Duke, UNC, NC State named in federal NCAA basketball investigation

According to Yahoo Sports, Duke University, UNC, and NC State University's were among the basketball programs named in a federal investigation into potential benefits and preferential treatment for former and current players.

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Yahoo Sports reports they have viewed hundreds of pages of documents from the years-long probe that indicates authorities monitored multiple targets and intercepting more than 4,000 calls across 330 days.

Bank records and other expense reports that are part of the investigation list a wide range of impermissible payments from agents to at least two dozen players or their relatives, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

The depth of the violations raises questions about the structure of college athletics, a business funded primarily through college football and basketball, including $19.6 billion in TV money for the NCAA Tournament over the past 22 years - a hoops extravaganza for American sports fans known as March Madness.

They also claim to have viewed expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families.
On Friday, N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts spoke to the media following the release of the Yahoo Sports report. "I found out about the Yahoo report in the same time you guys did this morning. I know that Coach Yow has already released a statement and I really don't have anything else to add to it," said Keatts.

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Kevin Keatts addressed the media following the Yahoo Sports report on the NCAA investigation.

Kevin White, Duke's director of athletics said that after a review, no eligibility issues involving Wendell Carter Jr. were found related to the report.

"A Duke student-athlete was identified in a Yahoo! Sports report this morning about men's college basketball. Duke immediately reviewed the matter and, based on the available information, determined there are no eligibility issues related to today's report. Duke has already contacted the NCAA and will continue to work collaboratively with the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Duke has an uncompromising commitment to compliance in athletics. That has not, and will not, change."

Friday morning, NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement on the investigation:

"These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts."

Don Jackson, an Alabama-based attorney who has worked on numerous college eligibility cases, said the root of the problem for the NCAA is that its model of amateurism doesn't work.

"This problem can be solved if players are compensated," Jackson said. "The NCAA is not capable of adequately policing tens of thousands of athletes around the country to determine whether or not they have violated the NCAA's model of amateurism.

"We're talking about in some instances kids receiving $30 meals from agents," Jackson said.

A balance sheet from December 2015 lists several payments under "Loan to Players," including $43,500 to Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith, who played one season at NC State in 2016-17. Another document says Smith received a total of $73,500 in loans, and indicated options to recoup the money after Smith didn't sign with ASM.

N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said the school disassociated itself from Miller in 2012, saying the agent's close work with a youth coach created a vulnerability for the school "that we cannot tolerate."

Isaiah Whitehead, a guard for the Brooklyn Nets, received $26,136 while a freshman at Seton Hall, according to the documents. He received $37,657 and was setting up a payment plan, according to another document. Whitehead signed with ASM but later left the agency. A balance sheet also said Tim Quarterman, now playing for the Agua Caliente Clippers of the NBA G League, received at least $16,000 while a junior at LSU.

The story says several families of players or handlers received more than $1,000 in payments from ASM Sports before turning professional.

Apple Jones, the mother of former Kansas player Josh Jackson, received $2,700, and current Southern California player Bennie Boatwright or his father Bennie Sr., received at least $2,000, according to documents.

The story says the mother of Bridges received hundreds of dollars in advances. Current Kentucky player Kevin Knox, Carter and Sexton are listed among players or families meeting or having meals with former ASM Sports associate Christian Dawkins.

Coaches and athletic officials at several schools, including Clemson, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Southern California and Utah, said they did not know of the alleged payments until Yahoo's report was released, but pledged to cooperate in any investigation. Kentucky coach John Calipari said neither he nor his staff used Miller or any other agent to provide financial benefits to student athletes.

"Unethical agents have been an issue in college athletics - particularly men's basketball and football - for many years despite repeated educational efforts by the schools," Utah athletic director Chris Hill said. "Personally, I welcome the scrutiny on the sport of men's basketball because the behavior of some agents, along with reports of other illegal recruiting activities, is hurting the sport. Coach (Larry) Krystkowiak has a great deal of integrity and runs a clean program, but this situation shows there are areas outside a coach's control that need to be fixed."

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said he isn't surprised by anything that happens in college hoops.

"We can sit here and talk about it for days on end if we wanted to, all the things that have gone on in college basketball," Barnes said. "I'm not surprised by any of it."
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