From penalties to firings, what NC State’s NOA could mean for coaches and the school

N.C. State has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, citing two alleged major violations connected to former basketball coach Mark Gottfried and former assistant coach Orlando Early. Some commonly asked questions:

Q: What are the major violations?

A: There were two alleged Level I violations. Former Wolfpack assistant coach Orlando Early was alleged to be involved in a $40,000 payment during the recruitment of point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and to providing more than $6,600 in impermissible benefits to Smith’s family and associates with excessive complimentary tickets. Former head coach Mark Gottfried was cited for a failure to monitor Early and failure to monitor the distribution of the complimentary tickets.

Q: How long will it take to resolve the case?

A: Best guess: several months. N.C. State has 90 days to respond to the allegations. The NCAA then could take up to 60 days to respond to N.C. State, and within three to six months could come the meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions. N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson says the school will “thoroughly evaluate” all aspects of the NOA before responding to the NCAA.

Q: How severe could the penalties be?

A: While no one can predict how the NCAA Committee on Infractions could rule, Level I violations can result in postseason bans, a reduction in scholarships, fines and show-cause orders against coaches. Adding more unpredictability: this is the first NCAA case stemming from the FBI’s widespread investigation into corruption in college basketball.

Q: What is a show-cause order?

A: A penalty in which the coach involved in major violations could face sanctions for a specified period of time, even if the coach leaves the school and seeks a job a different college program. Gottfried, alleged to have committed one Level I violation at NCSU, was fired by N.C. State two years ago and now is the head coach at Cal State-Northridge. Last week, former Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie was given a three-year show-cause order by the NCAA stemming from violations in the Huskies program when Ollie was the head coach there.

Q: Could Gottfried be fired by Cal State-Northridge?

A: The school’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday saying that Gottfried, when hired, said he had no knowledge of any NCAA rules violations as a head coach at any previous institutions. Cal State-Northridge said that was a condition of his employment.

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Q: Is NC State still paying Gottfried?

A: N.C. State stopped making buyout payments to Gottfried in August 2018, a school spokesman has said. In March, Gottfried’s attorney, Elliot Abrams, claimed the school still owed the former coach $520,000.

Q: What has Early said about his involvement?

A: It’s unclear if Early has offered any form of testimony to the NCAA or N.C. State. Early was a college scout for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19.

Q: Who is Jim Harrick?

A: Harrick hired Gottfried as an assistant coach at UCLA and remains a close friend and mentor for Gottfried. Harrick, now Gottfried’s assistant at Cal State-Northridge, at times attended Wolfpack practices while Gottfried was the NCSU coach. Harrick is said to have accompanied Gottfried on a recruiting visit to see Smith in Fayetteville in September 2014, considered a minor violation by the NCAA.

Q: Complimentary tickets again?

A: In penalizing N.C. State in 1990, the NCAA ruled that Wolfpack basketball players sold some of their complimentary tickets to games. In the current case, the allegations involve Smith’s family receiving $4,562 in 106 complimentary tickets to 13 games and Shawn Farmer, one of Smith’s former trainers, receiving 44 complimentary tickets. Gottfried was cited for failure to monitor the distribution of those tickets.

Q: How is N.C State’s NCAA case different from UNC’s?

A: UNC dealt with allegations of academic malfeasance and the NCAA ultimately ruled no-show classes at UNC did not break NCAA rules in that the university said they were not fraudulent. N.C. State’s case deals with allegations of recruiting impropriety (payment to Smith’s father) and impermissible benefit violations (complimentary tickets).

Q: Were any current N.C. State basketball coaches or players cited by the NCAA?

A: None were cited.

Q: How could NCAA punishments affect the Wolfpack basketball program?

A: Any postseason ban or scholarship reduction would be detrimental to the program, even if the principals -- Gottfried, Early and Smith -- are no longer associated with the program or school.

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.