Cal State Northridge’s entire men’s basketball coaching staff, including head coach Mark Gottfried, has been put on paid administrative leave while the school conducts a review of the program, the university announced Thursday.
CSUN athletic director Michael Izzi said that there are “potential rules violations” with the men’s basketball program. The possible wrongdoing in question is not being disclosed.
“Upon learning of potential rules violations within our men’s basketball program, I directed an immediate review and have placed our men’s basketball coaching staff on paid administrative leave while we complete this internal review,” Izzi said in a statement. “Our focus will be on the welfare of our student-athletes and ensuring their academic, athletic and personal success. CSUN does not comment on specific employee issues and cannot elaborate further about the nature of the potential violations while the review is underway. However, CSUN is committed to ensuring full compliance with all university and NCAA regulations while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and institutional responsibility.”
The Big West program has been coached by Gottfried the past three seasons. Gottfried holds a 37-51 record with the Matadors.
Gottfried coming into scandal is not unprecedented. He was hired at CSUN in March 2018 despite being associated with a notorious, ongoing federal court case that included allegations and evidence of serious NCAA rule-breaking dating back to his time as the coach at North Carolina State. Federal prosecutors presented evidence in 2018 that one of Gottfried’s NC State assistants, — in addition to former Adidas consultant TJ Gassnola — arranged for $40,000 to be paid to the family of former Wolfpack player Dennis Smith Jr. before Smith played a game for NC State.
Gassnola was a cooperating witness who pled guilty and testified on behalf of the United States government and its investigation.
Despite this noise around the issue, CSUN opted to hire Gottfried in a move that raised eyebrows and drew criticism from many in college athletics at the time. The NCAA has not ruled on NC State’s case and it awaits a judgment from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. Sources have told CBS Sports that NC State’s case is expected to be resolved later in 2021.