Former Wolfpack standout Dennis Smith Jr. may have received loans totaling up to $73,500 prior to enrolling at N.C. State according to a new Yahoo Sports report by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel published on early Friday morning. If the report is accurate, Smith would have been ineligible for his only season in Raleigh.
Smith was rated as a 5-star recruit by every national recruiting service. Despite joining fellow 5-star Omer Yurtseven, the Wolfpack finished 15-17 in a year that would end with the firing of Mark Gottfried. Smith averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game in a disappointing season for fans and players alike.
It’s unclear what affect the report will have on N.C. State, however State may have to vacate all 15 wins from the regular season. If it is determined that the university was at all involved or knew about Smith’s ineligibility, a post-season ban or other punishment may be in play.
The documents, which read “As of December 31, 2015”, implicated at least 20 Division 1 programs and 25 athletes. The files were originally seized by the FBI in their college basketball investigation from NBA agent Andy Miller.
Several current athletes, such as Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton, and Duke’s Wendell Carter were also implicated in the report. It is still unclear what the status of their eligibility for the future is, and that decision will largely be up to the universities. Major programs such as Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan State were all implicated in the documents.
NCAA president Mark Emmert published the following statement:
“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. 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.”
According to Yahoo Sports, N.C. State declined to comment or did not return the response.
UPDATE: Yahoo in fact never reached out to NCSU and has since corrected its article: