NC State Men's Basketball on Probation After Giving Now-NBA Player Dennis Smith Jr. $40K

North Carolina State's men's basketball program received a yearlong probation and other penalties for one year following an investigation into alleged NCAA recruiting violations that included paying $40,000 to current NBA player Dennis Smith Jr. to ensure he attended the college.

The penalties for NC State mark the first decision from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), created in 2018 by a commission led by Condoleezza Rice as part of proposals to reform college basketball as it was being investigated for corruption across the sport.

Victories in which Smith played have been vacated, show-cause orders have been issued for former NC State head coach Mark Gottfried and former assistant coach Orlando Early for their involvement in paying Smith, and public reprimand and censure was ordered for the program.

Early was given a six-year show-cause order for arranging the payment to Smith through an outside consultant for Adidas, while Gottfried's order was for one year for failing to monitor Early, according to the IARP.

The panel said the violations "demonstrate a reckless indifference to NCAA constitution and bylaws."

The Independent Resolution Panel said it would also reduce scholarships for the program, which would impact its recruiting capabilities, as that is the area of the program the investigation was centered around.

"We looked at the range of penalties that have been imposed on other Level I mitigating cases," IRP chief member Dana Welch said Monday in a virtual news conference. "And we basically determined that we didn't want to hurt or punish these student athletes that are currently competing. We did, however, want the institution to take this very seriously.

"There were very serious recruiting violations here, so we looked at the range of penalties and instead we imposed an additional scholarship reduction penalty for 2022-23, which we felt specifically addressed issues of recruiting. Which is what this case was about," Welch added.

Mark Gottfried, NC State, NCAA, Dennis Smith
Head coach Mark Gottfried of the North Carolina State Wolfpack has been penalized for allegedly paying Dennis Smith Jr. $40,000 to attend NC State, according to penalties released by the NCAA following an independent investigation. Above, Gottfried stands on the sideline as Smith (#4) walks by during their game against the Clemson Tigers in the first round of the ACC Basketball tournament on March 7, 2017, in New York City. Lance King/Getty Images

More than 50 pages of the panel's public report detailed numerous NCAA violations and concluded that NC State committed five that were Level I, which are considered the most serious infractions. Penalties for high-level infractions could have included a postseason ban, an option Welch said was under consideration for a mitigating case such as this one.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement that the school accepted the panel's decision and appreciated "its careful review of the facts."

"When this process began, NC State promised accountability where appropriate and vigorous defense where necessary," he said, adding, "and that is exactly what we've delivered every step of the way.

"NC State will deal with the implications, many of which include previously self-imposed penalties. We look forward to putting this matter behind us and embracing the incredible potential and bright future of men's basketball."

The panel also concluded the school committed four Level II violations and two Level III violations.

The IARP accepted NC State's self-imposed penalties that included the reduction of a scholarship for this academic year, previously imposed reductions in the number of official visits from 2019 through 2021, a $5,000 fine and a four-week communications ban for this year.

The NCAA charged NC State with four violations in July 2019, accusing Early of providing payments and benefits connected to Smith's recruitment.

The governing body alleged that from 2014 to 2017, Early provided Smith and his associates approximately $46,700 in impermissible inducements and benefits—including $40,000 that a government witness testified he delivered to Early intended for Smith's family in 2015.

NC State accepted the NCAA's recommendation that its case go through the independent investigation process.

The investigations began in the wake of a federal probe of corruption in college basketball that ensnared multiple programs in 2017. Four other schools—Arizona, Kansas, Louisville and LSU—still have related cases pending before the IARP.

Asked about the lengthy delays for many cases to be resolved, NCAA Vice President for Hearing Operations Derrick Crawford cited federal restrictions on the governing body's investigations until April 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Welch added that the IARP didn't begin reviewing cases until last year.

"None of us are pleased or happy with how long it's taken," Crawford said, "but I think the panel did a fantastic job in moving the case along as expeditiously as possible."

Monday's IARP decision comes eight days after the NCAA's Committee on Infractions placed the Auburn men's basketball program on four years probation for unethical conduct involving former associate head coach Chuck Person. The organization suspended coach Bruce Pearl for two games for failing to monitor his assistant and adequately promote compliance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mark Gottfried, NC State, NCAA, Dennis Smith
On Monday, the NCAA announced penalties including one year of probation for the NC State men's basketball program following an independent investigation into an alleged $40,000 payment to Dennis Smith Jr., who attended NC State and is now in the NBA. Above, the setting before a game between the North Carolina State University Wolfpack and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the RBC Center on February 29, 2004, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Street Lecka/Getty Images