Duke is “looking into” attorney Michael Avenatti’s allegation that Nike paid Zion Williamson’s mother for consulting services while her son was a top high school recruit, according to athletic director Kevin White.
Avenatti, who has been charged with attempting to extort more than $20 million in payments from Nike, alleged on Twitter on Friday night that Nike paid for “bogus” services in 2016 or 2017 “as part of a Nike bribe to get Zion to go to Duke.”
- Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for Stormy Daniels and a staunch critic of President Donald Trump, has been charged with trying to extort Nike.
White on Saturday told Duke’s independent news outlet, The Chronicle, that it 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 to The Chronicle. “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.”
Avenatti was charged last week in New York with extortion and bank and wire fraud. He was also charged in California with bank and wire fraud in a separate case.
He has said he is innocent of the charges against him.
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