Former NC State basketball coach Gottfried linked to player payments, ESPN reports

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Former North Carolina State University basketball coach Mark Gottfried has been linked to a federal criminal case involving impermissible payments being made to players, ESPN reported on Friday.

Gottfried is the first head coach to have been linked to this case.

ESPN’s report, citing a disclosure from federal prosecutors, stated that former Wolfpack assistant Orlando Early’s attorney said Early was twice given envelopes from Gottfried. He believed those envelopes, which he delivered to Dennis Smith Jr.’s trainer, contained cash.

Scott Tompsett, Gottfried’s attorney, said the allegations are false and conflict with the testimony of a lead witness. 

“The statement being reported on is false and conflicts with the sworn testimony of the government’s lead witness in the trial last fall,” Tompsett said in a statement provided to ESPN. “Specifically, at trial, T.J. Gassnola testified, under penalty of perjury, that he did not discuss the payment to Dennis Smith with anyone at N.C. State other than one assistant coach. Thus, the statement being reported on as it refers to Mr. Gottfried is not corroborated by a single shred of evidence and it conflicts with the sworn testimony of the government’s lead witness at the trial last fall.”

NC State senior associate athletics director Fred Demarest told ESPN on Friday that the university was unaware of the allegations concerning Gottfried.

Gottfried coached at N.C. State from 2011 to 2017. He was hired as the head coach at Cal State Northridge on March 12, 2018.

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