NCAA’s ruling for NC State basketball: Wins will be vacated

The NC State basketball program will not receive a postseason ban, but will have to vacate wins. The program finally has a resolution in its dealings with an NCAA case dating back to 2019 – when a Notice of Allegations was initially issued to the school.

The Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) ruled on Monday that the Wolfpack would have to vacate the wins from its 2016-17 season. The 15-member independent review panel was charged with analyzing the allegations and the school’s response to them, then deciding on penalties. Decisions by the panel are final and not subject to appeal.

NC State’s case revolves around former guard Dennis Smith Jr., former head coach Mark Gottfried and former assistant Orlando Early. The investigation involves former Adidas consultant Thomas Gassnola working with Early, an assistant under Gottfried from 2011 to ’17, and Smith’s trainer Shawn Farmer to funnel $ 40,000 to Smith’s family in exchange for Smith’s commitment in October 2015.

The NC State program will have the following penalties:

  • A $ 5,000 fine.
  • For the 2022-23 academic year, or first available opportunity, a reduction in total number of grant-in-aid awards by one men’s basketball scholarship.
  • One-year probation.
  • A one-year show-cause for Gottfried.
  • A six-year show-cause for Early.
  • Vacate wins from 2016-17 season.

Smith, who played prep basketball at Trinity Academy in Fayetteville, committed to the Wolfpack in 2015 and enrolled early, in January of 2016. During the 2016-17 season, NC State went 15-17 overall and 4-14 in ACC play. The team’s marquee win of the year was a 84-82 road win over Duke on Jan. 23, 2017. Smith scored a career-high 32 points in that win.


Created in August 2019, the IARP set up a panel of independent investigators to review complex NCAA Division I infractions cases. It came about after a recommendation from the Commission on College Basketball, chaired by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

NC State was one of several high-profile college basketball programs tied to the FBI’s years-long investigation into pay-to-play schemes involving Adidas, college coaches and recruits, which led to the creation of the commission chaired by Rice.

NC State was given an official Notice of Allegations by the NCAA in July 2019. The basketball program was charged with two Level I violations involving Smith, Gottfried and Early. NC State responded to the notice in December 2019.

After the NCAA responded to NC State in February, it was believed the case could go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions this year. But the coronavirus pandemic temporarily suspended most NCAA activities.

NC State was notified on April 3 that the case had been recommended to the IARP. The university accepted the recommendation on April 8.

In December of 2020, athletic director Boo Corrgian told The News & Observer the school would not self-impose a postseason ban.

This story was originally published December 20, 2021 1:15 PM.

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV has covered college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central, NC State and the ACC for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.


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