Michigan State Clears Miles Bridges To Play Amid Controversy Over Yahoo Report
Michigan State star forward Miles Bridges will not be penalized after Yahoo Sports' report that his mother took impermissible benefits from a sports agent in June 2016.
MSU interim athletic director Bill Beekman announced Saturday that the NCAA had cleared Bridges following the allegations.
"After learning of the allegations in yesterday's Yahoo! Sports article, our compliance office conducted a thorough internal review," Beekman said in a statement. "Michigan State presented its findings to the NCAA, and Miles Bridges has been cleared for competition moving forward, beginning Sunday at Wisconsin."
Yahoo's report included documents seized by the FBI from sports agent Christian Dawkins, who has been charged in the feds' college basketball corruption probe. Dawkins' expense reports show he bought Bridges' parents a $70.05 dinner in Flint on May 3, 2016 and he also gave Bridges' mother, Cynthia, a $400 cash advance the same day.
As with players, parents taking such gifts or assistance from agents while their child is still an NCAA student athlete is considered an impermissible benefit that could result in sanctions by way of NCAA violation.
Yahoo's story is their latest on the ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball. In late 2017, the FBI arrested several assistant coaches from the college basketball ranks in association with a kick-back scheme. This same investigation ultimately led to Louisville's firing of legendary coach Rick Pitino.
MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo said via statement in the immediate wake of the Yahoo report: "...(W)e have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules."
Yahoo's report also showed Dawkins having bought multiple dinners for Izzo. Unlike players and their family members, however, coaches are permitted to receive such benefits from agents.
Izzo also has a longstanding personal history with Dawkins. He likely knew him through Dawkins' father, Lou Dawkins, the former basketball coach at Saginaw High School. Also, Christian Dawkins' younger brother, Dorian, died at MSU during a youth basketball tournament in 2009 when he was 14 years old. Izzo visited with the family at the time of the tragedy.
MSU wraps up its regular season Sunday at Wisconsin. The Spartans can win the Big Ten title outright with a victory.