subpoena, the university has had numerous conversations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about their request for confidentiality. Following careful consideration and in consultation with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, NC State is releasing the subpoena under the North Carolina Public Records Act."

N.C. State spokesman Fred Demarest said via email that the athletic department would have no further comment.

A spokesman for Cal-State Northridge, which hired Gottfried to be its basketball coach on Tuesday, said Friday that Gottfried "respectfully declines" a request for an interview.

N.C. State appears to have been ensnared in the probe based on documents showing Smith Jr., a one-and-done guard drafted by the Dallas Mavericks last year, received $73,500 in loans from Christian Dawkins, an associate of prominent agent Andy Miller. Those documents were first made public by Yahoo Sports.

Smith has not commented on the investigation.

Yahoo has also made public a 2016 email between Dawkins and Miller referring to phone conversations with Gottfried and two assistant coaches. Gottfried and the assistant coaches left NCSU last year after a losing season.

The subpoena requires NC State turn over:

  • Any communications between any member of the NC State Athletics Department, including the basketball coaching staff, and Smith, his father Dennis Smith, trainer Shawn Farmer and "any other family member or representative of Smith."

  • Any communications regarding Smith, his family or representatives.

  • Documents associated with Smith's enrollment, financial aid and athlete eligibility, including any drafts.

  • All communications between any member of the athletics department and James Gatto, Christopher Rivers, Thomas "TJ" Gassnola, Anthony Coleman, Merl Code and "any other representative of adidas." Gatto and Code work for adidas and have been arrested in the probe. News reports list Rivers, Gassnola and Coleman as having ties to the apparel company. Coleman is reportedly an assistant coach with the Arizona State basketball team. The university said Friday it has not received a subpoena.

  • Personnel files for Gottfried and Orlando Early, his assistant coach who handled recruiting for the basketball program, including employment contracts and documents reflecting "terms of compensation."

  • Any forms signed by Early regarding student-athlete eligibility, and any representations made by Early regarding student-athlete eligibility.

  • Any contract and/or agreement between NCSU and adidas since Jan. 1, 2014, including any documents reflecting oral agreements. N.C. State has an apparel contract with adidas.

The records were to be provided to a grand jury hearing the case by Jan. 31. The subpoena indicates the grand jury is hearing testimony and receiving evidence of violations of federal law regarding bribery, fraud, conspiracy, interstate travel in aid of racketeering and money laundering.

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NCSU received the subpoena on Jan. 17, but did not disclose that until a week ago, after The Washington Post had made a blanket request to top colleges for subpoenas issued. Demarest said then that it was being withheld at the request of the U.S. Attorney.

He said that athletic officials, including first-year basketball coach Kevin Keatts, were unaware the university had received it.

But state and federal laws do not specifically allow subpoenas to be secret when issued to public entities. After several communications between The N&O and NCSU this week, the university released the subpoena.

It includes U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman's request to "voluntarily refrain from disclosing the existence of the subpoena to any third party."

"While you are under no obligation to comply with our request, we are requesting you not to make any disclosure in order to preserve the confidentiality of the investigation and because disclosure of the existence of this investigation might interfere with and impede the investigation," Berman wrote.

So far, 10 people have been arrested in the FBI case, including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and the University of Southern California. Charges were later dropped for an AAU ex-director. Dawkins, 25, is among those arrested.

No one connected to N.C. State has been charged in the case.

In 2012, NCSU barred Miller from its nonpublic areas of athletic facilities and from contacting staff and athletes for a 10-year period. The university had learned from NCAA reports that Miller had a close working relationship with an AAU coach who was the subject of an internal investigation in 2010.

NCSU said in the letter that when it asked Miller about the coach at the time that Miller denied any association.

NCSU did not make the letter public until last month, when Yahoo reported records of the federal investigation that appeared to involve Dawkins and Miller making payments to numerous basketball players.

Dawkins and Miller were not named in subpoena.

NCSU has said its administration was unaware of Dawkins.

Gottfried had a base contract with NCSU paying him $2.48 million, plus bonuses for academic and athletic achievements.
He coached the Wolfpack from 2011-2017, compiling a 123-86 record with four NCAA tournament berths. He led the Wolfpack to the tournament’s round of 16 in 2012 and 2015.

Staff writers Joe Giglio , Chip Alexander and Steve Wiseman contributed to this story.

Dan Kane: 919-829-4861, @dankanenando