N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson released a detailed timeline Tuesday regarding the school's responses to an FBI probe into college basketball corruption.
Woodson, in a statement, said the school is cooperating fully with the investigation that includes allegations of financial payments from a shoe company made through a former coach to the parent of a Wolfpack recruit. The recruit is believed to be Fayetteville's Dennis Smith Jr., whose name appeared in a superseding indictment issued last week by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York. That indictment was brought against three former shoe company employees who are accused of making payments to influence players to attend certain schools.
The indictment alleges former adidas executive James Gatto arranged a $40,000 payment through an unidentified N.C. State coach to Smith's father in 2015 when Smith seemed to be having second thoughts about joining the Wolfpack program. Smith was the state's top college prospect as a senior at Trinity Christian School at that time and had made a non-binding verbal commitment to N.C. State in September 2015. He went on to play one season for the Wolfpack, earning Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year honors before turning pro.
Smith, a point guard who just completed his first season with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, brushed off the implications last Friday when discussing the situation with Peter Dawson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“State is going to continue to do their thing and ball out,'' Smith told Dawson. “I haven’t seen the new reports, but when the last ones came out, I saw my name in there. And there isn’t anything I can do about it. It just is what it is.
“It didn’t affect me at all. I know who I am as a person. Allegations are just allegations. There isn’t any proof behind anything. I’m just ready to go home for the summer.”
Although Woodson's timeline mentioned Smith, the university did not uncover any information of his involvement after talking with members of the N.C. State coaching staff, then following up on statements made to its general counsel by a registered sports agent.
According to Woodson's timeline, on Oct. 19, 2017 N.C. State's general counsel spoke to a Wilmington-based agent who said he believed Smith had been influenced to sign with the Wolfpack by adidas via his father, Dennis Smith Sr. A member of N.C. State's Athletics Compliance team conducted a face-to-face interview with the agent Oct. 26, but the agent denied any direct knowledge of payments and had no information that Smith Jr. or any N.C. State employees were involved.
“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 said. “We have no tolerance for those who would choose to damage the reputation of this great university. N.C. State will continue playing by the rules, winning the right way and succeeding with Wolfpack character.''
Staff writer Sammy Batten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3534.