SEATTLE — Washington says it has no knowledge of claims made by former football and basketball player Nate Robinson of being offered money by a booster to return to playing football.
The school issued a statement on Wednesday in response to Robinson’s claim he was offered $100,000 by an unnamed booster to return to playing football at the school after he quit the sport to focus on basketball. Washington says based on Robinson’s statement it appears there were no NCAA violations, 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.”
Robinson, who played parts of 11 seasons in the NBA, made the comments on the Sports Illustrated podcast “Holdat,” which is hosted by Robinson and fellow former NBA player Carlos Boozer. Robinson played football during his freshman season at Washington before switching exclusively to basketball.
“When they fired [football 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. “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 also detailed the conversation he had with his mother about the booster’s offer.
“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,'” Robinson said. “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.”
Robinson left Washington after his junior year to enter the NBA draft where he was selected 21st overall in 2005.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.