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NC State disassociated itself with sports agent involved in FBI investigation in 2012

ASM Sports president Andy Miller, left, with Kyle Lowry, center, and Masai Ujiri, president of the NBA Toronto Raptors. Miller is an agent at the heart of the FBI college basketball probe.
ASM Sports president Andy Miller, left, with Kyle Lowry, center, and Masai Ujiri, president of the NBA Toronto Raptors. Miller is an agent at the heart of the FBI college basketball probe.

N.C. State disassociated itself with Andy Miller, a former ASM sports agent who’s involved in the FBI’s investigation into payments to college basketball players, in 2012, N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement on Friday.

The school released a copy of the disassociation letter Friday morning, less than five hours after Yahoo! Sports published documents obtained as part of the FBI’s investigation that allege former Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith, Jr., owed $73,500 in loans he received from ASM, Miller’s company. A Dec. 31, 2015 balance sheet included in the Yahoo! report notes that Smith had received a loan for $43,500. Smith, who attended Trinity Christian in Fayetteville, was still in high school at the time.

Smith played at N.C. State in the 2016-17 season before declaring for the NBA draft. Smith ultimately hired Glenn Schwartzman of Paramount Sports and Entertainment as his agent, not ASM.

In response to the Yahoo! report, Yow said in a statement the school had no prior knowledge of Smith receiving money from Miller’s agency, which could have compromised his NCAA eligibility.

“We learned of the report this morning and it is the first we’ve heard about this information,” Yow said in the statement. “The report involves an agent NC State disassociated with in 2012. Of course, we will fully cooperate with any investigations or inquiries.”

At a press conference Friday, coach Kevin Keatts declined to comment and referred to Yow’s statement: “I really don’t have anything else to add to (Yow’s statement).”

Efforts to reach Miller for comment were unsuccessful.

Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter and former UNC players Brice Johnson, Brendan Haywood and Tony Bradley were also named in the Yahoo! report.

Duke released a statement Friday that said there were no eligibility issues connected to the report. An effort to reach Duke for comment about whether the university had sent a disassociation letter to Miller was unsuccessful.

Steve Kirschner, UNC senior associate athletic director, said, “We have no information on what is mentioned in today’s Yahoo! story, but we will cooperate fully with any and all investigations.”

When asked whether or not UNC had also sent a disassociation letter to Miller, Kirschner said ​UNC was not aware of N.C. State’s disassociation letter and added, “We don’t have an association” with him.

N.C. State’s disassociation letter to Miller, effective for 10 years, was dated Sept. 19, 2012 and signed by Carrie Doyle, N.C. State’s senior associate athletic director for compliance.

 

Doyle said the school took action against Miller because of his dishonesty about his business relationship with Desmond Eastmond, an AAU coach.

N.C. State investigated Eastmond in 2010 to determine if he had provided impermissible benefits to N.C. State athletes. Eastmond coached the Worldwide Renegades AAU team in Georgia. Eastmond’s list of players included J.J. Hickson, who played one season at N.C. State in 2007-08 before the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft, guard Lorenzo Brown, who played at N.C. State from 2010-13 and at Hargrave Military Academy under Keatts in 2009-2010, and forward Richard Howell, who played at N.C. State from 2009-13. Miller once represented Brown, Hickson and Howell.

Miller, according to the letter from N.C. State, denied any association with Eastmond. The NCAA later found that Eastmond did have a business relationship with Miller. On July 5, 2012, the NCAA banned Eastmond and three other AAU coaches from participating in sanctioned summer league events due to their ties with Miller.

“This subsequent revelation is troubling and creates vulnerability for N.C. State athletics that we cannot tolerate,” Doyle wrote in the letter to Miller.

The letter to Miller states “No provision of any benefits by you or any of your businesses to NC State’s current or prospective student-athletes, including anything of monetary value.”

Among other provisions, the letter banned Miller from access to non-public areas of N.C. State athletic facilities. It also stipulates that he could have no contact with “current or future student athletes for any purpose.”

Miller has long been a registered sports agent with the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office, but officials there were unaware Friday that he had received a disassociation letter from NCSU.

“In fact, today is the first we’ve heard of this letter,” Liz Proctor, a spokeswoman for the office, said Friday.

North Carolina universities are not required to share those letters with the secretary of state under the sports agent regulations, but the agents themselves are supposed to disclose misconduct in their annual registration applications.

The application includes a section about the sports agent’s conduct. One of the categories requires reporting “conduct negatively impacting upon either student athletes or educational institutions,” and Proctor said that is where a disassociation letter would be disclosed.

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N.C. State’s Dennis Smith Jr.’s name appears in federal documents obtained by Yahoo!. The documents claim he received loans from ASM, sports agent Andy Miller’s agency. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

But the application also appears to indicate that the disclosure be related to the conviction of a crime involving “moral turpitude” or a felony.

Proctor provided Miller’s registrations since 2012, the same year of the disassociation letter. None show him reporting an issue. On each application, Miller either reported “no,” or “N/A” (not applicable) to the misconduct question.

Proctor declined to say whether that was a problem for Miller’s status as a sports agent in North Carolina.

“We can’t comment at this time, and I’ll leave it there for now,” she said.

Dawkins is not a registered sports agent in North Carolina, Proctor said.

In November 2011, N.C. State also sent a disassociation letter to Eric Leak, after the NCAA said he had provided improper benefits to N.C. State basketball players C.J. Leslie and Tracy Smith.

On Oct. 20 2017, The News & Observer requested from N.C. State any communication between N.C. State employees, athletic department staff and N.C. State board of trustees members and the NCAA that mention Smith and the federal investigation into payoffs to players and college coaches and assistants.

On Nov. 7, 2017, N.C. State responded: “Any emails, correspondence, or records pertaining to a student during their enrollment at NC State is protected under FERPA. Current or former students. This includes records or correspondence involving parents.”

The response went on to say: “We have not been part of a federal investigation involving payoffs and college coaches or assistants.”

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC

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