Originally posted @ 3:17pm. Updated at 3:21pm, 3:25pm, 3:27pm, 3:31pm and 4:20pm
The cracks are starting to appear more prominently in the University of North Carolina’s historically famous, impenetrable cone of silence. Who knows what is next!? Maybe someone starts publicly discussing the Range Rovers that Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter were rumored to drive throughout their college career, the strangeness of the lifestyle that Hakeem Nicks experienced before his eligibility was complete, or even start explaining the specifics behind Wayne Ellington’s living arrangements while helping Carolina win a National Basketball Championship.
Outside of the Carolina family people are also now talking more openly as the cracks around John Blake, aka ‘Black Santa’ are springing huge leaks. After Yahoo! and Joe Giglio/N&O/ChltObs each shed public light on some major data points of the story (that can be reviewed with excellent conversation by clicking here) the Old Ball Coach and former Head Coach at Duke has decided to enter the fray.
As you can read more fully here, Spurrier was asked about the recent John Blake-Gary Wichard revelations. Spurrier publicly stated what many around college football have said for years – he is not surprised. He further explained:
â€œLet me just say this: When youâ€™ve been in coaching as long as I have, we know the reputation of almost all the coaches out there that have been around a long time,â€ Spurrier told The (Columbia) State newspaper. â€œSo I guess what I would say is that articleâ€™s not very surprising. Thatâ€™s about the least I should say about it. We all have a reputation, especially guys whoâ€™ve coached 20 years or so. Itâ€™s hard to hide whatever your reputation is.”
^This point dovetails very nicely with the N&O’s article this morning that discussed the NCAA’s previous investigation of Blake and Wichard’s relationship amongst other things. Butch Davis and the University of North Carolina knew exactly what they were hiring in ‘Black Santa’ and they weren’t the least bit deterred or concerned with the potential consequences.
After Spurrier spoke to the press, the N&O’s Joe Giglio broke more damning news on the UNC-CH scandal that will result in the eradication of Cam Thomas from all future UNC-CH Christmas card lists and football reunions – if the Heels ultimately retain a program to host reunions. I can see/hear Thomas now – the moment it came out of his mouth he shut up and wanted to put it back inside. Click here for link.
Former North Carolina football player Kentwan Balmer paid for his college teammates, Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas, to travel to California in the summer of 2009, Thomas said Tuesday.
Thomas, a rookie defensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, did not provide financial details, or the dates, but said he and Austin worked out at the Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, Calif. in the summer before the 2009 season.
Reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, Thomas, who started all 13 games for UNC in the 2009 season, said he and Austin took the trip together and “‘Twan paid for [the trip].” Thomas, the Chargers’ fifth-round pick, then declined further comment.
Balmer, Thomas and Austin were teammates at UNC for the 2007 season and each played defensive tackle. Their position coach was John Blake, UNC’s recruiting coordinator and associate head coach. Austin and Blake’s relationship with California-based agent Gary Wichard has become a part of the NCAA investigation into the UNC football program, Wichard said last Thursday.
The NCAA returned to Chapel Hill on Aug. 4 after making initial visits on July 12 and July 13 to interview an undisclosed number of players, including Austin, about receiving improper benefits from an agent.
Under NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.6, or more commonly referred to as the “preferential treatment” bylaw, athletes can’t receive “preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual’s athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation.”
Amy Herman, UNC’s assistant athletic director for compliance, declined to comment on Thomas’ statement but answered a general question about a former player providing travel expenses for current player(s).
Herman said there are no set NCAA punishments for violating the preferential treatment bylaw.
“[The punishment] would be interpretative,” Herman said, “based on the facts of the specific case.”
Potential punishments include vacating the games Austin and Thomas participated in 2009, which would be the entire season. UNC went 8-5 last year.
If the NCAA forces UNC to vacate their 8 wins in 2009 for the use of at least one – significantly key – ineligible player…then does the Tarheels’ bowl appearance get counted in their record? Do they end up 0-12 or do they still get to say they lost in the bowl and end up at 0-13? One thing is for sure…no matter what the NCAA decides, they still lost to NC State.
We’ll have a lot more on this and other developments in the UNC case in the coming hours. In the meantime, please support us by participating in some conversations on our message boards accessible by clicking here.