Sep 9th, 2021 |
58: NCAA v NC State: “Importation Fever” – the NCAA’s Evidentiary House of Cards
On February 7, 2020, the NCAA filed its reply to NC State’s response in the infractions and enforcement case arising from the basketball-related prosecutions in the Southern District of New York. For the first time in the infractions process, the NCAA identifies the specific “evidence” for its case against NC State. This “evidence” is comprised in large measure of “testimony” from T.J. Gassnola, who turned state’s evidence in the criminal case and avoided a prison sentence. Gassnola, a shadowy grassroots basketball operative who steers high-level youth basketball talent to Adidas-sponsored universities (Gassnola is not an Adidas employee) boasts that he has a “degree in bull.” Just as Gassnola was the prosecution’s star witness in the criminal case, he is the star witness for the NCAA in its infractions case. Using investigatory and evidentiary powers adopted by the NCAA from recommendations of the Commission on College Basketball, the NCAA liberally “imported” material from the criminal case and used the silence of former NC State assistant coach Orlando Early to make its case. In addition to Gassnola’s self-serving testimony, the NCAA used “positions” taken by Gassnola’s attorneys in opening and closing arguments, unproven allegations in the criminal indictment, and material from Gassnola’s sentencing documents to support its infractions case. Most of this material does not rise to the level of “evidence,” and its use by the NCAA is an affront to basic principles of due process and fairness. This episode analyzes the NCAA’s reply document and the circumstances of a $40,000 payment that is the crux of the NCAA’s case against NC State.