On Friday night into Saturday morning, attorney Michael Avenatti claimed that Nike made payments to Zion Williamson’s mother back in 2016 or 2017 with the purpose of getting him to go to Duke.
Those allegations are being taken seriously by Duke and according to athletic director Kevin White, the school is “looking into” the Avenatti claims.
In a statement to multiple outlets Saturday, White said Duke would investigate the claim as a compliance matter.
“We are aware of the allegation and, as we would with any compliance matter, are looking into it. Duke is fully committed to compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations,” White wrote. “Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility. With regard to men’s basketball: all recruits and their families are thoroughly vetted by Duke in collaboration with the NCAA through the Eligibility Center’s amateurism certification process.”
In a statement to Yahoo Sports, Nike said it “firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports and won’t be commenting further beyond our statement.”
It should be interesting to find out what Duke’s investigation into Avenatti’s allegations turns up. This could be a huge scandal for Nike and Duke if the allegations are true and the Duke basketball program knew about it.
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