Another day, another improper benefits scandal plaguing college sports. This time it involves arguably the biggest names to come out of the college basketball ranks this decade: Zion Williamson.
Here’s what you need to know:
  • Zion’s former marketing agency is alleging his family took monetary bribes to steer Williamson to Duke and certain shoe companies
  • Prime Sports Marketing filed a civil lawsuit against Williamson and his current agents
  • Zion is being asked to admit that his mother and stepfather “demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball”
  • Prime Sports Marketing signed Zion as a client after his freshman season at Duke but he chose to leave for another agency. Prime Sports Marketing pursued legal action to enforce their initial contract. Zion then filed a federal lawsuit alleging the initial contract is unenforceable
  • Earlier this year, Duke conducted “a thorough and objective investigation which was directed by individuals outside the athletics department” and found that Zion had no eligibility issues
While it certainly wouldn’t be shocking to find out that a college program utilized some shady channels and illegal methods to secure a top player, this also sounds like it could be the case of a bitter company trying to create headaches for a former client they believe wronged them. I mean, if I was a marketing company and I lost out on Zion as a client after a month, I’d probably be pretty mad about it too.
But the request for admission of guilt puts Zion and Duke in an awkward spot and now we’ll play the waiting game as this thing develops. Since I don’t know for sure who’s in the wrong here, I’ll just say this: Whatever Duke may or may not have paid for Zion, it was probably worth it. The guy was a human highlight reel worth any cost of admission.

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