Where Do The UNC Investigations Stand?

I started on a status update on the various investigations and penalties at UNC when the rumors began to break about impending decisions on the remaining academic issues. Not wanting to put out an entry that would be so quickly out-of-date, I decided to wait. Then rumors whirled all day about Burney…he’s cleared, he’s not; and then settled out at a definite maybe.

For those that think that procrastination doesn’t pay, let this be a counter-example. By waiting, I unknowingly gave Tar Heel Fan enough time to provide a player-by-player update in Where the Investigation Stands…which means that I didn’t have to try and separate players that I don’t really know very well. Tar Heel Fan (THF) also provided his analysis of the various judgments….but I think that this is where I will butt in.

So why was fullback Derek Ramsay held out before the Clemson game after playing in the first four games of the year? THF’s view:

…Ramsay is fine on academics but made an inappropriate tweet which has him in Butch Davis’ doghouse.

I trust that the humor contained in this statement is not lost on our audience. However, I fear that this conclusion doesn’t really jive with the statements made by Baddour when the announcement on Ramsay was made:

Asked if he was concerned that the Tar Heels might have to vacate those wins, against Rutgers and East Carolina, Baddour said he didn’t know.

“I think you all know that we’ve been in frequent contact with the NCAA,” he said. “They signed off on the process that we’re using. They have indicated to us several times that they have trust in our process, and we have certainly had more than a good-faith investigation going here, and my hope is that they would accept the effort that we’re doing.”

Using an ineligible player does not automatically result in vacating games. In February 2008, an NCAA appeals committee ruled that Oklahoma should not have had to vacate eight wins from the 2005 season…

Does that sound like Baddour is worried about inappropriate tweets?
Do you think that Baddour knows what the NCAA did to FSU on their cheating scandal?

One of the interesting things to come out so far in the NCAA’s rulings was that Deunta Williams had to sit out four games for accepting improper benefits and Kendric Burney had to sit out six for what appears to be essentially the same violation. Let’s not forget that the UGa wide receiver also received a four game suspension for selling his jersey to Hawkins.

Obviously, there is something significantly different in Burney’s case when compared to the other two. However, I have no clue what that the difference might be…and we may never know. I suspect that by the time the NCAA releases it’s final report and penalties, this point will probably shrink to insignificance.

One really interesting “fact” that was included in the analysis was an excerpt of an e-mail from UNC spokesman Kevin Best:

You can infer that the individuals ruled on thus far in the academic misconduct did not commit any NCAA violations. In some instances the NCAA does not have to sign off or even discuss the clearances.

Hopefully, THF will understand if I don’t share his enthusiastic support of Thorp, Baddour, and UNC’s investigative process. But luckily for us skeptics, the NCAA has joined the academic probe and the NCAA will have plenty of time to evaluate the available information over the next year or so. In the end, the NCAA will be the judge of what is (or is not) a violation of Article 10.1, Unethical Conduct:

Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may include, but is not limited to, the following:

…(b) Knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an enrolled student athlete;

One of the things that we learned during the FSU academic scandal was that the NCAA considers a cheater to be ineligible at the moment he/she first cheated…regardless of when the cheating was discovered. So the decision on what is and what is not an NCAA issue is a really important one to make. We’ll just have to be patient and wait to see if the NCAA agrees with UNC’s judgment….and don’t forget what the NCAA did to the cheaters at FSU.

Once again, I have to thank a UNC site for doing the boring role of fact gathering for us. Last week, Inside Carolina laid out some of the key issues used in determining LOIC as well as Baddour’s take:

North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour told reporters on Monday that North Carolina has “a strong compliance program in place.”

“I think anybody who looks at that program would say that we were doing more than significant things to protect our institution and to protect individuals,” Baddour said. “Obviously, we need to do more and that’s what this review process is going to do for us, is to establish things that we can do better. And we’re absolutely committed to that.”

The facts back up those claims…

Strangely enough, IC left out a few facts in their evaluation:

– Multiple players were involved in accepting improper benefits
– Multiple players were involved in an academic scandal
– The players were publically detailing their escapades
– At least one of the players is a runner for an agent
– UNC discovered none of these issues until after the NCAA came to CH
– Multiple players lied to NCAA investigators

Now, does that sound like a school, athletic dept, or coach that has developed “an atmosphere for compliance”? Personally, I think that the players have shown enough disregard for NCAA regulations to warrant LOIC. In fact, when all is said and done, Austin may have earned that label for UNC all by himself.

No, I haven’t forgotten Blake or Hawkins. But I’m not going into their issues for several reasons:
– I don’t like the title of “Master of the Obvious”.
– Hawkins’ presence is awkward for UNC, but not necessarily damning.
– I don’t think that Blake’s story is anywhere near its conclusion.

You probably noticed that I didn’t discuss the UNC Honor Court. This omission is easily explained by my complete disinterest in the Honor Court and what they decide. Are they a bunch of geeks looking to screw players? Are they a rubber stamp to get cheaters back on the field? I neither know nor care as long as I know that the NCAA is involved in all aspects of the investigation. If the kids are innocent, then they deserve to play (ignoring the potential of a recruiting prong). If they are not, then it will be interesting to see if the NCAA steps in before UNC accepts a bowl invitation this year. In either event, I am far more concerned with what the NCAA has to say on the issue than a student Honor Court.

More from THF:

In fact this is the ultimate rebuttal to anyone who criticizes UNC as being a dirty program and a clear answer to the calls for an independent investigation. How seriously did UNC take these issues? They sat players out multiple games without fully knowing whether they were guilty or not

We all have our biases and THF likely let his affect this conclusion. He obviously doesn’t understand why the “un-initiated” would distrust the conclusions reached by a compliance office that was utterly clueless until the NCAA rolled into town. The more that is discovered, the worse everyone in the athletic department looks. That is not exactly an atmosphere conducive to free and honest discussion/investigation.

As I said before, luckily for us skeptics the NCAA is in no rush to announce that “investigative phase is nearly over” (as Baddour has proclaimed several times over the last few weeks). If UNC is actually close to concluding their investigations, then the rumors that we’ve grown so fond of may start to dry up (unless someone has some sources in Indianapolis). However just remember, silence will not erase any of the things we already know. Because you see, facts don’t really ever change….we just get more of them.

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

General UNC Scandal

28 Responses to Where Do The UNC Investigations Stand?

  1. Wufpacker 10/20/2010 at 2:49 AM #

    Inappropriate tweets my arse. If that’s all it was then Baddour would have said something to the effect of “Why on Earth would we have to vacate previous wins? He was held out for violating team rules, not for anything to do with the NCAA or academics.” But he didn’t say that, did he? In fact, he didn’t even seem surprised by the inquiry about vacating previous wins, indicating that he had already possibly considered it himself. And no, the humor of “inappropriate tweets” is not lost.

    Also, what exactly is a “more than good-faith investigation”. More than good faith? I know he likely didn’t intend it this way, and even if he did he’d never have publicly said so, but it does make one wonder about the possibility of a “one hand washes the other” type of relationship here between the UNC athletic dept. and the NCAA.

    Just sayin’…

  2. Old MacDonald 10/20/2010 at 6:49 AM #

    Hawkins has been classified by the NCAA as an agent and it has been reported multiple places that he hung out in the UNC football building. Plus he has a pending cocaine running charge. Plus we know he was on multiple trips with UNC players. IMO his presence is more than awkward.

  3. PackerInRussia 10/20/2010 at 7:16 AM #

    Butch’s doghouse:

    (in case picture doesn’t show, a verbal response: Some people have never been in a house as nice as Butch’s doghouse)

  4. tuckerdorm1983 10/20/2010 at 7:57 AM #

    my good friend and unc diehard fan said “they have put the investigations behind them now and are focused on football. Hey we have won four in a row, how is the wolfpack doing, can’t wait to play yall”

    I said “yall gonna get nuked by the NCAA”

    he said “no way in hell, its winding down and almost over”

    I think many UNC fans think just like him

    Just to note sometimes for the sake of a friendship you have to overlook certain character faults (like politics or religion or being a UNC fan)

  5. burnbarn 10/20/2010 at 8:19 AM #

    On the LOIC issue, I think the most damning problem for them is discovering tutor irregularities in June of 09 and doing nothing with the issue until the NCAA showed up a year later. Thank goodness the NCAA went into the academic side b/c otherwise there seems to be no one that would have done anything about it.

    For entertainment purposes, let’s look at an example. Say a single WFU (insert any team name here) player had been found to be accepting improper benefits and had cheated in at least one class. What do you suppose the penalty handed out by that school for that player would have been? Would that kid had been held out for the season as punishment? I think that would have been the minimal penalty. But over in blue heaven, they are rushing to get him back onto the field. Are they so lost they can’t even see that?
    There are fans that call for a player to sit out for a season for a pot violation. (read about our players this summer) No one thinks improper benefits and cheating rise above that? I just don’t get the silence. I suspect I best get used to it.

  6. VaWolf82 10/20/2010 at 8:30 AM #

    Maybe I should have said that Hawkins’ minimum impact is embarassament. The maximum impact is specific NCAA findings and another nail in the coffin.

    I’m somewhat conflicted about Hawkins. Using the NCAA declaration that he is an agent against UNC has some what of an ex post facto feel to it. When he was running around campus, I have no doubt that he was looked at as a close friend of a Super Bowl MVP and as a former player. If all you can prove is that he had free access to the program, then that doesn’t really amount to all that much.

    On the other hand, does anyone really believe that someone that paid $1000 for a jersey NEVER gave ANYTHNG to ANY UNC player? I didn’t think so.

    So for me, Hawkins is a wait-and-see issue. If the NCAA can prove something, then make the punishment fit the crime. But if all you have is his presence, then there are bigger fish to fry.

  7. Tar Heel Fan 10/20/2010 at 9:28 AM #

    I would appreciate it if you are going to quote me, you do so in context and not allege I am taking a view which I am clearly not taking. You used this statement as my “view” on Ramsay’s situation:

    …Ramsay is fine on academics but made an inappropriate tweet which has him in Butch Davis’ doghouse.

    That is not the full sentence which is this:

    There is no official word on McAdoo, Brown or Ramsay though the rumor is McAdoo and Brown are done and Ramsay is fine on academics but made an inappropriate tweet which has him in Butch Davis’ doghouse.

    I was referring to a rumor where Ramsay is concerned. I have no idea why Ramsay was pulled or if/when he will be back. I assume it is academics related but then again who the heck knows anymore.

    And yes, I might be allowing my bias to color some of my analysis but not nearly as much as you guys. 😉

  8. hball57 10/20/2010 at 10:12 AM #

    Williams / Burney.

    I believe the difference is who the extra benefits came from. One student athlete visited a former team mate and their family and the family paid for some itmes that are not permissible by the NCAA. The other received payments for trips by someone acting as an agent (according to the NCAA), hence receive a longer suspension.

  9. VaWolf82 10/20/2010 at 10:18 AM #

    THF, thanks for taking the time to register this morning. You saved me the trouble of getting someone to contact you via the SFN e-mail address.

    Even repeating a rumor that Ramsay was suspended for tweeting is too rich for words. The entire quote is actually better because it would have allowed me to comment that apparently Brown finally found someone to give him money. The rumors were that his hands were always out, but empty.

    As usual, it is easier to claim that someone is biased than to prove it. Feel free to point out anything that you think is inaccurate or incomplete. Unlike Dave Glenn, the details are important here and we always make an effort to include as many pertinent facts as possible.

  10. choppack1 10/20/2010 at 10:22 AM #

    Don’t both Hawkins and O. Brown meet the definition of a “booster” as well?

    THF – I think your last statement is a critical.

    There are a couple of ways to look at how UNC has handled this. I can see the Tar Heel fan perspective that these allegations were taken seriously – after all – at the very least 3 of your most talented players will miss the entire season – and more than 10 players have missed a large chunk of the season.

    OTOH – to those of us who are skeptical, we see a program that has taken action only when forced to – and it appears that the suspensions are NCAA mandated and UNC has undertaken very little actions w/out being forced to do so.

    We’ll see. I do think it’s a bad sign that the NCAA inserted itself into the academic investigation and almost immediately, a suspension follows. There’s also the issue of Sturdivant and Carter – who were using the “tainted tutor” – but were not cheating.

    As I’ve pointed out before – when it comes to Butch’s program – I rarely see him drop a serious hammer on his kids. Unlike basketball, where Roy has suspended kids in the past, I’m not seeing that here. To me, it seems like UNC is doing everything w/in their power to win football games THIS YEAR. This isn’t really that different a viewpoint from the SEC, but UNC in the past has at least said they want something better.

  11. VaWolf82 10/20/2010 at 10:24 AM #

    I believe the difference is who the extra benefits came from.

    Possibly, but then we also have to explain why the UGA player (Green) also got a four game suspension for selling his jersey. I guess we could split it up like this:

    Multiple benefits from established friends = Single benefit from agent = four games.

    Multiple instances of benefits from agents = six games.

  12. ppack3 10/20/2010 at 10:49 AM #

    “Also, what exactly is a “more than good-faith investigation”. More than good faith?”

    Oooooh, oooooooh, I can answer that one. It’s a gesture. It’s a gesture that acts as a posture for the NCAA to see that UNC wants to comply…after the fact. Their investigation is a gesture.

    You can’t make this stuff up, folks. You also can’t hang on every word that Baddour says. At times, he sounds like he’s searching for compliant words, but I get the feeling that he’s actually trying to come up with an answer to questions that he knows little to nothing about. Too, Baddour acts as if he and the NCAA are getting along fine. Sorry, but he can’t separate himself from all of the violations by retroactively setting some measures in place that should have been there long ago. I’m sure the next AD will appreciate his diligence, but nothing he’s done since July will positively effect what was done before July.

  13. Hungwolf 10/20/2010 at 10:54 AM #

    Time to address the bias issue. The Triangle Business Journal recently ran a poll Asking if Butch Davis should be fired. They had their largest response ever to any poll. The results showed:

    45% Fire Butch Davis
    42% Keep Butch Davis
    13% Wait and see

    I give StatefansNation credit. This is not been a witchhunt, this is not gossip, this is not heresay, and not a UNC bashing. This is about facts, fair play, and honest reporting. It is also not bias, it is consistent with the view of the majority. Time for Tar Heel fans to wake up. State fans have a right to have an interest in this since it is the Tar Heel coaches recruiting HS kids and telling them to go to UNC instead of NCSU. Clearly a level playing field in recruiting has not existed and all fans not just NCSU have a right to demand fair play and everyone be held accountable to the rules!

  14. Daily Update 10/20/2010 at 10:55 AM #

    This was a well-written entry, Vawolf82.

  15. UnclePen 10/20/2010 at 11:30 AM #

    THF – We appreciate that you agree there has been a Lack of Institutional Control… Thanks for being straight-up.

    Tar Heel Fan Quote:

    The biggest mistake here was allowing a current UNC tutor to moonlight tutoring the coach’s son. Secondary to that UNC probably should have made Davis aware of why the tutor was not brought back and asked him to also let her go to remove any connection with the football program.

  16. Daily Update 10/20/2010 at 12:06 PM #

    And UNC should have investigated the work the tutor did for the student-athletes at the time they deemed her relationship inappropriate. They ignored it and it came back to bite them.

    Just like Kirchsner holding seminars on LOIC and social networking sites, but nobody at UNC was monitoring the sites. Kirchsner said each program was responsible for monitoring the sites, but nobody in UNCs AD department was making sure that Butch had someone monitoring social networking sites(despite two documented previous embarrassments that happened during Butch’s tenure that he and the athletic department were aware of).

  17. ADVENTUROO 10/20/2010 at 12:35 PM #

    It is interesting that so many of the UNC fans are trashing SFN as being Anti-Carolina. I guess that they do not read their own “Tar Pit” where they had a contingent of computer gurus searching for NCSU PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs) and had that, I believe, as a “HOT Topic”. Yes, there is a LOT of discussion here….sometimes too much. Bob Lee of BobLeeSays.com is taking a LOT of heat as he and several of the loyal UNC’ers had grave reservations about hiring Coach Blake and thought that the BOT was on an ego trip. There is a lot of good reading on his site…and a lot of insightful (pro and con) comments.

    The most interesting quote of on the THF site was one poster who questioned the integrity of the UNC System if they allowed Burney to add a late class. They also said that it would have been easy, according to them, to find an appropriate class for Burney to have added EARLY in this mess. If he did NOT need it (the Honor Code board ruled favorably), then he could have legitimately dropped it this past Monday. That, the poster said, was NOT done and he is disappointed in the AD and FB staff for not reviewing the options and making intelligent decisions.

    My list of sites to check has now grown….

  18. VaWolf82 10/20/2010 at 12:36 PM #

    Has the complete timelines of the tutor and cheating been released?

    I think that she was fired by the university in 2009.
    I think that she worked for Butch through spring 2010.
    Do we know when she was helping the players cheat?
    Was she helping players cheat while only being paid by Butch?

    If so, I wonder what the NCAA will have to say about all of this?

  19. TAEdisonHokie 10/20/2010 at 12:40 PM #

    UNC should have also dealt with the issue of Chris Hawkins continuing to have on-campus contact with the UNC football players. His contact with UNC players continued long after he had been dismissed from the football because of a fight with a teammate. Hawkins played for UNC from 2001-2003 before his dismissal from the team in Spring 2004. He finished his collegiate career at Marshall in Huntington, WV, where he sat out 2004 because of transfer rules, and played in 2005.

    From the point Butch Davis arrived in 2007, I don’t know how in the heck he, or a member of his staff, could not have known about Hawkins’ activities as a runner and/or agent. Additionally, if the football staff and/or compliance officers had been paying the least amount of attention, they might have discovered that Hawkins was involved in the drug trade.

  20. ADVENTUROO 10/20/2010 at 12:51 PM #


    The Tutor’s contract with the University was NOT renewed in May, 2009. AD Dick Baddour has stated this several times. He also stated that it was due to the fact that she and one of the athletes had more than a tutor/tutoree relationship. He said “you could see it in their eyes” and that was why her contract was NOT renewed.

    I believe you are correct in the fact that she continued to work with or was hired to help Coach Butch Davis’ son….to teach him organizational skills….I believe that HE (Coach Davis) actually hired her FIRST, based on a recommendation from the University and THEN she was hired by the University. This is all a little sketchy and you have to piece together facts or statements from various press conferences or interviews.

    There are comments (rumors) on the IC board….and the poster knew her from high school….that she continued to “assist” some players after her contract was NOT renewed. I also believe that I have read these same comments from players or perhaps parents or relatives of players, so her involvement in the tutoring process did not, it appears, cease and desist in May, 2009, when AD Baddour decided to let her contract expire. They probably have all the signed documents and checks in boxes where they advised her that she could not continue to assist players….

    The NCAA, I trust, will fully vet the entire situation….the UNC records have to be released to them. The tutor’s attorney is still advising against public statements and also not allowing the NCAA to interview her. She is NOT the most popular person on IC….while they bashed PP for “outing” her name (and this was so simple…I found all the info that PP did in about 5 minutes of googling…without the help of any paid sites)….but they were very smug about it and commented on how she was deserving of such for her vile role in this whole sordid affair….

  21. GAWolf 10/20/2010 at 1:35 PM #

    Tar Heel Fan: I, for one, think you’re impressively as objective as an opposing fan could ask on most matters concerning the investigation. Hell, for starters you actually call it an investigation. That’s more than can be said for some in Chapel Hill. It’s only right that your opinion is slightly toward support of UNC assuming of course you are indeed a Tar Heel fan. Your response above is levelheaded as well.

    Thanks for participating here and for your effort in trying to define what is going on in Chapel Hill.

  22. PackerInRussia 10/20/2010 at 2:07 PM #

    “I think anybody who looks at that program would say that we were doing more than significant things to protect our institution and to protect individuals,” Baddour said. “Obviously, we need to do more and that’s what this review process is going to do for us, is to establish things that we can do better. And we’re absolutely committed to that”

    Layman’s translation: “We did everything we could not to get caught. We got caught, so now we’re trying to figure out how to get by with as few consequences as possible and ensure that we’re never caught again.”

  23. packalum44 10/20/2010 at 2:38 PM #

    I’m aghast at reading the Tar Heel message board, these poor fools have no clue. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

    Carolina football, for all intents and purposes, is done.

  24. MatSci94 10/20/2010 at 2:41 PM #

    “I’m somewhat conflicted about Hawkins. Using the NCAA declaration that he is an agent against UNC has some what of an ex post facto feel to it.”

    I disagree with this, according to NCAA wording, he is by definition an agent, and identified himself as one, if they were paying attention. (edit: changed you to they to clarify who was not paying attention)

    from an old espn article (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5551923)

    “Chris Hawkins, a former North Carolina defensive back, befriended Green through the receiver’s Facebook page. According to the source, Hawkins identified himself as a *financial adviser* and memorabilia collector in Facebook messages to Green, who eventually agreed to sell his jersey to Hawkins for $1,000.”

    from the NCAA

    “The term “agent” includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and *financial advisors*.”

  25. VaWolf82 10/20/2010 at 3:10 PM #

    That ESPN article was dated Sept 10, 2010.
    AJ Green was suspended on Sept 4, 2010.
    The NCAA investigation at UNC started in July 2010.

    …still sounds like ex post facto to me.

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