NC State Wolfpack men's basketball program put on 1-year probation; former coach Mark Gottfried gets one-year show-cause order

NC State's men's basketball program was placed on one year of probation and former Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried was given a one-year show-cause order on Monday, as punishment for a former assistant coach helping facilitate money from Adidas to a prospect's family.

The Wolfpack weren't banned from playing in the postseason.

Former assistant coach Orlando Early was given a six-year show-cause order, which is one of the more severe penalties a coach can receive under NCAA rules. It requires punishment to be attached to a coach even at a new school. A school can appear before the NCAA's committee on infractions to "show cause" why it shouldn't be under the same penalties as the coach.

NC State had already self-imposed recruiting restrictions and a fine.

It is the first decision that is a result of the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which the NCAA created to handle complex cases. Under the new process, a Complex Case Unit investigated the case, and the Independent Resolution Panel (IRP) conducted a two-day hearing before delivering its decision. The IRP consists of five members with legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds, and its decision is final. There are no appeals in the IARP process.

"We specifically discussed whether or not we were going to impose a postseason ban, and we basically determined that we didn't want to hurt or punish the student-athletes that are currently competing," said Dana Welch, an arbitrator who served on the IRP. "We did, however, want the institution to take this very seriously, there were very serious recruiting violations here."

Five other cases, involving Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, LSU and Memphis, are being adjudicated through the IARP.

In July 2019, NC State received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding the Wolfpack's recruitment of former star player Dennis Smith Jr. The allegations surfaced in a federal criminal trial involving bribes and other corruption in college basketball. The NCAA alleged two Level I violations (the most serious) against the school, including a failure-to-monitor charge against Gottfried.

Early was accused of helping facilitate a $40,000 payment from T.J. Gassnola, an Adidas consultant at the time, to Smith's family in October 2015.

In October 2018, a jury in federal court in New York convicted former Adidas executive James Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins on conspiracy and fraud charges for their roles in a pay-for-play scheme to steer top recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State. An appeals court upheld their convictions.

Gassnola testified during the criminal trial that he gave the money to Early, who said he was forwarding the money to Shawn Farmer, Smith's former trainer, who was then supposed to give the money to Dennis Smith Sr.

In its response to the NCAA's notice of allegations, NC State questioned whether Adidas was the source of the money, and whether Early actually delivered the cash to Farmer or Smith's father.

Gottfried sued the university in federal court in September 2020, alleging the school stopped making settlement payments owed to him after he was fired in February 2017. The sides reached a $400,000 settlement through mediation earlier this year.

Gottfried had a 123-86 record while coaching at NC State from 2011 to 2017.

"As I knew it would, this decision reiterates that I had no knowledge of or involvement in any payment. Although I am disappointed in the panel's finding that I failed to sufficiently monitor, I appreciate the panel recognizing that the facts warrant a mitigated penalty. I am also pleased that NC State did not receive a postseason ban, am glad that this ordeal is over for NC State, and wish their basketball program all the best," Gottfried said in a statement.

In April 2021, Cal State Northridge placed Gottfried and his staff on paid administrative leave while it conducted an internal investigation into alleged rules violations, according to a university statement. At the time, athletics director Michael Izzi declined to specify the alleged violations.

Gottfried has a 37-51 record in three seasons at Cal State Northridge. Trent Johnson, a former coach at Stanford, LSU and TCU, is serving as the Matadors' interim coach this season.