NC State releases FBI subpoena

Document request focuses on recruitment of Dennis Smith Jr.

Mike Granse—USA Today Sports
Dennis Smith Jr. played one season for NC State before entering the NBA draft and becoming the first round pick of the Dallas Mavericks (Mike Granse/USAToday Sports)

The FBI is looking into NC State’s recruitment of Dennis Smith Jr., with a focus on former Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried and former assistant Orlando Early, according to a grand jury subpoena the school released on Friday.

The FBI sent the subpoena, requesting specific documents to NC State on Jan. 17. It included a request for nondisclosure in a section marked “Important.”

“Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation,” the section stated, “it is requested that you do not disclose any information relating to this Grand Jury subpoena to any third party.”

After consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, NC State chose to release the subpoena under the state’s Public Records Act, a statement from the school read.

The subpoena required the school to produce all documents related to Smith’s recruitment and enrollment from Jan. 1, 2014, to present, “including any personal electronic devices, including any cellular phone or other telephone, pager, tablet, laptop computer, desktop computer, personal email, cloud storage, messaging or social media accounts used by employees, officers, principals or board members of NC State to conduct NC State business, and including any and all handwritten notes in possession of any employees, officers, principals or board members.”

The request also extends to texts, calendar entries, audio and visual recordings, and data compilations.

Smith committed to NC State in September 2015, signed with the Wolfpack that November, enrolled in January 2016 and played one season in Raleigh, in 2016-17. A report released by Yahoo! Sports in February claimed that Smith received more than $43,000 from agents while enrolled at NC State.

Surprisingly, the dates covered by the subpoena do not include the period when NC State officially offered Smith a scholarship, which occurred in December 2013. According to the 247Sports recruiting timeline for Smith, there were at least two unofficial visits to campus and one home visit from Gottfried during the dates specified.

The school must also produce any communications the NC State Athletics Department had with or about Smith, his father, Smith’s longtime trainer Shawn Farmer or “any other family member or representative of Smith.” State also must produce communications with current or former Adidas personnel James Gatto, Christopher Rivers, TJ Gassnola, Anthony Coleman, Merl Code “and any other representative of Adidas.” Gatto was described as an “executive” of the company and Code as a “consultant” when both were among the first people indicted by the FBI last November. Rivers is a senior player relations manager for the company. Gassnola runs an Adidas-sponsored AAU team. Coleman was a former marketing rep for the company.

Gottfried and Early are named in the subpoena, but, since neither is still an employee of the school, the request apparently doesn’t apply to their own files. It does request any personnel files State has on the two men, including their employment and compensation contracts. It also requests “any forms signed by Early regarding student-athlete eligibility, and any representations made by Early regarding student-athlete eligibility.”