In the latest developments surrounding Zion Williamson and the Duke basketball program, many are overlooking the fact that allegations were never made against the two parties.
The college basketball world was overjoyed at the news on Sunday evening that Gina Ford, the former marketing agent for Zion Williamson, has filed a request of admissions from the former Duke basketball star regarding whether or not he, or members of his family, accepted benefits to attend Duke, or a similarly sponsored Nike or Adidas university.
Ford, the president of Prime Sports Marketing, is threatening to sue Williamson for close to $200 million after the eventual No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft fired Ford within days of hiring her and then went on to sign with CAA Sports Agency.
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However, while opposing fans around the country immediately assume guilt because the surrounding parties include Duke and its biggest star in recent memory, there have been no allegations placed down on either Williamson or the program.
Ford and her legal representatives are demanding that Zion Williamson answer the following questions, as seen in a Sports Illustrated article detailing the case, under oath in order to prove that he was no longer an NCAA athlete at the time Williamson fired Ford:
- Knew that his mother and stepfather had demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke to influence him to attend Duke
- Knew that his mother and stepfather had demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Nike to influence him to attend Duke.
- Knew that his mother and stepfather had demanded and received gifts, money, and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas to influence him to wear Adidas shoes.
- Accepted benefits from an NCAA-certified agent that are not expressly permitted by the NCAA legislation between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 14, 2019.
An admission to any of these claims would open up a new door in this trail, but it could lend to the idea of Williamson having to pay Ford at least a portion of the money she is asking for in damages.
Daniel Wallach, the legal analyst for The Athletic, was the first to report the court filings and has since called the documents a “Hail Mary” attempt to pressure Williamson into settling the case and pay Ford some of the millions that she is hoping to obtain.
Wallach also explained that Ford is seeking answers from Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to see if he pushed Williamson in the direction of CAA, which resulted in her termination from the National Player of the Year.
Williamson will not have to answer the previously stated questions under oath for at least several months as the legal process ensues and timelines become changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Duke also launched a five-month investigation into the recruitment of Zion Williamson following claims by lawyer Michael Avenatti that Williamson was paid by Duke and Nike to attend the school, but Avenatti has since been jailed for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike.
The investigation found no wrongdoing in the recruitment of Williamson.
The following weeks and months surrounding this case will undoubtedly become confusing and messy with legal terminology, countersuits, and rumblings of settlements, but the only thing that could worry Duke fans at the moment is Gina Ford’s involvement with Munish Sood.
Sood was heavily involved in the federal investigation into college basketball that included the trial of Christian Dawkins and James Gatto. Ford and Sood were previously business partners.
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Christian Dawkins has been on record, as recently as three weeks ago, saying that he had no information whatsoever on the Duke basketball program and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and then were was a recent interaction between Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal saying that the Blue Devils do all things right.
While no new findings could be released for months, this case will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds once things proceed in the court of law.