Gina Ford Alleges Zion Williamson Should've Been Permanently Ineligible at Duke

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

Duke forward Zion Williamson on the court warming up before the start of a NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game against Michigan State in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Zion Williamson's former marketing agent, Gina Ford, claimed the former Duke star should have been "permanently ineligible" to play college basketball.    

In a new court filing obtained by attorney Daniel Wallach, Ford said there's "information in public records" that Williamson and/or his parents received "monies, benefits and/or other prohibited benefits" that would have negated his status as a student-athlete under the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA).

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

BREAKING: Gina Ford ramps up claim that Zion Williamson received money to attend Duke and was “permanently ineligible” to be a student-athlete; in new court filing, she opposes granting judgment to Zion, and says discovery is needed from Duke and Coach K on ‘pay-to-play’ issue. https://t.co/x04yY3BvHm

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

The public record evidence that Gina Ford relies on to sow doubts about Zion Williamson’s eligibility as a “student-athlete” are various exhibits from SNDY college basketball corruption case. Among them are text messages between Nike officials discussing payment to Zion in 2017. https://t.co/FFW4dVKvgn

Per Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde, Williamson's housing situation while at Duke "proves nothing":

Pat Forde @ByPatForde

Latest Zion vs. Gina Ford gets into his alleged family housing while at Duke. The picture in "Exhibit F" filed yesterday matches the house that was rumored to be where they lived in Durham. I know because I took a pic of the same house in Jan. '19. Proves nothing. https://t.co/GOYlnqxoOh

Williamson initially signed a five-year marketing deal with Ford and Prime Sports Marketing after declaring for the 2019 NBA draft, but he filed a lawsuit against Ford and Prime Sports two months later to declare that contract null and void. 

The argument from Williamson and his attorneys is "the agreement was unlawful under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the National Basketball Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida."

Ford responded by filing a $100 million lawsuit against Williamson and his new representatives at CAA Sports on the night before the 2019 draft. 

Per ESPN's Mark Schlabach, Ford's attorneys filed a motion last month asking Williamson to admit his mother and stepfather "demanded and received gifts, money and other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas and Nike and also from people associated with Duke to influence him to sign with the Blue Devils and to wear Nike or Adidas products."

Jeffrey S. Klein, Williamson's attorney, told Schlabach the new filing from Ford and Prime Sports is a "shameful attempt to distract from their admitted violations of North Carolina law."

Williamson officially signed with CAA Sports in May 2019. The 19-year-old was selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in last year's draft.