N.C. State 'strenuously disputes’ NCAA violations connected to Dennis Smith Jr.'s recruitment

N.C. State officially disputed the NCAA Level I allegations that it received this summer in connection to the massive college basketball scandal on Monday. (Lance King/Getty Images)
N.C. State officially disputed the NCAA Level I allegations that it received this summer in connection to the massive college basketball scandal on Monday. (Lance King/Getty Images)

North Carolina State officially responded on Monday to the official Notice of Allegations it received five months ago and strongly disputed the Level I allegation — which was connected to the massive FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball — based on what it views as a lack of evidence, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

N.C. State officially received the Notice of Allegations on July 9, which included Level I, Level II and Level III violations. In a 66-page response on Monday, N.C. State acknowledged that “a number” of the Level II and III violations occurred, however it “strenuously disputes” the Level I violation — which was connected to former Wolfpack star Dennis Smith Jr.’s recruitment, according to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde.

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“When this process started, we promised accountability where appropriate and vigorous defense where necessary, and our response does exactly that,” N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement, via the Raleigh News & Observer. “We look forward to a thorough and accurate review by the panel of the committee on infractions and a fair resolution of this case for the university and the NCAA.”

Smith — who played at N.C. State during the 2016-17 season and is now with the New York Knicks — allegedly received a $40,000 payment during his recruitment, which reportedly flowed from former Adidas grassroots coach T.J. Gassnola to former assistant Orlando Early to his former trainer Shawn Farmer before reaching his father. Smith has denied the allegations. However, Gassnola provided receipts from a trip to Raleigh to deliver the money to Early during his testimony in federal court last year.

Smith also allegedly received $73,500 in loans from ASM, the former agency where Christian Dawkins worked. Dawkins, who was at the center of the college basketball recruiting scandal, was sentenced to nine months in federal prison.

“There is no evidence in the trial record, including Gassnola’s testimony, nor evidence developed by the NCAA enforcement staff that: Early provided the money to Farmer or that Farmer provided the money to the Smith family,” N.C. State wrote in its response, via the Raleigh News & Observer.

N.C. State did suggest multiple self-imposed sanctions in its response to the NCAA on Monday, per the News & Observer, including: The loss of one scholarship for the 2021-22 recruiting class, the reduction of official recruiting visits during the 2019-20 academic year, the prohibition of unofficial visits during a two-week period during the 2019-20 academic year and a $5,000 fine.

N.C. State is the latest school to deal with allegations stemming from the scandal. Oklahoma State officially received a Level I violation last month, which alleged misconduct from former assistant coach Lamont Evans — who has since admitted to accepting bribes and was sentenced to three months in prison.

The NCAA now has 60 days to respond and then set up a hearing with the Committee on Infractions. Level I violations are the most severe form of violations handed down by the NCAA, and can result in postseason bans, loss of scholarships and more.

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