New Jersey Nets forward Charles Shackleford has admitted that he accepted money while playing for North Carolina State, jeopardizing postseason tournament earnings the school won while he played.
"You don't think it will come back to hurt you," Shackleford said in an interview with The News and Observer of Raleigh, N.C., at Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood, N.J., where he was being treated for an infected elbow."But in the long run, it does. What I did was wrong, but I don't think it was major. I was a kid in college and I had no money, so I took money."
That would be a violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. Officials from N.C. State and the NCAA said they would investigate the payments.
N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano and university officials said they did not know about the payments.
Valvano, reached at his home Sunday night, said he was "very disappointed" to hear that Shackleford had accepted money.
Meanwhile, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation has begun a new inquiry into N.C. State basketball and officials said it is not related to Shackleford's contacts with a sports agent, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Becky R. French, N.C. State counsel, said neither she nor other N.C. State officials would get involved in the SBI inquiry except to cooperate. She said the inquiry appeared separate and unrelated to Shackleford's contacts with an agent.
Shackleford accepted almost $65,000 from two men, said his agent, Salvatore DiFazio of Somerville, N.J.
DiFazio said in a telephone interview that Shackleford accepted money first from a sports agent who hoped to represent the player after his college career.
DiFazio would not name the agent.
He said another man, whom he identified as Robert Kramer, an East Orange, N.J., businessman, loaned Shackleford money in an effort to persuade him to end his contacts with the agent. Kramer could not be reached for comment.
S. David Berst, assistant executive director for enforcement of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, said by telephone Sunday night that Shackleford would have been ineligible to play if he had taken money as a college student.