Does anyone else think that it is funny that McAdooâ€™s plagiarism on a paper where he had already been found guilty of cheating received more press coverage than an NOA with nine major violations? Oh well, at least some in the press finally realized what the rest of us have known for the last 12 monthsâ€¦things are rotten in CH and the so-called adults are clueless.
While the media storm over plagiarizing is funny to watch, it doesnâ€™t really have much to do with UNCâ€™s hearing with the NCAA in October. So letâ€™s take a closer look at the NOA and see what is really there and what it could potentially mean to UNC when the penalty phase rolls around. Also since some of the comments that Iâ€™ve read from both ends of the RTP have been based in some alternate reality, letâ€™s see if we can ground the discussion in something closer to the real world.
Cheating, Round 1
Violation #1 documents cheating by three different athletes from April 2008 through Summer 2009. The names have been redacted, but we can be pretty sure that part (c) covers McAdoo (unless multiple UNC players were cheating on Swahili papers). On the one hand, this list is pretty small since UNC was able to sweep most of the cheating to the Honor Court. But on the other hand, we have a recent precedent from FSU on the penalties for academic fraud.
For those that might have forgotten, FSU had 60+ athletes in several sports that were caught cheating in an on-line class. Now for the good partâ€¦FSU had to forfeit every game in any sport that any of those athletes participated in. So if UNC receives the same penalty for the same offense, then expect wins from 2008 and 2009 to start disappearing.
Based on the report at ncaa.org, it appears to me that FSU did all of the investigating of their academic scandal and forwarded their findings to the NCAA. It would be interesting to know how much, if any, the NCAA investigated the academic issues at UNC.
PS to UNC fansâ€¦If you want to go to war against the NCAA, then I would recommend finding a better horse than McAdoo to ride into battle.
Cheating, Round 2
At first, I was surprised that the NCAA was letting UNC exploit a loophole in the NCAAâ€™s dividing line for determining when cheating by an athlete was an NCAA offense and when it had to be handled by the university. But then the NCAA surprised me with Violation #2 by declaring all of the â€œtutoringâ€ done by Wiley after she was fired from the athletic department (and being paid by Butch) as an improper benefit. (Nice save by the NCAA.) So now follow this line of logic:
- Athletes that accept â€œimpermissible benefitsâ€ are ineligible from the moment they accept the â€œbenefitâ€.
- Their eligibility can only be restored by the NCAA.
- The standard penalty for small, impermissible benefits is missing 30% of the season and a donation to charity equal in value to the impermissible benefit.
So who were the nine athletes and how many are still left on the team? From THFâ€™s Blog, here are the players that were investigated for one reason or another (reorganized):
* DT Marvin Austin(SR): Dismissed for receiving $10-13K in improper benefits; ethical conduct violation.
* DE Robert Quinn(JR): Permanently ineligible for receiving $5K in improper benefits, ethical conduct violation.
* WR Greg Little(SR): Permanently ineligible for receiving $5K in improper benefits, ethical conduct violation.
* S Deunta Williams(SR): Suspended four games for improper benefits totaling approximately $1400; became eligible for Clemson game.
* CB Kendric Burney(SR): Suspended six games for improper benefits totaling approximately $1300; suspension complete.
Honor Court Appearance:
* RB Ryan Houston(SR): Cleared following honor court date prior to UVa game. Redshirted 2010 season. Will have one season of eligibility remaining.
* DE Linwan Euwell(JR): Cleared following honor court date prior to UVa game. (missing 5 games)
* CB Kendric Burney(SR): Penalized by honor court with reduction of grade in one class. Resulted in loss of credit towards graduation an ineligibility under NCAA rules. UNC applied to the NCAA for waiver which was granted. Cleared for William & Mary game. (missing 7 games)
* S Jonathan Smith: Declared ineligible for season following honor court date. Redshirt.
* CB Brian Gupton(JR): Declared ineligible for season following honor court date. Eligible next season.
* CB Charles Brown(SR): Declared ineligible for season following honor court date. Received two semesters probation. Redshirt.
* DE Michael McAdoo(JR): Permanently ineligible for improper academic assistance from tutor Jennifer Wiley while she was at UNC. Appeal to NCAA denied in February 2011.
* FB Devon Ramsay(JR): Initially ruled permanently ineligible for improper academic assistance from tutor Jennifer Wiley while she was at UNC. Initial ruling was overturned in February 2011. Ramsay was cleared and will have one season of eligibility remaining.
Cleared without Honor Court:
* LB Bruce Carter(SR): Cleared on academic issues for LSU game (missing 0 games)
* LB Quan Sturdivant(SR): Cleared on academics issues for LSU game (missing 0 games)
* RB Shaun Draughn(SR): Cleared on academic issues for Georgia Tech game (missing 1 game)
* S Daâ€™Norris Searcy(SR): Cleared on academic issues for ECU game (missing 3 games)
(Emphasis and games missed added)
It seems logical to conclude that 8 of the 9 athletes with free â€œtutoringâ€ (NCAA violation) were the ones that were sent to the UNC Honor Court for cheating. (We donâ€™t know who the ninth player is, but Iâ€™ll take â€œGreg Littleâ€ if weâ€™re taking bets.) These eight players met the first part of the standard penalty for academic fraud by sitting out at least 30% of the schedule (4 games). But as far as I know, UNC has not declared any players ineligible for taking impermissible benefits from Wiley nor have they appealed to the NCAA to have their eligibility reinstated.
Unless Iâ€™m missing something, UNC will want to get this issue resolved well before their October meeting with the NCAA. They went to a lot of effort last year to make sure that the players on the field were actually eligible. It would be silly to abandon that process now.
On the one hand, getting free tutoring isnâ€™t the most serious issue that UNC faces. However, did the players go to Wiley for free tutoring or free cheating? Itâ€™s hard to argue that there is a logical, ethical reason to bypass department tutors and go to someone who was fired from that capacity. Of course we shouldnâ€™t forget that this tutor was hired by Butch AFTER being fired OR that Butch was paying her while she was helping his players cheat. In the end, it will be interesting to hear what the NCAA has to say about this whole sordid issue.
They wonâ€™t talk to us
Violation #3 (Wiley) and #8 (Blake) wonâ€™t talk to the NCAA. It seems to me that this puts both the NCAA and UNC in a hard sport. Neither group has subpoena authority and thus canâ€™t make anyone talk that doesnâ€™t want to. The NCAA canâ€™t afford to let this pass because they depend on cooperation from its member institutions. Without the ability to obtain subpoenas, the NCAA really canâ€™t operate without that cooperation. Making the gross assumption that UNC really wanted those two to talk, they also have no way of compelling either individual to talk.
So do these two violations really mean anything? Itâ€™s hard to say for sure and I expect that we will still be uncertain after the penalties are announced. Unless the NCAA includes something specific in the final report, I suspect that these two violations are more smoke than substance.
Agents, Round 1
Violation #4 is seven athletes receiving from $54 to $13,507 from agents and others (not including Wileyâ€™s largesse). Other than noting that none of the referenced instances go back before 2009, I think that this point has been adequately dissected over the last year.
Lying to the NCAA
Yea, like that was hard to predict. The instances from Violation #5 sound like they can all be attributed to little ole Marvin. My guess is that this wonâ€™t blow back on UNC. However in Violation #8, John Blake, assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, lied to the NCAA while he was still employed by UNC. This will definitely blow back on UNC come this October.
Agents, Round 2
Violations #6 and #7: John Blake worked for and received money from Wichard while he was also employed by UNC. This issue could be a key point in the penalties levied by the NCAA. But for some reason, I keep hearing well known theme music playing in the background and the following lines from one of my favorite TV shows:
As always, should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Jim. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.
Blake was hired to do a job and he knew the risks going into it. He did what he did willingly and itâ€™s unlikely that we will ever know the full extent of his violations. A number of people have claimed that UNC threw Blake under the bus in an attempt to save Davis and the school. But in reality, everyone involved knew what would happen if Blake got caughtâ€¦just like Jim Phelps.
The Rogue Coach Defense
I expect that UNC will argue that Blake operated behind everyoneâ€™s back and that there is no way that anyone at UNC could have known. Even if we ignore Blakeâ€™s reputation, this defense doesnâ€™t stand up to any sort of examination. Follow this line of logic and see if you can spot any weaknesses:
- A number of different universities have self-reported secondary violations for contact with recruits during mandated â€œquietâ€ periods.
- These violations were uncovered by examining phone records from the coaching staffs.
- Blake used his university supplied phone to carry on many, many conversations with Wichard (sports agent and â€œformerâ€ employer).
This leaves us with the following possibilities:
- UNC never audited Blakeâ€™s (ie the recruiting coordinatorâ€™s) phone.
- UNC audited Blakeâ€™s phone, but didnâ€™t detect that he was talking to an agent that he used to work for.
- UNC knew that he was talking to Wichard, but didnâ€™t care.
In other words, UNC knew or should have known that Blake was carrying on nearly-continuous communication with a sportâ€™s agent. Unfortunately, phone records were not included in the NOAâ€™s examples in Violation #9 for failure to monitor. So weâ€™ll just have to wait and see what the NCAA has to say about Mr. Blake. (But if I were a UNC fan, I would be very, very worried about this point.)
Failure to Monitor
Violation #9 can be translated as: Those silly kids were blabbing all over the World Wide Web and there werenâ€™t any adults in Chapel Hill that ever bothered to look.
The real question is what is the NCAA going to do about it? There is almost no doubt that the final penalties will drone on and on about how terrible this is. But are there specific penalties associated with sleeping at the switch?
Who Cares About Forfeited Wins?
There might be more than old W/L records at stake. Letâ€™s look at the following questions:
- How many seasons were ineligible players used to qualify for a bowl game?
- How many bowl games did ineligible players participate in?
When the NCAA looked over these issues for USC, they decided some payback was in order. I believe that the NCAA used a 1:1 correlation to establish USCâ€™s bowl ban. Obviously there are no guarantees, but itâ€™s something to look for.
So Whatâ€™s Next?
Iâ€™m betting on:
- October hearing
- UNCâ€™s self-imposed penalties (Quit laughingâ€¦I wasnâ€™t joking.)
- NCAAâ€™s penalties
There are several SFN authors that disagree with me, but I believe that the NCAA concluded their investigations before issuing the NOA. All of the projections about upcoming pain and agony from rotating license tags, 216 cell phones, and academic investigations sound to me like just more noise from message boards. I believe that the NCAA has either looked at these issues or were not interested. Donâ€™t forget that just because UNC didnâ€™t release something to the media, this doesnâ€™t mean that they didnâ€™t release it to the NCAA. (Remember that the NCAA found out that Wiley paid for $1,800 worth of parking tickets.)
Unlike Dave Glenn, the NCAA convicts on facts not smoke. While I donâ€™t believe that they have found everything, I believe that they have completed their work unless some other issue comes to light.