Cal State Northridge puts men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried, staff on leave

Cal State Northridge has placed men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried and his staff on paid administrative leave while it conducts an internal investigation into alleged rules violations, according to a university statement issued Thursday.

"Upon learning of potential rules violations within our men's basketball program, I directed an immediate review and have placed our men's basketball coaching staff on paid administrative leave while we complete this internal review," Cal State Northridge athletic director Michael Izzi said in the statement.

Izzi didn't specify the alleged rules violations and said the school would not comment during the investigation.

Gottfried has a 37-51 record in three seasons at the school.

"Our focus will be on the welfare of our student-athletes and ensuring the academic, athletic and personal success," Izzi said in the statement. "However, CSUN is committed to ensuring full compliance with all university and NCAA regulations while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and institutional responsibility."

The Matadors hired Gottfried in March 2018, after the federal government investigated a pay-for-play scheme involving Adidas and its consultants while Gottfried coached at NC State. Former Wolfpack assistant Orlando Early was accused of helping facilitate a $40,000 payment from former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola to star Dennis Smith Jr.'s family in October 2015.

In July 2019, NC State received a notice of allegations from the NCAA, which included two alleged Level I violations (the most serious) against the school, including a failure-to-monitor charge against Gottfried.

Gottfried sued NC State in September 2020, alleging the school stopped making settlement payments owed to him after he was fired in February 2017. At the time of Gottfried's firing, he had three years of base salary, a total of about $2.28 million, left on his deal.

In the lawsuit, Gottfried's attorneys wrote that NC State sent him a "Notice of Intent to Discharge for Cause," in which the school purportedly alleged that the coach had "induced the university to enter into payment arrangements" in a separate termination agreement from his contract with the school.

Former Georgia and UCLA coach Jim Harrick is one of Gottfried's assistants at Cal State Northridge.