Was the NCAA enforcement staff hiding critical information?
On page 18 of UNC’s 73-page response to the amended Notice of Allegations is an interesting anecdote and accompanying footnote.
On March 5, 2013, the managing director of the Academic and Members Affairs (AMA) within the NCAA responded to its own enforcement staff after reading the Martin Report submitted by the university, “There are always concerns with aberrant classes comprised of a significant number of student-athletes in comparison with non-athletes; however, there is nothing definitive in the report [provided by the University] that would validate that there was a systematic effort within the African and African American Studies department motivated by the desire to assist student-athletes with maintaining their eligibility, either in how the courses were created, taught and/or how the grades awarded.”
The AMA’s conclusion confirmed that the NCAA itself had concluded that the anomalous courses and the other academic irregularities in the AFAM department did not violate NCAA rules.
Yet in the 8th footnote submitted by UNC, it was revealed that the above determination was discovered purely by happenstance on July 15, 2015, more than two years later. Despite the fact that the enforcement staff had previously agreed UNC’s outside counsel could access all materials relevant to the investigation via a secure website, this information was not included, contrary to the requirements of NCAA Bylaw 19.5.9. They were discovered by the university only because its representatives traveled to the national office to review the physical files personally.
After Miami got off with light penalties in alleged violations far more egregious than the charges against UNC, it was discovered that the overzealous NCAA enforcement staff had obtained evidence against its own procedures and perhaps illegally in the view of a court of law. A similar violation of the NCAA’s own bylaws may have occurred here when the AMA conclusion was NOT turned over to the UNC lawyers.
That is what Carolina has spent millions of dollars investigating and fighting, not necessarily the violations it may or may not have committed, but what the NCAA actually concluded and then buried.
UNC took dead aim right between the NC-double A’s.
Carolina has said from the beginning of this academic-athletic mess that, on the other side of it, will be a model athletic program and university in how it deals with its intercollegiate teams. Carol Folt, Bubba Cunningham and their staffs have held true to that pledge, and when it came down to answering the amended Notice of Allegations, the university hit back and hit back hard with clarity in responding to a process the NCAA let linger far longer than necessary.
Yes, UNC accepted three of the email extra-benefit allegations against former woman’s basketball tutor Jan Boxill but refuted 15 of them and said the infractions that did occur were Level II or Level III at best. And Cunningham closed his news conference with public praise and thanks to women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, which makes you believe she could survive this investigation as well.
Most of UNC’s response can be summed up in three words: Stick to Sports. The NCAA’s own bylaws do not allow it to pass judgment on courses offered and how they are taught. That’s an academic accreditation issue for which the university served a one-year probation and has since been cleared. Sure, let’s accept the hollow charge that Nyang’oro and Crowder wouldn’t speak to the NCAA, but they also stonewalled us with no subpoena power either.
And Carolina totally refutes the notion of lack of institutional control, based on such a small subset of mistakes over a long period of time that, again, is not in the jurisdiction of the NCAA. Certainly, negotiations will continue between the two parties, but I think the bull’s eye is squarely on the NCAA, which will be criticized harshly if it doles out a series of wrist slaps. However, UNC concluded clearly: Impose penalties outside your own bylaws on people and programs not mentioned or even referenced in the final NOA, and we are all going to court with the roles of plaintiff and defendant reversed.
The NCAA has never been hit back like this in such a thorough and thoughtful manner, and for that UNC has set a new precedent.http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-unprecedented-response
The University of North Carolina has submitted its response to the NCAA in connection to the amended notice of allegations the university received earlier this year.
After submitting the response to the NCAA on Monday, the university released the public copy on Tuesday.
The amended notice of allegations is the latest step in the years-long fallout of the long-running academic scandal at UNC involving “paper classes” – classes that rarely or never met and had a grade assigned based on one paper at the end of the semester. The classes were open to all UNC students but were disproportionately populated with student-athletes.
UNC is still facing five Level I infractions in the amended notice of allegations, which are the most severe the NCAA can levy.
UNC is challenging the validity of three of those five allegations.
Listen to UNC AD Bubba Cunningham’s teleconference with reporters from Tuesday:
In the first allegation, the NCAA alleges that Jon Boxill knowingly provided extra benefits to student-athletes on the women’s basketball team in her capacity as an academic counselor and acted in an unethical manner. The university acknowledged that Boxill provided extra benefits, but UNC “disagrees that Boxill engaged in unethical conduct” as defined by the NCAA’s bylaws, “even though her actions fell short of the University’s own standards.” UNC is arguing that the circumstances, as the university sees them, would drop that from a Level I to a Level III infraction.
Boxill continued to deny any wrongdoing in her response to the NCAA.
The university is accepting allegations two and three – that two faculty members heavily implicated in the scandal, Julius Nyang’oro and Deborah Crowder, would not cooperate with the NCAA investigation.
The NCAA alleges that UNC failed to monitor Boxill and the department overseeing academic support for student-athletes. The university is accepting that it failed to monitor Boxill, but is arguing that there are “jurisdictional and procedural issues” barring the allegation beyond that scope. That would drop the allegation from Level I to Level II.
The fifth allegation from the NCAA is a charge of lack on institutional control, which UNC is rebutting entirely. The university “disagrees with this allegation” in its response. UNC says the issues being alleged to bring about lack of institutional control charges relate to topics that are under the purview of the university’s accrediting body – SACSCOC – rather than the NCAA. That accrediting body restored UNC to full standing earlier this year after placing the university on probation for one year.
Blake Hodge broke down UNC’s response with Aaron Keck Tuesday on WCHL.
Ultimately, the university is accepting that it failed to monitor certain aspects of the institution, which resulted in a long-running scandal. But UNC says that is under the jurisdiction of SACSCOC and not the NCAA.
In the executive summary of the response to the NCAA, UNC admits to wrongdoing saying the university has “accepted responsibility for what happened in our past and made numerous apologies to our campus community, to the citizens of North Carolina, and to all those who care about the institution.”
But in the conclusion of the response, UNC makes it clear the university will challenge the NCAA if certain sanctions are sought as a result of the hearing by the Committee on Infractions that the university feels are outside of the NCAA bylaws.
“If the hearing panel determines that penalties are to be imposed, the University believes that they must be tied directly to a particular violation of NCAA bylaws and, in all instances, must be applied in a fair and consistent manner. It would be an unprecedented application of NCAA rules to impose a penalty on institutional employees, student-athletes, or sport programs that are not the subject of, or even referenced in, an allegation in the ANOA.”
The NCAA Committee on Infractions will likely hear the case in October before issuing a ruling, possibly in early 2017.
WCHL’s Art Chansky discussed UNC’s response with Aaron Keck on Tuesday.
UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham released the following statement after the university’s response was made public:
“As a member of the NCAA, we carefully considered the appropriate University response based upon a thorough analysis of the NCAA’s Constitution and bylaws and all involved parties’ mutual desire to adhere to these important standards. We identified key issues and provided factual responses for each allegation with the goal of bringing this case to a fair and just conclusion.’’
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt also issued a statement on Tuesday:
“Our work to reach this point has been extensive, including implementing wide-ranging reforms and taking substantial actions to ensure transparency and integrity across the University. The necessary scrutiny and self-examination has made us a stronger University, and the resolution of this case will be vital to our moving forward.”
The SEC needs a rap sheet more than a scorecard.
As the college football season approaches, key athletes all over the Southeastern Conference are driving their coaches, their fans and, yes, their opponents crazy by being in so much trouble no one knows if they will play or not. And in the SEC, guilt or innocence really doesn’t matter much. It’s part of the game plan.
At Alabama, star tackle Cam Robinson and reserve defensive back Hootie Jones faced drugs and weapon charges over the summer that mysteriously were not prosecuted. What a surprise, sort of like police investigated O.J. Simpson for assaulting his wife and never filed reports because of the Juice’s celebrity status. But the news is out, and Nick Saban still faces whether to discipline his two players.
Saint Nick is under no pressure to bench his guys, but he is not saying because it gives Southern Cal, his opening day opponent, one or two more things to think about in preparing for the game. Florida State doesn’t know what to expect for its opener against Ole Miss. The Rebels’ defensive tackle Breeland Speaks was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in March, and Coach Hugh Freeze has not said if he’ll play against the ‘Noles. The same goes for Rod Taylor, a key offensive lineman who was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in April. Does it really take so long to decide?
Auburn plays defending Orange Bowl champion Clemson at home in its season-opener, yet the Tigers could very well be without two of their best young players in cornerback Carlton Davis and pass-rusher Byron Cowart. They, along with wide out Ryan Davis and defensive back, Jeremiah Dinson, were arrested in May on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Coach Gus Malzahn hasn’t said much because his indecision is confusing Clemson.
As with Alabama, some of these kids won’t ever go to court, but that’s not the point. SEC coaches are using their transgressions as smokescreens for opponents trying to prepare to play their teams. Seemingly, nothing has been learned from what has happened in the past when it comes to football in the SEC.
Local police are hesitant to make arrests and DA’s are hesitant to press charges because of the pressures THEY face from the schools, their coaches and their fans. Whether or not they play, they are part of the summer game plan in the SEC. Nice strategy.http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-part-of-the-gameplan
And so we wait.
What action will the NCAA take against UNC for its athletic/academic wrongdoings?
Personally, I do not understand why the NCAA has any moral authority in these matters in any case. It is, after all, the enabler of the Big Time Sports schemes. I am much more concerned about the deliberations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools from which a stern sentence could literally cost the university billions of dollars.
What troubles me now about the scandal is the narrow, legalistic framing. Does this email confirm corrupt behavior or exonerate the sender? What is the definition of “behavior?” What is the definition of “sender?” Will an NCAA verdict and sentence bring a close to the scandal and its horrific costs to the moral core and the reputation of the University?
In my view, this narrow framing will not bring an end. The University, does, however, have it within its own power to do the right thing, regardless of the legal contortions. This we know. Hundreds of presumed students participated in games as athletes, while getting credit for fraudulent courses. It matters not whether Roy Williams or Sylvia Hatchell or the entire Faculty Council were active collaborators or ignorant souls about these indisputable misdeeds, each individual has to live with their own conscience. We know that University procedures and officials made it possible for UNC teams to win by encouraging and enabling dishonesty at the vital core of any university–integrity in the classroom.
The University can own this responsibility by forfeiting the games, returning the tainted championship banners, acknowledging simply and clearly, “we violated the basic trust placed in us as a university and we take responsibility for making amends.” In Dostoyevsky’s monumental psychological drama, Crime and Punishment, the very first we hear from Raskolnikov, the tormented protagonist, is “all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.
It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most…”
If victories are what define athletics, let’s not be afraid to give them back.
— Lew Margolishttp://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/lets-give-back-the-victories
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said the university is “pleased to have” the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
The amended allegations came in to the university on Monday morning and were released to the public later that afternoon.
Folt, speaking at the WCHL Community Forum on Tuesday, said that the university is ready to move forward.
“We feel like we’ve been doing everything that we can to work with the NCAA,” Folt said, “and I think that’s been very important for us.”
Folt added that she was pleased with the steps the university has taken and that the UNC student-athletes set a record-high APR over the past year.
“I try to remember that the students who are here have nothing to do with those allegations, so they need to feel that they’re moving forward and proud of their institution,” Folt said. “And we need to feel very proud of how we’re handling it.”
Folt also credited UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham for his guidance through this process, calling him a “very thoughtful leader” adding she had “a lot of confidence in him.”
The new Notice of Allegations still contains accusations of five Level 1 infractions, the most serious the NCAA can levy. But what has drawn the most attention is the wording of the amended NOA, specifically the lack of a mention of either the men’s basketball or football programs.
The university has 90 days to respond to the amended NOA.http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-chancellor-addresses-amended-notice-of-allegations
There were a few words missing from the amended Notice of Allegations that UNC received on Monday from the NCAA when comparing it to the original notice, most notably “men’s basketball” and “football.”
The new 12-page document that was released on Monday afternoon differs in places from the 55-page notice the university originally received in May 2015. The procedure leading to any NCAA decision was put on hold in August when the university self-reported additional violations.
After an eight-month wait, the new document has restarted the process to reach the finish line in the long-running scandal.
While men’s basketball and football aren’t mentioned in the amended Notice of Allegations, UNC is still facing five Level 1 infractions, the most serious the NCAA can levy.
UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham called these allegations “very significant” adding the university takes them “very seriously.”
“We’re working as hard as we can to secure a fair outcome for Carolina,” Cunningham told reporters in a teleconference on Monday.
Listen to the full audio from Bubba Cunningham’s teleconference below:
Cunningham clarified that the amended NOA replaces the original notice and is not an add-on document.
Cunningham said speculating on potential sanctions is something he “can not do.”
He added that the extent of the investigation is likely what led to the length of time it took for the NCAA to respond to the university’s self-reported violations.
“This may be the most complicated, involved case in history – certainly in our history,” Cunningham said. “And there has been a lot of reporting, there’s been a lot of investigations, multiple investigations. And the NCAA is now completing their work by issuing the amended notice.
“But it’s voluminous in nature, and it’s over an extended period of time. I think the volume and the time is probably why it has lasted this long.”
Cunningham said while the university awaits any potential sanctions from the NCAA, he thinks the university has already suffered in some ways due to the length of the investigation.
“I do think that the length of time that the investigations – both the internal investigations that we’ve conducted as a university [and] the external reviews and investigations that have been done – have been taxing and draining on the institution,” Cunningham said.
The amended notice alleges former UNC women’s basketball athletic academic counselor Jan Boxill “knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes.”
UNC is also accused of not sufficiently monitoring the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes in the formerly-known African and Afro-American Studies department from the fall of 2005 through the summer of 2011. This allegation makes a reference to student-athletes in general but contains no specific accusation toward men’s basketball or football, a significant change from the original notice.
The other charges are in connection with Deborah Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro not cooperating with the NCAA investigation and a charge of Lack of Institutional Control.
When asked why men’s basketball and football weren’t mentioned in the revised notice, Cunningham said that was a question for the NCAA.
Cunningham said he expects the university to use nearly the full 90 days before responding to the notice. Cunningham said if the university decides to self-impose any sanctions, it will most likely come during the window to respond to the NCAA.
Still, the timeline for a resolution to the case could easily linger into 2017.
Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a regular sports commentator. She spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Monday following the release of the ANOA.http://chapelboro.com/featured/amended-noa-differs-original-significant-charges-remain
The University of North Carolina has released the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
The news broke on Monday morning that the university had received the revised allegations.
You can review the amended NOA through the Carolina Commitment website.
UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham released the following statement regarding the amended NOA:
“We are carefully reviewing the amended notice of allegations resulting from our joint investigation with the NCAA and will respond with facts and evidence that present a full picture of our case. The University takes these allegations extremely seriously. We remain committed to cooperating fully with the NCAA while working tirelessly to secure a fair outcome for Carolina.”
A press conference is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
More information will be added to this story as it becomes available.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-releases-amended-notice-of-allegations
UNC has confirmed that it has received the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
The Associated Press’ Aaron Beard was first to report the university had received the document.
The university initially received the Notice of Allegations following the long-running paper-class scandal on May 22 of last year. The 59-page NOA was then made public in June charging North Carolina with five Level 1 infractions ranging from impermissible benefits to unethical conduct and lack of institutional control.
UNC then self-reported additional potential violations in August, restarting the clock for a response from the NCAA.
UNC now has 90 days to submit its response to the amended NOA.
The NCAA will then have a time period to respond before a hearing could be held by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
The amended NOA is expected to be made public Monday afternoon and a press conference is scheduled to take place with UNC officials.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-receives-amended-noa-ncaa
So the 2015-16 Tar Heels turned out to be a team of destiny after all…
…it just wasn’t quite the destiny we wanted.
After a year of preseason accolades, hype, doubt, and triumph, Brice and Marcus and crew stormed through the ACC tourney and ran all the way to the NCAA title game, only to come up juuust short at the hands of stupid Villanova and stupid Kris Jenkins’ stupid last-second 3.
Great game. Memorable season. Just not quite a national title.
But never fear!
I’m calling it right now: Carolina will win the NCAA championship in 2018.
How can I be so sure?
Because we’ve seen this story before.
Seventeen years before, to be precise.
Go back to 1999. March 29, St. Petersburg. Usually some interloping 3- or 4-seed sneaks into the NCAA final, but that year’s final featured undeniably the two best teams in the nation. On the one side, the Big East champion (Connecticut rather than Villanova), seeking a title after several years of coming up just short. On the other side, the ACC champ (Duke rather than UNC), seeking its first national title in…yep, exactly seven years.
It would have been the third overall for their legendary coach.
Is this sounding familiar?
Both teams brought their A games. Back and forth the whole way. Duke scored 39 first-half points and led at halftime – just like Carolina did – but UConn came back and pulled out a thrilling victory in the closing seconds.
Final score? 77-74. Yes, exactly the same as UNC-Nova. Look it up.
And two years later, Duke won the NCAA title.
So that’s it. I’m calling it. The similarities are too eerie. It can’t be coincidence, y’all. It’s got to be destiny.
Tar Heels! 2018 national champions!
(Provided the NCAA doesn’t get in the way, of course.)
And while I’m making wild predictions, don’t worry: Marcus Paige will get his NCAA title too. Twenty years from now. After he takes over for Hubert Davis as UNC’s head coach.
(Try to remember you heard it here first.)