Recent news from Atlanta has surely caused the pucker factor in Chapel Hill to increase exponentially:
Georgia Tech was fined $100,000 by the NCAA, stripped of its 2009 ACC championship in football and placed on four years of probation on Thursday for failure to cooperate with its investigation into the football and men’s basketball programs.
Those weren’t the only penalties, which stemmed from what the NCAA described as an isolated instance of former standout wide receiver Demaryius Thomas allegedly receiving $312 in impermissible gifts, and grew to Morgan Burnett allegedly taking gifts and misleading NCAA investigators. Both have denied taking improper benefits.
In addition, more penalties were self-imposed and accepted by the NCAA:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- Four years of probation from July 14, 2011 through July 13, 2015. The public report further details the conditions of this probation.
- A reduction of two men’s basketball recruiting days during the 2011 summer evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).
- A limit of 10 official visits for men’s basketball for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.
- A vacation of all contests won by the football team during the 2009 season after November 24. The ACC said Tech must return the trophy. No champion for the season will be named.
The committee stated in its report, “This case provides a cautionary tale of conduct that member institutions should avoid while under investigation for violations of NCAA rules.”
Given that the denials of improprieties over in Chapel Hill have been nearly non-stop, and only interrupted by weak whimpers of fealty when allegations are demonstrably proven, one has to wonder what college sports’ governing body might have in store for The Flagship when it has its Captain’s Mast later this year at its own NCAA hearing. Granted, part of the NCAA’s fury is based on Tech’s history as a rules scofflaw — they ran into trouble in 2005 because of problems from back in the 1990′s — but most of it apparently came from the Georgia Tech brain trust’s refusal to come clean when caught over a seemingly minor infraction.
It appeared to the committee that the institution attempted to manipulate the information surrounding potential violations involving (the student-athlete) so there would be enough doubt about its validity to justify the decision not to declare him ineligible,” the NCAA said in its report.
The committee also noted “the university took these actions despite information reported by the student-athlete, another football student-athlete and an assistant football coach regarding the potential agent involvement in preferential treatment benefits.” Tech barred Booker from the university’s training facilities and denied him access to complimentary tickets to athletic contests.
It certainly appears that there are a number of parallels and similarities between the two investigations, so one can fairly assume that the black cloud hanging over Kenan Stadium just got a little bit darker and stormier.