NCAA recommends NC State infractions case for independent panel

NC State
North Carolina State's Dennis Smith Jr. (4) dunks against Virginia Tech during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N_316553

N.C. State says it has ‘reluctantly’ agreed to have its infractions case that centers on Dennis Smith Jr. (4) be heard by an independent panel.

North Carolina State says the NCAA has recommended its infractions case centering on the recruitment of Fayetteville star Dennis Smith Jr. be heard by a newly created independent panel.

School spokesman Fred Demarest told CBS 17 News on Friday that the school’s response to that decision is due April 14 and that N.C. State is reviewing and evaluating its options.

The governing body established the Independent Accountability Resolution Process two years ago after the commission chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice recommended sweeping changes following the corruption scandal in college basketball.

This process is an alternative to the typical step of a hearing before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

The NCAA says the IARP panel consists of “independent investigators, advocates and adjudicators” who will review certain high-profile cases in Division I.

The governing body said last month that a case involving Memphis would be the first to go through the IARP process.

N.C. State and the NCAA have traded written arguments since the school received a notice of allegations from the organization last summer detailing four counts – two of which are considered top-level charges.

The NCAA has alleged that from 2014-17, former assistant coach Orlando Early provided Smith and his associates approximately $46,700 in impermissible inducements and benefits — including $40,000 that former Adidas consultant TJ Gassnola testified he delivered to Early and was intended for Smith’s family in 2015.

The less-severe charges are centered on complimentary admissions on the program’s guest pass list. Among the minor penalties the school self-imposed are a $5,000 fine and the reduction of a scholarship during a future season.

The school has already self-imposed minor penalties for those lesser charges, including a future scholarship reduction, recruiting restrictions and a $5,000 fine.

Smith’s only season playing for N.C. State was in 2016-17, when the Wolfpack finished 15-17 and fired coach Mark Gottfried late during that season. Smith, who plays for the New York Knicks, is in his third season in the NBA.

Neither current coach Kevin Keatts nor his staff are linked to the case.

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