Chronicle sports editor: Poythress told us while tournament was underway that Duke had made a scholarship offer. Coach K under investigation


Updated Saturday 11:26 PM


The Chronicle's sports blog was updated within the past few hours and it points to a recruiting violation by Coach K and his staff.

The paper's sports editor, Chris Cusack, states rising high school senior Alex Poythress -- a 6-7 forward from Clarkesville, Tennessee -- was interviewed by the Chronicle during a Florida exhibition basketball tournament, and Poythress said he had been offered a scholarship. The timing is key: the paper is not specific but says the interview was held while tournament play continued. NCAA rules prohibit any contact until the tournament is over.

Before this became national news, the Chronicle missed the possible significance of the timing.

Fact Checker has learned that the offer was made after Poythress's team was eliminated from the tournament, but before the final playoff which was the next day. Poythress was still with his team at the event, and our source says that is key, because the player is supposed to have severed all ties with his summer tournament team before being approached.

Earlier, CBS Sports said it too had a similar interview. That interview was on Thursday, after the tournament ended. But Poythress spoke of a Tuesday encounter: "It felt pretty good," Poythress said. "It was pretty exciting to talk to Coach K. He said he saw me play at the Super Showcase and Peach Jam, and he liked what he saw."

The student newspaper says most of Duke's chase of Poythress has been handled by assistant coach Jeff Capel.

Coach K is reported out of town on a recruiting trip and no one has reached him for comment. Athletic Director Kevin White has also been silent. Duke Athletics PR has issued only a generic statement saying it takes any allegations of rule violations seriously. Those are code words: the athletic department has an investigation under way.

Any scholarship offer would be considered a secondary violation. This might result in any offer being rescinded (we don't know if a new offer could then be made or if the player is lost) or possibly Duke's coaches would lose a day or two of off-campus recruiting.

Poytress leaves Florida with a string of scholarship offers -- and more teams interested which have yet to speak up. He says he will whittle the list in the next two weeks. Earlier he had not included Duke on his list of possibilities.

More on his career appeared in our earlier post, scroll down.

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