Duke probe finds no evidence Nike paid Zion Williamson

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Duke's Zion Williamson warms up for a game against NC State on Feb. 16, 2019. (Photo: Ed Clemente)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke says an investigation has found no evidence that former basketball star Zion Williamson received improper benefits.

School spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement Saturday that a “thorough and objective” probe led by investigators outside the athletic department found “no evidence to support any allegation” that would have jeopardized Williamson’s eligibility.

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Duke athletic director Kevin White said in April that the school would investigate after lawyer Michael Avenatti accused Nike Inc. of paying Williamson’s mother to persuade him to attend a college affiliated with the Beaverton, Oregon-based shoe company.

Avenatti said in a statement that he “never heard from anyone associated with Duke” about the investigation and repeated his claim that Williamson was paid to attend the school.

“The documents and the hard evidence do not lie,” he said.



Williamson was taken first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA draft after earning Associated Press player of the year honors as a freshman at Duke.