Bridges cleared to play, Stephens 'confident' he didn't commit violations
MSU sophomore forward Miles Bridges will play Sunday and has been cleared for competition moving forward, according to a statement released by MSU Interim Athletic Director Bill Beekman.
Bridges, who according to Yahoo, allegedly set up a meeting with Christian Dawkins — associate of former NBA agent Andy Miller — on July 27, 2016. Yahoo also reported Bridges' mother, Cynthia Bridges, allegedly received a $400 advance and $70.05 dinner from Dawkins on May 3, 2016, according to expense reports obtained by the FBI in a probe uncovering the underbelly of college basketball.
“After learning of the allegations in yesterday’s Yahoo! Sports article, our compliance office conducted a thorough internal review," Beekman said in the release. "Michigan State presented its findings to the NCAA, and Miles Bridges has been cleared for competition moving forward, beginning Sunday at Wisconsin.”
Dawkins, 24 and a native of Saginaw, also allegedly contacted MSU assistant Dwayne Stephens in July 2016, and engaged in an alleged bidding war for former five-star recruit Brian Bowen.
Stephens said in a statement Saturday afternoon he hasn't committed any violations.
“Throughout my career as a college basketball coach, I’ve been committed to following all NCAA rules, including during the recruiting process," Stephens said in the statement. "Any insinuation to the contrary is false. I’m confident that I have not committed a violation."
One Yahoo report used an email by Dawkins recounts the interactions with Stephens from his perspective:
"Dwayne Stephens - Trying to close the deal on Brian Bowen for Michigan State. Trying to do a trade deal for (Spartans) Gary Harris, Miles Bridges, etc."
Dawkins also offered Bowen to former Indiana assistant Chuck Martin in exchange to represent former Hoosiers Thomas Bryand and OG, Anunoby, according to the report.
Yahoo also alleges Dawkins had arranged to meet with MSU coach Tom izzo.
In a statement released by MSU Athletic Communications, Izzo said he believes he and his program have not violated any NCAA rules.
“We are aware of the report in Yahoo! Sports," Izzo said in the release. "While we will cooperate with any and all investigations, we have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules.”
Beekman seconded Izzo.
“MSU is committed to a culture of NCAA compliance," Beekman said in the release. "We have proactively contacted the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. As Coach Izzo has stated, there is no evidence that he or anyone in his program, including student-athletes, did anything impermissible.”
While it is permissible under NCAA rules to meet with an agent, no coach or player, or parent/legal guardian of a player can receive any financial benefits, including payment of any kind, even for meals.
The No. 2 Spartans will conclude the regular season Sunday on the road against Wisconsin. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.