UNC Launches New Academic Support Website for Student-Athletes

UNC has launched a new website centered on academic services for student-athletes.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at UNC announced the new website that offers information regarding all of the academic support services offered to student-athletes at Carolina, according to the ASPSA Director Michelle Brown.

“The website doesn’t change or doesn’t present new services,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase the services to the prospective families and student athletes, our current students and our faculty members.”

UNC has an estimated 800 student-athletes spanning 28 sports.

Brown has been at UNC for nearly two and a half years. She says that, since the uncovering of the paper-class scandal at UNC, several new programs have been implemented.

“One of the largest, and the newer, services that we offer is the MAP program,” she says, “which is My Academic Plan. It replaces a traditional study hall program.

“My Academic Plan is more of an individualized plan where it takes into consideration the student’s needs.”

Brown adds they are working to continue the support beyond traditional programs.

“We are taking the skills and knowledge from each individual, putting the learning specialist in there and cross training across from academic counselors,” she says, “so that we can understand how a student would need to study and what they might need to focus on.

“We also have some guided study sessions where we then, in the study hall-environment where they will be studying, practice those skills.”

The university’s website says ASPSA “helps student-athletes explore their interests and abilities and provides numerous academic services, including tutoring, secondary academic and career advising, and University and NCAA eligibility.”

Brown says the new website will better showcase the services being provided to current and prospective student-athletes as well as faculty and administrators.

“This is a place where faculty can come to, to see what services we’re providing [and] find out other faculty committees and groups that are there for them,” she says. “One of the premier parts of the website is the place to showcase the students and their academic achievements.”

Brown adds general population students at Carolina are offered similar services as the student-athletes are provided, but the oversight of the students is not as regimented.


Alcohol-Related Incidents Keep Chapel Hill Police Busy

As the first week of classes at UNC wrapped up, it kicked off the first full weekend of parties with the full student body back on campus. And as the campus was filled with revelers, the UNC student charged in the triple-fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 in July was served new charges.

The police blotter is full of alcohol violations from Thursday through Sunday night.

Chapel Hill Police responded to multiple calls of loud music and parties in Fraternity Court, on the UNC campus, and on Church Street, in Chapel Hill, leading to 10 citations for underage possession of alcohol being issued to citizens between the age of 18 and 20.

It wasn’t only the under-21 population breaking the rules, police also issued six open container citations for the over-21 crowd, along with a 21-year old charged with resisting arrest and public urination, and a 22-year-old cited for being drunk and disruptive and resisting arrest.

More students were issued citations this weekend than compared with move-in weekend earlier this month.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore told WCHL recently that authorities are typically very active early in the semester.

“Our hope is that parents will have set those kids up with some good decision-making skills,” he says, “and then when we set clear expectations, that they’ll choose to follow those. We know that some people won’t.

“But we try to set clear expectations, and then we’re going to have some consequences for those who don’t follow those expectations. And that’s especially true at the beginning of the school year.”

He adds police also have concentrated efforts and a larger volume of calls on certain occasions, including football games and the days surrounding breaks in the academic calendar.

Renewed focus has been aimed at underage drinking on the UNC campus after a rising junior was involved in a triple-fatal wrong-way crash earlier this summer.

20-year-old Chanlder Kania has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder after allegedly driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head-on into another vehicle, killing three of the four passengers.

Kania was cited on Friday with two additional charges of obtaining alcohol with a false ID, according to court documents.

Kania is currently under house arrest in Asheboro after posting a $1 million bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on his initial charges on September 25 and has an appearance on October 8 for the additional allegations.


UNC School of Government Preparing to Train Officials Across NC

The UNC School of Government has received a donation to continue training elected officials to best serve residents of North Carolina.

Donna Warner is the Director of the Local Elected Leaders Academy at UNC, and she says their programs will serve several hundred newly-elected municipal leaders across the state following this fall’s elections.

“Our job is to help public officials – and that’s elected and appointed – to lead and govern their communities,” she says. “And to provide the knowledge, the skills, and the context that help them make strategic decisions that are going to move their communities forward.”

This training will consist of budget simulations, conducting mock meetings, and other obligations to bring newly-elected officials up to speed and help veteran politicians bring new thinking into their process.

“One of the things that newly-elected people feel is that they are surprised that no one is in charge,” she says. “The way that our Republic is set up is that the power is distributed.

“People are elected, and they come with an agenda. And what they have to learn is they may campaign as an individual but now you govern as a body.”

Warner says a recent $100,000 gift from Prudential Financial will provide continued funding of initiatives, including an upcoming session with a mix of veteran county commissioners and municipal leaders.

“We don’t know of any other state in the nation that is doing what we’re doing,” she says. “We are bringing together 10 county commissioners and 10 council members for a week of intensive personal-leadership training.

“That gives them an understanding about themselves as well as gives them an understanding about others.”

Program participants are selected from among those who attend educational programs and volunteer for their statewide associations, the North Carolina League of Municipalities and North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.


Danny Lotz Passes Away

A member of the 1957 UNC national championship team passed away on Wednesday.

Dr. Danny Lotz passed away at Rex Hospital, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday shortly before noon, according to a statement from the hospital.

Anne Graham Lotz – who is the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham – found Danny unresponsive in the couple’s pool at their Raleigh home on Monday afternoon. The hospital’s statement reports Lotz’s heart stopped while swimming. Emergency responders “restarted” his heart and transported him to Rex Hospital, where he remained hospitalized.

Lennie Rosenbluth was a teammate of Lotz on the ’57 championship team. He tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge that he had just recently spoken with Lotz while planning a team reunion.

Listen below:


Lotz was 78 years old.

UNC released the following statement regarding Lotz passing:

“The University of North Carolina and the Tar Heel basketball program extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Danny Lotz. He was a true gentleman and beloved member of our Tar Heel family. His brother, John, who passed away several years ago, was also a wonderful ambassador for the University as well as an outstanding basketball coach. Danny and his teammates permanently etched their names in the history books as members of the undefeated 1957 national champions, but his positive impact on people went far beyond basketball. Our prayers go out to the Lotz and Graham families and all of Danny’s friends, colleagues and teammates.”

The Lotz Family released the following statement through Rex Hospital:

The Lotz family appreciates all the prayers and expressions of love and support that have poured in this week, which the Lord has used to sustain them during this time. They respectfully ask for privacy as they mourn their loss and celebrate the life and legacy of a great husband, father and man of God.

Gov. Pat McCrory released the following statement:

Ann and I were saddened today to hear the news about the death of Danny Lotz. Danny was a champion in so many ways. First as a member of UNC’s 1957 undefeated national basketball championship team and then later in life as his faith led him to be a strong supporter and mentor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as a dedicated Bible study teacher. He was truly a North Carolina legend. We send our prayers to his wife Ann and the rest of their family in this truly difficult time.


From Afghanistan to Chapel Hill

There are many amazing stories among the thousands of incoming students at Carolina for the fall semester, including Zach Johnson’s course to UNC.

The 25-year-old has not followed a typical path to the Carolina campus.

“I don’t think I’m too much different than any other student,” he says. “But my story is a little bit different in the sense that I didn’t go straight into college when I was 18; I joined the military on my 18th birthday.

“I was finishing up high school, and I just wanted something different. I was trying to challenge myself. I was young and thought I was invincible, that led me to sign up for the Marines.”

Johnson says seeing everything that was going on in Afghanistan made him want to get involved.

“By the time I was 20 years old, I was over there,” he says. “I completed one deployment, and I came back home [and] heard about the bomb-dog handling position opening up.

“That’s how I met Gus.”

Gus is the Golden Labrador Retriever Johnson was matched up with after telling instructors that he wanted a challenge. The relationship between human and canine didn’t get off on the best foot.

“When we got to the kennel – you can’t see the dogs, you can only hear them – there’s about 35 dogs and there’s one growl that you can hear over all the rest of them,” he says. “They looked at me and said, ‘You hear that growl? That’s your dog.’

“He’s an unassuming looking dog, a beautiful golden retriever, and I went in there and he bit me on the hand on the first day.”

After their initial relationship troubles, Johnson says Gus was an amazingly loyal dog for a year and half, joining Johnson on hundreds of patrols and searches before retiring in 2012.

Johnson joined the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program after enrolling at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. Now that his transfer to Chapel Hill is complete, he has eyes on another challenge.

“Next goal is to earn my place into Kenan-Flagler,” he says. “I think Chapel Hill has one of the best business programs in the country, especially for undergrads.

“I’ve had my eyes on that prize since I applied for C-STEP about a year and a half ago at Cape Fear.”

Johnson adds there is one part of the Chapel Hill experience, outside of the classroom opportunity, that he is most looking forward to.

“I keep hearing about Halloween night on Franklin Street,” he says. “Everywhere I go I hear about Halloween on Franklin Street.”

And while a final costume decision hasn’t been made, he says a military-theme is highly likely.


Former UNC Football Players Rally Around Teammate Battling Cancer

A former UNC Tar Heel football player is battling major health issues and his teammates are coming in for support.

Quincy Monk played linebacker for Carolina from 1998 through 2001, finishing second on the team in tackles in his senior season, before being selected by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Monk played two seasons for the Giants before finishing his football career with the Houston Texans. But now Monk is facing another aggressive opponent, cancer.

One of Monk’s teammates during his time at UNC, Kory Bailey, tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge more about Monk’s situation and why so many former teammates are coming to his aide.

Listen below:


You can donate to the fund through this link.



Stroman On Sports: A New “Day”

The fall semester begins this week at UNC, and that means the fall sports season is just around the corner. On Monday, sports commentator and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor Deb Stroman told WCHL’s Aaron Keck she’s especially looking forward to watching Carolina men’s and women’s soccer take the field; both teams are ranked in the national top 10 this year.

Stroman also shared her thoughts about Jason Day’s PGA Championship victory – officially declaring this the “post-Tiger era” – and the National Labor Relations Board’s decision not to allow Northwestern football players to unionize, a ruling that maintains the status quo in college athletics but is unlikely to quell the ongoing debate.

Listen to their conversation.


Deb Stroman appears on WCHL during “Aaron in the Afternoon” every Monday at 3:30.


“Who is Sandra Bland?” Spray Painted on Silent Sam and Post Office

Silent Sam, on the UNC campus, and the Post Office, on Franklin Street, were spray painted with the words, “Who is Sandra Bland?”

The paint was discovered early Tuesday morning, as thousands of students were making their way to the first day of classes at Carolina.

Silent Sam spray painted with "Who is Sandra Bland?" Photo via Blake Hodge

Silent Sam spray painted with “Who is Sandra Bland?”
Photo via Blake Hodge

Bland’s name has been a rallying cry for advocates after the African-American woman was found hanging in her jail cell in Texas. Police say she hanged herself, while family members contend that foul play was involved on the part of law enforcement.

READ MORE: Pressure Washing Silent Sam

This is the second time that Silent Sam has been tagged in recent months. Over the July 4 weekend, the words “Black Lives Matter,” “Murderer” and “KKK” were spray painted on the monument that serves as a memorial to soldiers who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War. University workers quickly covered the graffiti after the first tagging. On Tuesday, the lettering was left uncovered throughout the morning.

UNC Director of Media Relations Jim Gregory released the following statement on Tuesday morning, “Over the past few days hundreds of faculty, staff and members of the Carolina community have come together to welcome first-year and returning students. This is what Carolina is all about, and this includes our commitment to free speech and open dialogue on all issues, no matter how emotional and at times painful. Vandalism like this is unfortunate because it is the antithesis of open discussion and the traditions and principles for which the University stands.”

Silent Sam has not been the only memorial in the spotlight as of late. In May, the UNC Board of Trustees voted to rename Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall; the building was originally named for William L. Saunders, who was a Colonel in the Confederate Army and purported leader of the KKK in North Carolina.

READ MORE: Saunders Hall Now Officially Carolina Hall

Crews from the Town of Chapel Hill were out around 10 o’clock Tuesday morning cleaning off the columns of the Post Office.

UNC officials said after the July tagging of Silent Sam that a protective layer would be placed on the monument to ease cleaning efforts for future situations.

In late July, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill making it more difficult to remove or relocate Confederate monuments.


Chansky’s Notebook: Vicious Cycle Continues

Will the Wainstein Report ever go away? Not looking like it.

For the media and all those ABC fans, the Wainstein Report is the gift that keeps on giving. That one last independent probe into the academic scandal, which the Board of Governors and Chancellor believed we needed, traded transparency for protection of the university’s image and brand. Needless, I say, because what was broken had already been fixed.

Beyond the 131-page document that was bound neatly, released to the media and sent off the to the NCAA, which re-opened its investigation, were more than 1200 pages of interviews conducted that are still public documents being sought by the News and Observer and other public records requestors. Bubba Cunningham said Friday that those are related to millions of other documents, presumably mostly emails, that the university has to pour through in order to respond accurately to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations.

Something else has been uncovered pertaining to women’s basketball, so who’s to say more of the same won’t be found by everyone looking, reading and requesting? The latest glitch could prolong the official response well into the new year, hurting recruiting further. And if anything else comes out, the vicious cycle will continue, although Cunningham is hopeful the NCAA will adjudicate this thing by the spring. That, of course, won’t keep the media and enemies from looking for and finding more embarrassing and potentially damaging information.

Before Wainstein, the university and NCAA had exchanged letters saying, “Thank you, three-year probation served, and investigation closed.” That is where it should have ended before another $3.5 million was spent and more questions were raised from those answered by the report. All the internal audits and reviews UNC wanted or needed could have kept on going to make sure the right classes were being taught in the right way by the right professors.

But that last little bit of transparency blew the case wide open again when, in my opinion, it was the last thing Carolina ever should have done to protect itself from further damage. Now, where it all ends nobody knows.


UNC Self-Reports Additional Potential NCAA Violations

UNC announced it has self-reported additional potential infractions to the NCAA.

The next chapter in the seemingly never-ending scandal at Carolina was unfurled on Friday with UNC announcing new potential violations were submitted to the NCAA regarding improper academic assistance with women’s basketball and the finding of possible recruiting violations with the men’s soccer program.

Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham spoke to the media on Friday, saying the ball is now in the NCAA’s court to review the submissions.

“We share the confidence, with the NCAA,” he says, “that this additional review can be concluded quickly – and within 60 days – to bring closure to the investigation.”

That means that the response from UNC to the NCAA regarding the Notice of Allegations that was issued in May, which was scheduled to be sent on Tuesday of next week, will be delayed until the conclusion of the NCAA’s review of the new material.

“I’m still hopeful that we can get through this portion of the investigation, receive the amended notice – if that is what is required – and still bring this to closure by the spring of [2016],” he says. “Intermediate dates, or even that date, are highly speculative. But that’s what I’m hopeful that we can achieve.”

Cunningham says the potential infractions with women’s basketball are consistent with what was put forward in the Notice of Allegations regarding impermissible academic assistance being given through Dr. Jan Boxill, who was the academic advisor for the Tar Heel women’s basketball team.

Cunningham says the new material was found while going through nearly six million files in preparation for the response to the Notice of Allegations. He did say he feels officials have gotten to the end of the most pertinent information; meaning new accusations are less likely to develop.

On the other hand, the new submissions from men’s soccer are unrelated to the Wainstein Report and the Notice of Allegations. Cunningham says the new revelations came about after the coaches took a compliance test.

“One of our coaches got a question wrong and came to get clarity on it,” he says. “We realized that the coaches misunderstood the rule and created some violations. And we immediately turned that in.

“So I feel reasonably good that the system somewhat worked.”

But Cunningham says this is still a negative mark overall.

“I’m very disappointed in the timing,” he says. “I’m very disappointed in the impact it’s going to have on the institution, on the program, and how it delays where we were.

“But I’m proud of the fact that people own the mistakes when it happens.”

The university continues to tout the 70-plus reforms that have been implemented to ensure the academic scandal that dates back to the 1990’s does not happen again.

Cunningham says he’s confident the review will be completed in the next two months. If the NCAA decides to amend the Notice of Allegations, Carolina would then have another full 90 days to formulate and submit its renewed response.

Cunningham adds he is frustrated by the process and knows that fans are, but points out this is the “Carolina culture” to want to know what happened, understand it, and fix it.

“We have been open. We have been transparent. We have followed all of these various processes,” he says. “Each time we did a different review, it wasn’t thought to be thorough enough, or long enough, or deep enough. And we felt that Ken Wainstein and his group created that sense of closure.

“But as you review all of those additional documents, some things do pop up that require a view through an NCAA lens.”

Listen to the full press conference with Bubba Cunningham here:


UNC men’s soccer coach Carlos Somoano released the following statement regarding the accusations facing his staff:

“We strive to run a program that abides by all University and NCAA regulations. However, our coaching staff unknowingly made a mistake and I immediately notified our compliance office.

“I would like to discuss specifics of the alleged violations but I am bound by confidentiality rules that apply during an active NCAA investigation. My staff and I will cooperate completely with the University and the NCAA. I can say that the investigation does not affect our current or former players on the men’s soccer team.”

You can read the full statement from UNC below:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has notified the NCAA’s enforcement staff that, in the course of responding to the NCAA’s notice of allegations of May 20, 2015, it identified two new pieces of information potentially requiring further review. The University is fully cooperating with the NCAA and working within the NCAA’s processes to bring closure to the investigation as soon as possible.

First, while preparing for public release of a series of emails from the independent investigation conducted by Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, the University found additional examples of possible instances of improper academic assistance provided to a few former women’s basketball players, directly related to allegation number two in the May 20, 2015, notice of allegations.

“We identified this new information as part of our due diligence in preparing our response to the notice of allegations and materials for public release,” said Director of Athletics Lawrence R. (Bubba) Cunningham. “Consistent with NCAA process, we promptly notified the NCAA’s enforcement staff. We continue to work cooperatively and expeditiously with the enforcement staff to complete our review, and we are confident this can be done quickly to allow the NCAA to bring closure to the investigation.

“There is no question this has been a long and challenging process, and it is one we are committed to finishing as we started – by cooperating fully with the NCAA, adhering to obligations under the NCAA’s rules, and working tirelessly to secure a fair and just outcome for Carolina.”

The second piece of new information involves potential recruiting violations in the men’s soccer program that allegedly occurred over the past two years. While these potential violations are completely unrelated to the allegations in the NCAA’s current notice of allegations, the University is obligated to report this new information and did so as soon as athletics compliance staff became aware of the information. NCAA infractions procedures require that if this new information is deemed to be a Level I or Level II violation, the existing notice of allegations must be amended to include it even though they are unrelated to the prior allegations.

Said Cunningham, “The information we self-reported to the NCAA regarding our men’s soccer program does not meet the high expectations of conduct that I have set for Carolina’s coaches and our entire athletics program. We expect excellence in everything we do, including NCAA compliance, and we will accept nothing less. We will continue to work closely with the NCAA to investigate this matter and avoid unnecessary delays. While this development is very disappointing, it is important to recognize that our athletics compliance procedures detected the potential violations and our coaching staff came forward to report them.”

The University reported the new information to the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Aug. 10 as required by the NCAA infractions program. The University shares the NCAA’s confidence that the additional review to address both issues can be concluded quickly – within 60 days – to bring closure to this investigation. Upon receiving the results of the review, the NCAA enforcement staff will decide whether its current notice of allegations needs to be amended. Under these circumstances, the University will delay submitting its response to the current notice on the original Aug. 18 due date, consistent with NCAA procedures. The NCAA will set a new response date following the supplemental review of the new information.

“I know today’s announcement will cause some to ask when all of this will end,” Cunningham said. “I want to assure everyone that Carolina is doing all it can to bring these matters to closure as quickly as possible while also strictly adhering to the NCAA’s infractions process. While we need to address these new developments, we have already completed the majority of the work necessary to respond to the NCAA’s notice. We fully believe that we will be able to bring the investigation to a conclusion in spring 2016, as previously anticipated.”

After the University submits its response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations, it also will be posted on the Carolina Commitment website. The University can only comment about NCAA process and policies; it cannot comment on the substance of the case until its completion.