TCU Receives NCAA Notice of Allegations

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Texas Christian is the latest school to receive a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding its men’s basketball program, the school confirmed to Sports Illustrated Wednesday.

That brings the known number of programs receiving NOAs in relation to the federal investigation of college basketball to five. The others: North Carolina State, Kansas, Oklahoma State and USC. More are expected to be delivered early in 2020.

The specific allegations of NCAA violations made by NCAA Enforcement against TCU is not known, and the school did not release the NOA. TCU did supply a statement to SI Wednesday night saying, “TCU has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff specific to former assistant mens basketball coach Corey Barker. There were no other individuals involved or additional allegations against the university. Per NCAA rules, because there is a pending case, TCU is not permitted to comment further.”

The NCAA does not release its Notices of Allegations and declined comment to SI Wednesday.

TCU fired Barker after allegedly receiving a bribe in exchange for directing players toward certain financial managers and/or agents once they turned professional.

Four other assistant coaches were charged with crimes and several men were convicted in federal court or accepted plea agreements in relation to the scandal, which has largely faded from public view. However, activity is ongoing behind the scenes at the NCAA level. At least four other schools that were involved prominently in the federal cases remain under investigation: Auburn, Louisville, Arizona and LSU.

NCAA Enforcement was on a faster timetable to deliver NOAs in 2019 before the association’s Committee on Infractions leaders asked during the fall for a slowdown so it could “better manage” the complex cases. The amount of overlapping information and individuals within the cases required some streamlining and uniformity before proceeding, according to committee chair Carol Cartwright. The pace picked up again in late November.

Of the schools that have been charged, only North Carolina State has submitted a response to its NOA thus far. The Wolfpack, and former coach Mark Gottfried, are vigorously disputing some of the allegations against them.

Creighton, another school that parted ways with an assistant coach who was caught up in the FBI investigation, declined to confirm or deny whether it has received an NOA from the NCAA. The school did release a statement to SI saying, “Creighton University continues to fully cooperate with the ongoing NCAA investigation regarding men’s basketball, and is adhering to the confidentiality of this process.”

In a related development, the upcoming extortion trial of famed lawyer Michael Avenatti will bear watching. Avenatti, who is charged with trying to extort Nike, has made pretrial filings that continue his longstanding allegations that the shoe and apparel giant was engaged in criminal activity in its youth basketball division. Yahoo Sports reported this week that among the filings are recorded phone conversations and transcripts of recordings with Nike executives that allegedly illuminate under-the-table payments to players or their families.

The federal investigation of the sport largely centered on criminal behavior by Adidas employees on behalf of Adidas-backed programs. Avenatti’s information could conceivably widen the scope of the scandal to include Nike-funded programs.

However, the feds are seeking to keep much of Avenatti’s information under seal. Previously, the government has limited public dissemination of information gathered during the FBI investigation. Numerous FBI-taped conversations featuring prominent college basketball coaches, which would be coveted by NCAA investigators, remain under seal.