This will certainly raise some eyebrows.
Nate Robinson, a professional basketball player who spent 11 seasons in the NBA, began his athletic career at the collegiate level on a football scholarship at Washington, starting the last six games of the 2002 season for the Huskies. However, after that freshman season, Robinson’s focus shifted solely to basketball and he never played football again.
On his Sports Illustrated podcast, however, Robinson claimed that an unnamed UW booster “offered me $100,000 a year to come back and play football.” Robinson further claimed that the booster met with him and his mom, where the financial inducement was discussed.
From the Seattle Times‘ transcription of the podcast conversation:
When they fired Coach (Rick) Neuheisel my freshman year that made it easy for me to make my decision to quit and go play basketball, which I wanted to do anyway,” Robinson said on the podcast released Tuesday. “For my three years at UW, I had a booster offer me $100,000 a year to come back and play football because they needed Nate Robinson back on the football field because we weren’t winning (any) games. It wasn’t exciting. It was crazy. We went through a dark age at the University of Washington. When Tyrone Willingham was the coach, we didn’t win not one game. It was just crazy.
“But a booster came to me, my mom, sat down and my mom was like, ‘That’s a lot of money.’ And she was looking at me like, ‘What you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘Man, I want to hoop, I don’t want to take money from a booster and not knowing if this handshake is for what? For us to keep this money? Because people don’t do nothing for free.’ And that’s what my mom taught me. What do I owe you after this? My mom was just like, ‘What do you want to do? It’s up [to] you. This is your life, not mine.’ So I told my mom I going to have to kindly say no thank you, but my dream is to play basketball and earn everything that I got.
According to a statement from the school, they hope to speak to Robinson, inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame two years ago, “and any other relevant parties to learn more about this matter in hopes of continuing to foster a full environment of compliance within all of our athletic programs.” In the same statement, UW indicated that “[t]he events described by Nate Robinson had not been reported to our department in any way, and were new information to us this morning.”
Based on its current knowledge of the situation, “it does not appear that any NCAA violations occurred,” the school added.