UNC Scandal Cited In Pennsylvania Antitrust Litigation With The NCAA

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s lawsuit against the NCAA’s treatment of Penn State University in the wake of the school’s Jerry Sandusky sex scandal has an extremely interesting local angle: it cites the  UNC athletics academic fraud scandal.  The litigation claims that the Penn State is being punished for matters outside of the scope and reach of college sports governing organization while it simultaneously ignores other schools’ transgressions that are well within the enforcement powers of the NCAA, but upon discovery, it has done very little:

Original lawsuit text (in PDF form)

56. The NCAA’s attempt to insert itself [in the Penn State scandal] is so inconsistent with its prior conduct in similar situations that it can be only be seen as a clumsy attempt to garner positive publicity for itself by harming a competitive member school.  There are a number of publicly reported examples of criminal conduct conducted by college athletes where the university leadership is alleged to have covered up or enabled the crimes–and the NCAA did little, if anything, about it:


(d) A recent internal investigation at the University of North Carolina revealed massive academic fraud, including unauthorized grade changes by forged signatures, and classes in which no instruction took place; approximately forty percent of the students enrolled in these classes were football and basketball players. In August 2012, one month after sanctioning Penn State, the NCAA took the public position that none of the alleged conduct violated NCAA rules.

Whether one agrees with the central claim of the lawsuit, that the NCAA is in violation of antitrust laws and that it is harming the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is nevertheless interesting that the UNC case with the NCAA has not only become ongoing fodder in the news, it is also now part and parcel of a lawsuit sure to gather a great deal of news in the coming weeks.

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33 Responses to UNC Scandal Cited In Pennsylvania Antitrust Litigation With The NCAA

  1. PackMan97 01/03/2013 at 9:25 AM #

    Keep in mind, that if this goes forward the state of PA could have certain discovery powers with regards to the NCAA end of the UNC scandal. Could get interesting.

  2. coach13 01/03/2013 at 9:32 AM #

    UNC has made the NCAA a running joke for the rest of it’s existence as far as I and many others I am sure, are concerned. Any school sanctioned for damn near anything will be able to point at UNC and say, hey, you can’t do that to us. You did nothing to UNC. Until the NCAA comes and obliterates UNC, I hope their turning a blind eye to Chapel Hill forever haunts them.

  3. tdouble 01/03/2013 at 9:42 AM #

    You can’t prop up Gov. Corbett’s lawsuit with a straight face can you? Talk about political posturing. Corbett is the same guy that assigned one state trooper to investigate Sandusky, a state trooper without arresting or subpoena power. He also agreed with sanctions when NCAA released them. This lawsuit will only embolden the ‘protect PSU football at all costs’ crowd. We are talking about a high level cover up of child molestation in order to save the reputation of a football program people, good grief.

  4. wilmwolf80 01/03/2013 at 9:43 AM #

    Perhaps they have been doing it behind closed doors, but I’ve never understood why schools like Miami, FSU, USC, and others that have been sanctioned by the NCAA have not spoken up about the lack of action taken against UNX. FSU comes to mind particularly, considering their “academic” issue resulted in sanctions for their “athletics”. At this point, anything that keeps this story in the news is more than fine by me.

  5. LifeLongWolf 01/03/2013 at 9:46 AM #

    I’m no lawyer, but doesn’t this sort of back the NCAA into a corner? For instance, if they suddenly punished UNC now, wouldn’t they get criticized for bowing to pressure from Pennsylvania? How would a move to punish UNC now effect the NCAA from the standpoint of the lawsuit? Wouldn’t the Penn lawyers point to such a move and make hay out of it (“the fact that you are acting on this only after we brought the lawsuit proves our point”)? Isn’t it better (in regards to this lawsuit) for the NCAA to just grit their teeth and stand firm, even if it’s wrong?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  6. Rick 01/03/2013 at 10:04 AM #

    “FSU comes to mind particularly, considering their “academic” issue resulted in sanctions for their “athletics”. At this point, anything that keeps this story in the news is more than fine by me.”

    Not to mention Bowden and the wins taken away from him. I wonder if he would sue. He is probably too classy for that but it seems FSU and he have a solid leg to stand on.

  7. packof81 01/03/2013 at 10:06 AM #

    By ignoring the academic fraud at UNC, the NCAA has set a precedent. The Penn State lawyers seek to test it.

    Regardless how this turns out, it makes both UNC and the NCAA look bad. The NCAA richly deserves this and more. If they are going to rule supreme over college sports, they must be beyond reproach. Their treatment of UNC demonstrates their corruption.

    And LifelongWolf, you’re probably right about the NCAA being backed into a corner. But even if Penn State loses it’s case or it gets settled quietly behind closed doors, the NCAA has been called out for it’s hypocrisy.

  8. YogiNC 01/03/2013 at 10:06 AM #

    THIS is the end of the NCAA, completely. They painted themselves into the proverbial corner. If they hold pat and lose then hosts of other institutions could then sue them for unfair competition due to allowing UNX players who should not have been allowed to compete. If the win they get sued for not enforcing the same standards to illegal activity in prior cases. No matter how they look at it, the NCAA is screwed.

  9. triadwolf 01/03/2013 at 10:06 AM #

    What happened at PSU is sickening, but that doesn’t change the fact that the NCAA exceeded it’s authority. Rarely in history to you see entities granted greater power by special circumstances ever give it back.

  10. Pack85EE 01/03/2013 at 11:14 AM #

    And again, the Academic Progress Rate requirement is absolutely meaningless. Connecticut should be screaming that they missed a bowl game and our beloved wolfpack who has one of the lowest APR’s in the conference should not be belittled. When a school get’s by with fake classes and artificial grades, APR has no value or meaning at all. Take down those banners UNC!

  11. FergusWolf 01/03/2013 at 12:35 PM #

    I dislike what has gone at at unx as much as the next guy, but somehow, I don’t think that a Penn State claim of “our systematic cover-up of child molestation isn’t nearly as bad as UNC’s systematic cover-up of academic fraud” is going to carry much weight.

    On the other hand, UConn would have a point…they didn’t cheat (as much?), but got punished BECAUSE they didn’t cheat.

    That is a a better story.

  12. vtpackfan 01/03/2013 at 12:58 PM #

    Tdouble has been able to withstand the UNC system and its baloney filled BoG with a straight face. Probably looks at the Poole commish ( if he’s not 17 and not old enough) and deduce that was a logical matter with a straight face. But alas, Tdouble has PA politics squarely pegged. Start local and work your way outwards-may even get out of that wet paper bag after all.

  13. Alpha Wolf 01/03/2013 at 1:42 PM #

    Fergus – I think that the PA lawsuit’s point is the uneven enforcement of the rules by the NCAA. The suit itself – of which Penn State is not a party of, it was brought by the Commonwealth (the state) – does not try to make the comparison you suggest.

    Take some time and read the whole text from the link above. While they may not carry the day in court, they make some interesting observations.

  14. Pack78 01/03/2013 at 2:43 PM #

    And the other three points of comparison (aside from u*nx) in 56. above cited in the lawsuit involve rape and murder by athletes with no penalty from the NCAA…more great press for the Flagship.

  15. bluelena69 01/03/2013 at 3:32 PM #

    This could be the beginning of the end of the charade. This disaster is no longer easily containable in the little box that is the State of North Carolina. This could get ugly and this could be exactly what is needed to finally bring justice to UNC.

  16. FergusWolf 01/03/2013 at 4:09 PM #

    Alpha – It’s the incredulity of the statement that is going to get them in hot water with the press and the people, and likely the court too. Uneven law enforcement only applies if they are “comparable” laws.

    No one is going to think twice about letting a 12-year old get away stealing a $1 pack of gum, when two stores down a thief killed the cashier.

    So, a statement on the murder’s behalf that he shouldn’t get the death sentence because the 12-year old got a slap on the wrist doesn’t fly.

  17. wilmwolf80 01/03/2013 at 5:02 PM #

    Fergus- The problem with your analogy is that the court system has jurisdiction over both crimes, theft and murder. The problem with the PSU situation is that the NCAA has taken the role of the court system, when they don’t have that power.

  18. BorntoHowl 01/03/2013 at 5:26 PM #

    Until the state legislature realigns the composition of the BOG where UNX doesn’t have more than 50% voting power, then they can and do exercise rampant disregard for anything sacred to meet THEIR needs (as long as it seems felicitous). Any opposition to any of their known 60 years of dastardly criminal acts gets quashed. They answer to no one, that happens to also include the NCAA.

  19. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 01/03/2013 at 6:49 PM #

    “Perhaps they have been doing it behind closed doors, but I’ve never understood why schools like Miami, FSU, USC, and others that have been sanctioned by the NCAA have not spoken up about the lack of action taken against UNX. FSU comes to mind particularly, considering their “academic” issue resulted in sanctions for their “athletics”. At this point, anything that keeps this story in the news is more than fine by me.”

    The same could be said of the unfair treatment in the ACC. Why do so many members remain silent when the favoritism is so blatant? Money.

  20. Wolf74 01/03/2013 at 7:20 PM #

    Maybe I have lost track with all the different investigations going on at CHeater Hill but didn’t the final number of athletes participating in academic fraud to stay eligible come out greater than 40%? I thought the final was over 60%.

    Either way, I only see one out for the NCAA. They should 1) come out with an immediate statement guaranteeing that they are waiting for all the investigations to become complete prior to reopening the CHeats review, and 2) state that the discoveries so far appear very serious, and 3) when the other reviews are complete, pretty much give the CHeats the death penalty. Anything less and the NCAA should be sued anytime they set foot on any campus in the future.

  21. choppack1 01/03/2013 at 7:56 PM #

    Fergus – You are looking at this issue EXACTLY the way the NCAA is hoping that the general public does.

    You are rightly enraged by the unacceptable response of the Penn State Chancellor, AD and football coach. However, if a former assistant coach molesting kids at a school is “an athletic compliance issue” – then surely scores of current football and basketball players enrolling in classes that didn’t exist is “an athletic compliance issue”.

    Like it or not, regardless of the NCAA’s actions, there would be no advantage to be gained by other schools mimmicing what Penn State did. 2-3 of these administrators face jail time, a legendary coach’s legacy is forever tarnished. OTOH, there is tons to be gained by following UNC-Ch’s lead.

    At it’s heart, Penn State’s issue was an issue not of NCAA violations, it was a criminal issue. As Pennsylvania rightly asserts, there have been other criminal issues in the past – and the NCAA hasn’t cared.

    The NCAA took action here because they knew it would score them points among those not paying attention.

    The NCAA has never done anything like this before. They overstepped their traditional boundaries of enforcement.

    But it also points out, the NCAA loves a willing victim…and make no mistake about it, that’s what Penn State was. They wanted to truly move on, but they were willing to pay the consequences.

    Their actions vs. UNC-Ch’s show the difference between truly taking responsibility for action and true remorse and simply trying to say the right things but get punished as little as possible. UNC = Eddie Haskell

  22. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 01/03/2013 at 8:09 PM #

    All great points choppack1. I think it’s important to remember that unc is but one example in this case and its not the best comparison at face value, but the important fact remains that the NCAA acted diff entry in the Penn St case than it has in the past and claimed authority it was never given. That alone calls their actions into question.

  23. wufpup76 01/03/2013 at 9:00 PM #

    Agree with most points above … I don’t think PSU is necessarily trying a weasel maneuver by citing these examples (including Unx) – but is merely saying to the NCAA:

    “You’re not even doing what you’re supposed to be doing, yet you’re going to punish us not athletically or academically (your stated purpose), but criminally … You have no authority to do so.”

    And, they have a point – at least with respect to the NCAA. Don’t get me wrong, I believe PSU deserves everything coming to them and then some – but I agree that the NCAA had/has no authority here.

    Hard to say when/if precedents are/were set because the NCAA is so inconsistent.

  24. Dr. Wolf 01/03/2013 at 9:17 PM #

    When is the SBI investigation going to be over? Did it not start in May 2012. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11099856/

  25. blpack 01/03/2013 at 9:35 PM #

    Not sure PSU is going to get a shorter ‘sentence’, but it is great to see the fraud that is the NCAA called out. They do their job so poorly and unevenly; they can’t be trusted.

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