UNC Scandal: Context and Perspective

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.

In the recent FSU scandal, the penalties levied by the NCAA included:

• 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 FSU players also had to sit out 30% of their respective seasons.

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)

Dez Bryant was suspended for an entire year for lying to NCAA investigators. I’m just saying…


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.

Here’s what the NCAA had to say when discussing the USC penalities:

“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?

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 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?

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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50 Responses to UNC Scandal: Context and Perspective

  1. VaWolf82 09/21/2010 at 10:37 AM #

    if they are monitored to ensure that such measures are being followed;

    At some point, the number and scope of violations are proof that adequate monitoring was not taking place.

    If you can read gibberish, then Twitter and Facebook have been absolutely full of crap that should make anyone concerned about NCAA rules start asking questions. It will be interesting to see if or how the NCAA addresses these social networking sites.

  2. VaWolf82 09/21/2010 at 10:39 AM #

    So…this self punishment thing of holding out 12 players is really nothing at this point.

    Exactly. UNC hasn’t done anything real until the offenders have sat out MORE than four games.

  3. Scooter 09/21/2010 at 10:55 AM #

    Notice that the biggest difference between the majority of these cases and what is going on at UNC is that at some point, someone in a position of leadership accepted responsibility. We have seen nothing of the sort at UNC thus far.

  4. Old MacDonald 09/21/2010 at 11:27 AM #

    I really don’t think the NCAA will give them “credit” for not playing ineligible players.

  5. Old MacDonald 09/21/2010 at 11:28 AM #

    It is much more likely that the NCAA will hammer them for playing the 2 who are involved in the cheating scandal before a ruling of any kind has been made.

  6. coach13 09/21/2010 at 11:32 AM #

    Did anyone else read this and get pissed at WRALsportsfan???
    Makes it sound like the NCAA is the one to blame. If they’re innocent, put’em on the field. A$$holes. It actually says in this crap they held out 12 players because of the investigation, not held out because of wrongdoing. And the beat goes on…

  7. VaWolf82 09/21/2010 at 11:37 AM #

    There was an ESPN article stating that UNC was discussing the use of rolling suspensions with the NCAA. I guess that it is time to conclude that the article was BS….or that the answer was no.

  8. GoldenChain 09/21/2010 at 11:41 AM #

    I agree w/ole Mac. The attempt by unx officials is to soften the blow by ‘acting’ like they are cooperating and trying to punish in advance.

    i.e. “You can’t be any harder than we are on ourselves so just go away and let us handle this!!!!!!!!!”

    Problem is, the more you try to be proactive, the more that there is below the surface.

  9. GoldenChain 09/21/2010 at 11:49 AM #

    Furthermore: I think unx is attempting to: CUT OFF THE ARM BEFORE THE GANGRENE GETs IN THE ARM!!!!!

    I’ll break this down for those in faison; the LAST thing they want is anyone poking around the basketball program. For example, royformerwonderboy coming out declaring “none of my guys got any help!” a day into tutorgate.
    Better to take whatever may come on football than have to vacate a NC in basketball.

  10. GoldenChain 09/21/2010 at 11:51 AM #

    …I meant ‘in the body’ but the freakin ‘edit’ has never worked on this blog for me.

  11. VaWolf82 09/21/2010 at 12:25 PM #

    It’s because we like to laugh at your mistakes. 😉

    Seriously though, hopefully Alpha or O3 will see this comment and look into the problem. I just found out that I can’t edit from this screen either.

  12. TheCOWDOG 09/21/2010 at 1:44 PM #

    Hte diet funkshon hasnver worekd for em.

    Boys, based on the multitude of violations under the scope and Hawkins in the mix, LOIC is without a doubt properly forecasted.

    Again, Hawkins is most interesting because he’s had a relationship with Quinn as a Soph. Big no no and the most likely reason Quinn’ll never see Kenan at field level again. Remember, Davis may not have known this cat, but staff holdovers sure did.

    I think punitives from the NCAA will be a mixed bag of tricks, the judgemental max for each infraction. Paul Dee.

    No question in my mind that The Pale Rider packs the saddlebags and heads out of town at year end.

  13. Pack84 09/21/2010 at 1:50 PM #

    While speculation is always interesting to think about and to talk about, that’s all it really is right now – speculation.

    However I do think that the longer this thing takes the worse it’s going to be for UNC-CHeat. Having conducted some investigations myself (although certainly not pertaining to college athletics) I can tell you that quite often as you conduct interviews with people you learn certain things that may cause you to branch out the scope of your investigation into other areas. And I think that has certainly happened here.

    At first glance when this thing started it looked like Marvin Austin and Greg Little were going to be in a minor amount of trouble for being somewhere they should have know better than to be. At that time I expected them to both sit for a game or two, possibly pay back some money and that would be the end of it.

    But lo and behold here we sit 3 months later with no end in sight. 3 months ago hardly anyone at all knew the name Greg Hawkins. No one knew about Butch’s nanny/tutor.

    The longer the investigation takes the more names we’ll hear. And the more names we hear the more they have to say. And the more stories they have to tell.

    In my mind this thing can go as far as the NCAA wants to take it. Then at the end I guess we’ll all find out of the holes are truly untouchable or not.

  14. ppack3 09/21/2010 at 1:53 PM #

    “Put it this way: at some point you would stop protecting a friend who’s screwing up simply because it makes you look complicit to do so.” – AlphaWolf

    This is what amazes me about Baddour and Thorpe’s continued (and over the top) support of Butch. Imagine…tomorrow, they find Blake’s Cricket phone and it reveals a text message to/from Butch regarding Wichard, or any other possible violation. Baddour…gone. Thorpe? Could he save himself after saying, just this past week, that ‘Butchie does it right! He’s our man!’

    Wouldn’t smart money be put on an AD (keeping his job) that tempers his support for a Head Coach that has the NCAA swirling around him in several different capacities?

    With regards to the 12 guys that aren’t playing for UNC… The NCAA isn’t going to be looking favorably on these guys because UNC has held them out of games. It is a UNC decision to hold them out, that is based more in fear of having to forfeit games, rather than a decision made in order to punish the players. Too, I don’t believe that these games would be counted retro-actively, as punishment, ny the NCAA. Anyone who is penalized with game suspensions would start their punishment from the time that punishment is handed down, IINM.

    This is the reasoning behind any articles that you may read (with a UNC slant) that ‘blames’ the investigation for these guys sitting out. Trust me, if it weren’t for the darned NCAA finding out about the improprieties, those guys would be on that field. The fact that an ‘innocent’ player MAY be sitting out, due to the fear that they MAY be guilty, is a point of contention for the less scrupulous UNC fan. They keep screaming, “Innocent until proven guilty!” Well, they think they are out in the real world. This isn’t a court of law that they are dealing with, it’s the NCAA.

  15. Master 09/21/2010 at 1:58 PM #

    Face it guys, as bad as I want the town of Chapel Hill to catch fire, the NCAA will judge UNC like a nullified OJ jury. There could be violence in the aftermath.

  16. gsograd1987 09/21/2010 at 3:32 PM #

    While I would like very much to believe in the fairytale world of everyone being treated the same, at this point I’m too jaded to swallow the koolaid anymore. I’ve lived with the imbalance for WAY too many years. I don’t want anything unfair to happen over the hill, I just want them to get what they deserve – and we won’t know what that is until the findings are released. But I know in my heart that it won’t happen that way. In the end, indiscretions will be minimized, excuses will be made, and the NCAA, the agents, and the entire student-athlete meme will be blamed – everything but the cheating players and complicit staff (if rumors are to be believed). A bitch-slapped UNC represents an unacceptable diminution in cash flow (when considered across the board), and the NCAA will not allow (let alone cause) such a disruption to its brand.

  17. TAEdisonHokie 09/21/2010 at 5:51 PM #

    If anyone wants an example of how far the NCAA is willing to go to punish UNC, look no further than the sanctions handed out to Southern Cal. What’s going on in Chapel Hill makes the Southern Cal case look small in comparison.

  18. bradleyb123 09/21/2010 at 7:19 PM #

    Dude, did you even read the comments from the Faculty Council last week?!
    EVERY school has pointy heads. And they all hate athletics. If this were up to them they’d go DIII.

    GC, actually, no. I did not. I hope you’re right. Your post makes me feel a little better. But the next question is, how much pull do the pointy heads HAVE at Carolinx?

  19. VaWolf82 09/21/2010 at 9:44 PM #

    But the next question is, how much pull do the pointy heads HAVE at Carolinx?

    Wrong question. The correct questions are:

    Who has more pull, the pointy-headed types or the big athletic boosters at UNC?

    Will the BOG step in if the athletic boosters start to get too much sway in the inevitable tug-of-war?

  20. McCallum 09/21/2010 at 10:20 PM #

    I would not count out the massive political power of unc. They are loaded with heavy hitters so we can jump up and down all we wish but once they get their advantage all of this will be over.

    Secondly, the silence of the faculty is very telling. I expect that the social sciences are filled with pseudo and out right Marxists who never came up with an original thought in their entire lives. Couple that with the clear racial angle of this issue (sorry if anyone is offended but it is the 800 lb jar of jelly in the room) in addition to the inability to produce a true critique of certain off limit “topics” then you have the silence akin to a rat pissin on cotton.

    I becoming more interested in this Blue Hose curse. I knew we Presbyterians were not the type to be trifled with but this takes the cake.


  21. Phang 09/22/2010 at 5:39 AM #

    We know that God is not a tarheel, but who knew He was Presbyterian?

  22. McCallum 09/22/2010 at 6:32 AM #

    I knew.

    And its debtors not trespassers.


  23. Phang 09/22/2010 at 6:44 AM #

    But what does owing money have to do with being somewhere you shouldn’t be?

    For us Baptists (of whatever flavor), the trespassing had more to do with who we were visiting while the husband was out hunting than it did with who owed what to whom.

  24. Pack78 09/22/2010 at 6:20 PM #

    Careful brethren; pretty soon we Calvinists are going to bring up the Doctrine of Predestination…(just kidding)

  25. gcpack 09/22/2010 at 9:13 PM #


    The UNC-CHeat Talk the Talk but not Walk the Walk PR and Influence machine will be at its best for this event.(Although they are playing the goody good shoes straight man act mighty well by NOT talking lately.)

    Anything harsher than that will truly make me believe that there is justice in this world after all.

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