NCAA gives NC State probation – but no postseason ban – in Dennis Smith Jr. case

NC State North Carolina Basketball_1539288979904

North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried, center, reacts after North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4) was called for a third foul and heads toward the bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina as North Carolina State assistant coach Orlando Early, right, ooks on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Gottfried was called for a technical foul. (AP Photo/Ellen Ozier)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The NCAA placed North Carolina State’s men’s basketball program on probation for a year but did not give the Wolfpack a postseason ban for violations centered around former player and Fayetteville native Dennis Smith Jr.

The ruling issued Monday by the NCAA’s new Independent Accountability Resolution Process wraps up a long-running investigation that lasted for more than four years.

Athletic director Boo Corrigan called it “a cloud that has hovered over N.C. State for over four years.

“Quite simply, it’s time for us to finally move forward,” he said.

Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement that the school accepts the decision “and appreciate the hearing committee’s careful review of the facts.”

“When this process began, N.C. State promised accountability where appropriate and vigorous defense where necessary, and that is exactly what we’ve delivered every step of the way,” Woodson said.

“We look forward to putting this matter behind us and embracing the incredible potential and bright future of men’s basketball at N.C. State,” he added.

The NCAA levied a fine equivalent to 0.5 percent of the men’s basketball program’s 2021-22 budget and cut one scholarship for both 2021-22 and 2022-23.

It also issued two show-cause orders — lasting one year for former head coach Mark Gottfried, and six years for former assistant Orlando Early.

The IARP panel concluded that Early demonstrated “a reckless indifference” to NCAA bylaws, saying he was involved, either directly or indirectly, in arranging to provide Smith with $40,000 and was aware of third-party involvement in a recruiting violation.

That was one of five top-level violations that the panel found to have occurred, along with four second-tier violations and two more at the lowest level.

N.C. State also was ordered to vacate the records that involve Smith, who played in all 32 games in 2016-17, when the Wolfpack’ went 15-17 and Gottfried was fired.

The school self-imposed a $5,000 fine and the loss of one of those scholarships. N.C. State’s men’s basketball program took in $15.4 million in revenue in 2019-20, according to the most recent documents in the federal Equity in Athletics database maintained by the U.S. Department of Education — and 0.5 percent of that would equal $77,000.

The NCAA recommended N.C. State’s case to the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process in April 2020. 

The N.C. State case was the first to go through the IARP, which was established after the commission chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice recommended sweeping changes following the corruption scandal in the sport.

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

Smith, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers, is in his fifth season in the NBA.

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

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