The recruitment of NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr.
N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson issued a statement Tuesday about the federal investigation into college basketball, saying the university has been fully cooperative and disclosing a timeline of the university's actions.
Woodson said the university has worked to "responsibly and proactively search for, and when identified, report relevant information."
An unidentified NCSU basketball coach is alleged to have received $40,000 from an unidentified adidas consultant to deliver to the parent of a Wolfpack basketball recruit, according to a federal indictment. The unnamed recruit is believed to be Dennis Smith Jr., a point guard who played one season under former coach Mark Gottfried. Smith was heavily recruited by Gottfried and former N.C. State assistant coach Orlando Early.
"If the allegations from the superseding indictment are proven true, any former employees involved knew they were breaking the rules and chose to keep it hidden," Woodson's statement said. "We have no tolerance for those who would choose to damage the reputation of this great university."
Saying he wants to be "as open and transparent as possible," Woodson described the events that occurred since late last year when the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Sept. 26 announced complaints against adidas and several college programs, though there was no mention of N.C. State in initial media reports.
N.C. State has been proactive in seeking out information, Woodson said, first contacting current and former basketball coaches to ask whether they had knowledge of or involvement in the allegations. Those interviewed included Gottfried, Orlando Early, Butch Pierre and Heath Schroyer. Current and former coaches told N.C. State they had no information about it.
NCSU also searched for emails from to or from sneaker company personnel and found no relevant information.
A timeline the school released also says no N.C. State athletes or coaches, including Kevin Keatts, were informed of a January grand jury subpoena.
Here's what happened, according to Woodson and university officials:
▪ Oct. 19, 2017. NCSU general counsel spoke with Gary Shipman, a Wilmington sports agent who contacted the university on Oct. 12. He said he believed Dennis Smith Jr. attended N.C. State due to influence by Adidas through Dennis Smith Sr. The agent did not provide specifics about any other individuals involved. General counsel informed the agent she would both report the information and further investigate. General counsel directed athletics compliance staff to conduct an in-person interview with the sports agent.
▪ Oct. 25. Athletics compliance staff conducted a face-to-face interview with the agent. Shipman stated that he had no direct knowledge of any payments and declined to share names of anyone who might be involved. He also said that no N.C. State employees were involved and had no information that Dennis Smith Jr. was involved.
▪ Oct. 30. Athletics compliance sent Shipman a letter via certified mail outlining details of the interview for confirmation, providing the agent time to review and provide any corrections. Shipman did not respond with any corrections. NCSU's general counsel then called the FBI to provide the information from the agent's report.
▪ Jan. 16, 2018. U.S. attorney contacted N.C. State's general counsel about the forthcoming grand jury subpoena, stressing the need to keep the investigation details confidential. University officials began collecting records requested in the subpoena. Only a handful of individuals who needed to know to collect records were informed: No coaches or student-athletes were informed about the subpoena.
▪ March 9. NCSU confirmed publicly that the university had received a subpoena on Jan. 17.
▪ March 16. In consultation with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, N.C. State released the subpoena under state public records laws.
▪ March 23. NCSU contacts NCAA to advise the association about the university's actions surrounding the allegations.
▪ April 10. U.S. Attorneys contact university's Office of General Counsel about superseding indictment that refers to an unidentified former NCSU coach and alleges the former coach transported money to the father of a prospect in October 2015. Three days later, the university notified the NCAA with the latest information contained in the indictment.
The News & Observer had requested the subpoena and reported its contents.
Woodson defended the university's response to the situation.
"As the outline demonstrates, NC State has acted proactively, ethically and responsibly," his statement said. "For example, as soon as we received unsubstantiated information from a third party we immediately investigated and reported it to the FBI. I’m pleased with the way our Office of General Counsel and Athletics Compliance has managed this process."
Woodson said the university wants to do "the right things for the right reasons."
On Tuesday, athletic director Debbie Yow posted a statement saying the university's athletic department had worked consistently to establish a culture of compliance and accountability.
"When that culture is threatened, we will always act with integrity," Yow's statement said.
She further said NCSU student-athletes posted the highest graduation success rate in program history last fall.
"As we continue to cooperate in this investigation, we have encouraged our coaches and staff to focus on their excellent commitment to our student-athletes and University," Yow said.