SEATTLE -- Nate Robinson, who starred on both the football field and basketball court as a freshman at the University of Washington, has reportedly said a booster offered him $100,000 a year to keep playing football.
The UW says it does not appear the offer, which Robinson said he turned down, broke NCAA rules but said it intends to reach out to Robinson.
Robinson went to the UW on a football scholarship in 2002 and played as a freshman. He also played basketball, and after his freshman year, played only that sport. He went on to have a long career in the NBA after three years at the UW
Sports Illustrated says Robinson made the comments on "Holdat," a Sports Illustrated podcast that features Robinson and former pro basketball player Carlos Boozer. The two discussed impermissible benefits the two were offered in college.
Sports Illustrated quoted Robinson as saying: "When they fired 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,. For my three years at UW, I had a booster offer me $100,000 per 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."
Robinson didn't name the booster. He said he turned down the offer and concentrated on basketball.
“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, ‘I want to hoop, I don’t want to take money from a booster and not knowing if this handshake is 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 you. This is your life, not mine.’ 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."
A UW Athletic Department spokesman released this statement Wednesday about Robinson's claims:
“The 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 his statements it does not appear that any NCAA violations occurred, but we look forward to following up with Nate 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.”