The News & Observer, The New York Times, WRAL and ABC11 have sued NC State over withholding records regarding allegations surrounding Adidas and former men’s basketball player Dennis Smith Jr., according to the N&O. The N&O reports that the lawsuit was filed after “months of incomplete responses.”
In July of 2019, NC State received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding events that took place under former men’s basketball head coach Mark Gottfried. The allegation said Smith received $46,700 in inducements and benefits in a scandal involving assistant coach Orlando Early.
The N&O reports that Early received $40,000 from former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola to give to Smith’s trainer and then to Smith’s father. At the time, NC State spokesperson Fred Demarest told Technician, “If such information exists, it has not been shared with the university.”
According to the N&O’s article, Smith denied receiving payments from NC State, saying that if he did get money, he wouldn’t have driven his grandmother’s car while in college.
The lawsuit states that NC State is “knowingly and intentionally” violating the law by not releasing the public records, according to the N&O. Officials at the university claim they do not have ownership of the documents, since they only exist in an NCAA-controlled online portal, and that “they did not technically receive any of the NCAA’s documents,” so they don’t have to release them.
A university spokesman told a reporter from the N&O that the university couldn’t “print, download or copy” the documents. However, a copy of the confidentiality agreement between NC State and the NCAA received by the N&O specifically states that NC State can break the agreement if it’s required by law.
Fred Hartman, director of public relations at NC State, released the following statement via email on behalf of the university:
“NC State has released thousands of pages of documents and has acted in good faith and transparency throughout the federal and NCAA investigations. In addition, the university was prepared to release extensive phone records, but that release has been blocked by a temporary court order. We disagree with the way this issue is being characterized, however, the university has not seen or been served with the lawsuit and will reserve further comment until we have a chance to review it.”