Former marketing agent alleges Zion Williamson received benefits to commit to Duke men's basketball

Williamson never seems to leave the national spotlight.
Williamson never seems to leave the national spotlight.

The saga of allegations against former Duke star Zion Williamson continues.

In court documents published May 10 by attorney Daniel Wallach, Williamson's former marketing agent, Prime Sports, served a request for admission that Williamson had knowledge of a variety of separate impermissible benefits both he and his family received from representatives of Duke, Nike and Adidas.

The full set of allegations can be found in the Twitter thread below.

Wallach reported May 27 that Williamson filed for a protective order against the inquiry, seeking a court order to block the requests. Williamson's legal team called the requests "invasive" and "irrelevant" in the filing. He also requested a "stay" in the Florida court.

June 2, however, Wallach reported that a Florida state judge denied Williamson's request for a stay, ruling that the NBA star will be required to answer the inquiries.

Wallach then reported June 4 that Williamson filed an emergency motion seeking a "temporary stay" from a Florida appeals court. Wallach said the motion cited a "prior lawsuit in North Carolina involving same parties and claims." 

That evening, Williamson's "temporary stay" was granted, meaning that—at least for now—he will not have to answer any inquiries under oath.

On Wednesday, Prime Sports President Gina Ford pushed back in another court filing, with Wallach reporting her claim that "discovery is needed from Duke and Coach K on 'pay-to-play' issue."

Ford's motion pointed out the Williamson family's housing situation before he attended Duke compared to while he was at Duke as well as luxury cars registered to Williamson's parents, among other records.

A full thread regarding this most recent filing can be seen below.

Williamson signed with Prime Sports Marketing soon after declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. But just seven days before being selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, the National College Player of the Year filed a lawsuit against the Florida-based group in an effort to terminate the contract.

Williamson alleged that Prime Sports Marketing and Ford deceived him into forfeiting his college eligibility, among other unlawful provisions.

Ford and her company then filed a countersuit for damages in excess of $100 million, claiming that Williamson "breached a contract that he willingly signed."

The requests of Williamson to admit he and his family received impermissible benefits are part of this countersuit.

Following a request for a statement from Jeffrey Klein, Williamson's lawyer, a spokesman on behalf of Klein directed The Chronicle to a statement from Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld in a January article from The News and Observer.

"As soon as Duke was made aware of any allegation that might have affected Zion Williamson’s eligibility, we conducted a thorough and objective investigation which was directed by individuals outside the athletics department,” Schoenfeld wrote. “We found no evidence to support any allegation. Zion thrived as both a student and an athlete at Duke, and always conducted himself with integrity and purpose.”

On May 11, Sports Illustrated reported that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was likely to be deposed in the lawsuit. In response to a question specifically asking whether Krzyzewski was to be deposed, an attorney on Ford's behalf said that "we are leaving no stones unturned, if you get my message."

Ford's attorneys added that the goal for the request of admission and depositions is to prove that Williamson was ineligible during his time at Duke and thus not covered by the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, which Williamson used as the basis of his original lawsuit.

The most recent temporary stay, however, puts a hold on all of these potential depositions for the time being.

Editor's Note: This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.


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