I saw an interesting proposal on PP last week (rswilli?) for a survey predicting the final outcome of the investigations currently underway at UNC. The choices were:
- Slap on the wrist
- Brick to the head
- Hammer of Thor
- Wrath of God
Before you make a selection, maybe a little rational discussion will help narrow your choices. So far, we’ve had a lot of discussion/speculation about what rules/laws have been broken and frightfully little about what the penalties for those transgressions are. If you love bantering rumors around, that’s fine with me. However, I want to move out of the land of speculation (and sometimes delusion) and into something a little more based in reality.
I hope to establish some context and perspective by listing pertinent information that has been documented in the main-stream media and what penalties would be expected based on the precedents set by previous NCAA investigations. I hope that this entry serves as a framework that we can add to as additional information is made public because new facts won’t change anything that is actually true today. New information will only add more clarity to the picture that I hope to start developing today.
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Four years of probation (March 6, 2009, to March 5, 2013).
• Scholarship reductions in football; men’s and women’s basketball; men’s and women’s swimming; men’s and women’s track and field; baseball; softball; and men’s golf.
• Vacation of all wins in which the 61 student-athletes in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track, men’s golf, baseball and softball competed while ineligible during 2006 and 2007.
The athletes could have faced complete ineligibility, but received a reduced penalty because Florida State accepted most of the blame for what happened due to failures by faculty members and academic officials and tutors in the athletic department.
One has to wonder if the FSU loophole exists for the cheating UNC players. To date, no one in authority at UNC has accepted responsibility for anything.
Chancellor Thorp has said that all athletes implicated in cheating will be subject to NCAA and Student Honor Court penalties. Since UNC is currently investigating the academic fraud (sort of like the fox looking for missing chickens), the university may choose to self-impose penalties before turning their conclusions over to the NCAA.
I have a unique business opportunity that I would like to discuss with anyone who thinks that the Honor Court will impose additional penalties beyond whatever UNC and the NCAA decide.
In addition to recent high-profile cases from USC, Alabama, and Georgia, here is a little blurb that the NCAA put out in July in the form of a generic case study:
The student-athlete was declared ineligible due to the fact that he had signed an agreement with an agent. However, in light of the facts that the student-athlete acted in reliance on erroneous information provided by the institution and that the student-athlete did not receive material benefits from the agent, the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff reinstated the student-athlete subject to several conditions. The student-athlete was required to terminate his agreement in writing with the agent and withdraw from the NFL draft. The student-athlete was also required to repay $100 to the charity of his choice. Finally, the institution was required to withhold the student-athlete from the first 30 percent of the institution’s contests the following football season.
While there has been no discussion about signed contracts in the current UNC scandal, Cam Thomas has already admitted that Kentwan Balmer paid for a trip to California for himself and Marvin Austin BEFORE the 2009 season.
Of course no one could forget the oft-discussed South Beach trip that Marvin Austin claimed was paid for by Vontae Davis. Even if Vontae had paid for the trip, this would still constitute improper benefits. The fact that Davis has denied paying for the trip raises the obvious question about WHO actually paid for that trip since Marvin has admitted that he didn’t.
General note to UNC fans and especially IC participants: Anyone that claimed that the players were only going to serve a one-game suspension was obviously ignorant, misled, lying, or some combination. In any event, you might keep that in mind when evaluating any information that they post in the future as the investigations continue.
There is a lot of dirt swirling around this former UNC player. He paid Georgia WR, AJ Green, $1000 for a game-day jersey because he likes to collect jerseys. Don’t you know that the NCAA investigators would love to get a quick peek into Hawkins’ closet?
The NCAA has declared that Hawkins meets their definition of an agent. The state of Georgia is attempting to prove that Hawkins meets their definition of a drug dealer. Yet Hawkins has often been seen in Chapel Hill with football players and even working out in the weight room there.
Since Hawkins is now considered an agent, every drink, meal, jersey, shoe, or PACK OF GUM that he ever bought for ANY player is an improper benefit. But it is important to note that I have not seen any report directly connecting UNC violations to Hawkins. However the fact that Hawkins was, until recently, apparently given free reign to UNC’s players and facilities meets the very definition of “not good”. I think that it is obvious that Hawkins is either another “prong” of the NCAA investigation or at the very least, a broadening of the agent prong already in progress.
Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus was suspended for two games and had to donate $1,787.17 to a charity of his choice because of improper benefits in the form of airfare, lodging, meals and transportation for two trips taken to Miami during the summer. Early in the Alabama investigation, it was reported that Marvin Austin issued the initial invitation to South Beach and paid for the trip.
According to the NCAA news release, Dareus faced a four-game suspension, but the punishment was reduced to two games due to unspecified mitigating circumstances. The article linked above highlights several things that could be considered as mitigating circumstances:
- Dareus was lured to South Beach under false pretences (he didn’t know that agents were hosting the party he was going to attend with Austin).
- When Austin first made the news, Dareus told Alabama officials about the trip.
- Alabama immediately informed the NCAA and performed its own investigation.
Those facts MIGHT be enough for the NCAA to cut the normal suspension in half. The NCAA wants players and the schools to be open, honest, and forth coming with any actual or potential violations. If the penalties are the same whether or not you self-report, then this policy would actually work against the way that the NCAA wants things to work.
There is one more mitigating circumstance worth mentioning. The NCAA described Dareus as “one of the most truthful student-athletes we have ever interviewed.” A transcript of that interview would likely lock up web sites all over the Triangle.
Here are some questions to consider:
- If the NCAA considers Hawkins an agent, then what is their classification of Austin? If the NCAA determines that Austin is either an agent or a runner for an agent, then this moves “not good” to a whole new level.
- How could the NCAA penalize Dareus for a trip and NOT penalize Austin for the same trip?
As discussed by Steve Spurrier, Black Santa definitely has a reputation among college coaches. Now sometimes reputations are not an accurate representation of the person in question. However, grossly inaccurate reputations are far more common in Lifetime/Hallmark movies than they are in real life.
The reports of an insane number of phone calls and text messages between Blake and his former employer, agent Gary Wichard, pretty much settled the issue for every adult with a triple-digit IQ. However, the NCAA won’t issue penalties for reputations, frequent phone calls to an agent, or any other smoke…even if they are sure that there is a fire somewhere.
There might be records to uncover or the NCAA may have already uncovered something concrete linking Blake to NCAA violations. But it seems more likely that any wrong doing by Blake would have to come out through personal testimony. So if I was a UNC fan, I wouldn’t be concerned about anyone running their mouth….would you? 8)
LYING TO NCAA INVESTIGATORS
Dez Bryant was suspended for an entire year for lying to NCAA investigators. I’m just saying…
LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL
A pdf from the NCAA lists the following points to consider when evaluating lack of control versus failure to monitor:
- Duration/frequency of violations.
- Visibility of violations.
- Warning sings to institution
- Number of involved student-athletes/teams.
- Number of involved staff members.
- Significance of impermissible benefit.
- Recruiting/competitive advantage gained.
- Self-report or report from outside source.
- Multiple failures to monitor can be viewed as a lack of institutional control.
It should be obvious that reaching the decision of LOIC is a judgment call that will be made after all investigations are concluded. The list of things either ignored or not known by anyone in UNC’s athletic dept is growing quite large. Plausible deniability might work in a court of law…but is pretty meaningless to the NCAA.
“The real issue here is if you have high‑profile players, your enforcement staff has to monitor those students at a higher level. It’s extraordinarily important that the people that are likely to be receiving these kinds of interactions from people outside the institution are also those same people who are going to provide a reward somewhere down the road. So high‑profile players demand high‑profile compliance.
I think that LOIC always results in a post-season ban. Can anyone think of an instance when it didn’t?
EXPECTED PENALITIES AND ODDS
Here are a few of the obvious penalties that could/will be imposed on UNC and my estimation of their likelihood of being levied.
Probation – dead certain.
The only question is how long? (FSU & USC – 4 years)
It is important to note that probation in and of itself is essentially nothing more than your one free strike. Get caught cheating while you’re on probation and then you can start talking about the “wrath of God”.
Player Suspensions beyond the first two games – dead certain.
However, since we don’t know who is accused of what (with a couple of exceptions), we can’t say which players we might see again this year.
Improper Benefits – players will have to repay the benefits and sit out 30% of the games. It would seem likely that anyone who can’t or won’t repay the benefits (ie donate the value of the improper benefits to charity) won’t be reinstated at all.
Cheating – minimum of 30% of the schedule.
Forfeited Wins – dead certain.
At a minimum, the wins from the 2009 season will be vacated because of Cam Thomas’ testimony of improper benefits. Likewise, all wins with players that are guilty of academic fraud will be forfeited. The questions are how many teams, how many years, and how many games?
Scholarship Reductions – dead certain.
Questions are: How many teams, how many scholarship reductions, how many years?
FSU FB – 6 total reductions over a three-year period.
USC FB – reduction of 10 scholarships per year for the next three years.
TV Ban – unlikely (for now)
A ban on TV appearances can still be imposed by the NCAA, even though it has not been used for many years. A TV ban was discussed for USC, but ultimately not imposed.
Lack of Institutional Control – somewhere between “possible” and “likely”
What we already know is enough that this should at least be a point of discussion and consideration for the NCAA. It won’t take many of the rumors to come through before LOIC becomes “dead certain”.
Post-Season Ban – unknown
Recruiting Restrictions – unknown
Even though Dave Glenn has been confused on this point for years, smoke is not sufficient for conviction…or even an accusation.
It seems obvious that many State fans are hoping for hell fire and brimestone from the NCAA to level Chapel Hill merely because of the UNC fans that they have had to endure over the years. Living in VA, I haven’t had to endure any of that kind of crap. So I view the UNC scandal with a sense of curiosity more than with the blood-lust that I see from many State fans, even the ones that I know are otherwise level-headed individuals.
To date, the neatest thing for me to see is the complete destruction of Dave Glenn’s reputation among State fans. (His name has even been added to the profanity filter at Pack Pride.) He has been playing State fans for fools for years, certainly ever since the Amato/PR era. The advice I originally gave on Gregg Doyel (ie the Troll) over four years ago also applies to Dave Glenn:
- Don’t waste time refuting his silliness.
- Don’t waste time getting mad.
- DON’T GO TO HIS WEB PAGE.
- DON”T LISTEN TO HIS RADIO BROADCAST
- DON’T CALL INTO HIS RADIO SHOW
- DON’T BUY HIS RAG (originally called the Poop Sheet…seriously)
- Just ignore him. He probably won’t go away….but does it (or Glenn) really matter?
Would this be a bad time for our UNC readers for us to discuss where UNC football would be if they had hired Mark Richt ten years ago instead of Bunting?