NCAA gives N.C. State notice of allegations connected to recruitment of Dennis Smith Jr.

Scott Phillips

The NCAA continues to investigate schools connected to the FBI’s college basketball corruption cases as a notice of allegations to N.C. State was confirmed by the school on Wednesday afternoon.

The first school to receive an NCAA notice of allegations based on findings in the FBI’s cases, N.C. State is accused of two Level I violations (the most serious of violations) and two Level II violations connected to the recruitment of former point guard and NBA lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr.

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The allegations include more than $47,000 in impermissible benefits for Smith, failure to monitor for the school and a violation of head coach responsibility for former head coach Mark Gottfried. Former N.C. State assistant coach Orlando Early is accused of allegedly helping steer a $40,000 payment from a former Adidas executive to Smith’s family in Oct. 2015.

During last October’s FBI corruption trial, former Adidas AAU coach and runner TJ Gassnola testified that he made two payments to the family of Smith. The first payment allegedly occurred while Smith was a junior in high school with the second one coming in 2015. Gassnola claims he delivered $40,000 in cash to Early’s house, which was then supposedly given to Smith’s trainer.

Gottfried is currently the head coach at Cal State Northridge while Early hasn’t coached in Division I since leaving N.C. State in 2017. The failure to monitor charge is a Level I allegation against Gottfried.

N.C. State, Gottfried and Early will have 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s claims before a hearing is conducted with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

Chancellor Randy Woodson from N.C. State released an official statement on the NCAA’s allegations on Wednesday.

“NC State is committed to the highest levels of compliance, honesty and integrity,” Woodson said in a statement. “As the university carefully reviews the NCAA’s allegations and thoroughly evaluates the evidence in order to determine our response, we are prepared to be accountable where we believe it is appropriate and to vigorously defend this great university and its Athletics program where we feel it is necessary.”

While Smith is currently with the New York Knicks and won’t receive any punishment from the NCAA, the notice of allegations could have a big impact on N.C. State and Gottfried’s NCAA coaching career. The two Level I charges, in particular, are very serious as they could lead to severe punishments for the school and potential show-cause penalties for both Gottfried and Early.

The NCAA will likely continue to send notices to additional schools that were named in the FBI’s corruption cases as numerous players, coaches and programs were named under oath during multiple trials. This is likely the beginning of a busy few months for the NCAA as they sort through all of the damage that was unearthed from those trials.

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