North Carolina Notice of Allegations targets John Blake, Jennifer Wiley

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As we posted earlier, the University of North Carolina received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA today following a nearly year-long investigation into the program over alleged impermissible benefits provided to players and academic fraud.

UNC has just sent out the official NOA containing allegations of violation of NCAA bylaws, but here is a quick run down of the allegations:

Allegations against former assistant coach John Blake:

  • Unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution and for failure to cooperate with the investigation.
  • Marketed athletic abilities of student-athletes to agent Gary Wichard.
  • Received outside income that he did not report to the institution (NOA claims $31,000).

Allegations against alumna Jennifer Wiley:

  • Unethical conduct for refusing to provide information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution.
  • Provided extra benefits to student-athletes in the form of travel and parking expenses, and tutoring (the allegations claim Wiley paid $1,789 in parking violations on Aug. 20, 2010 for an unnamed student-athlete).

Allegations of academic fraud against student-athletes and the tutor

Allegations that student-athletes received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits (the NOA claims over $27,000).

Allegations against a former student-athlete for unethical conduct

Failure by the institution to adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits to a student-athlete triggered by agent legislation.

Noticeably absent from the 42-page NOA? Head coach Butch Davis, who apparently had zero clue as to what was going on with all of this.

The following responses were issued by UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp, AD Dick Baddour and coach Davis.

Thorp:

“I deeply regret that Carolina is in this position. We made mistakes, and we have to face that. When the investigation started a year ago, we pledged to cooperate fully with the NCAA, to go where the facts took us, and to face the issues head on. Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA. We will emerge with a stronger athletics program, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football.”

Baddour:

“We are disappointed to be in this position because it goes against everything we believe in, but we are thankful to get to the next step in the process. These are the issues that we have been dealing with since last summer. We will gather the information the NCAA has requested and prepare to address the notice with the NCAA in the fall. We have a strong staff that will help get us through this and put us in a position where we will be a better athletic department as a result. Our fans have been through a lot this past year, and we appreciate their continued patience and support as we work through these next steps with the NCAA.”

Davis:

“I feel terrible that these allegations occurred under my watch. I especially regret that the university has had to endure this scrutiny because of the football program. The responsibility for correcting any problems that put us in this position is mine, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

“I want to thank our fans for the tremendous support we have received. Their loyalty and support has been especially appreciated by our student-athletes. The opportunity I have to serve the University of North Carolina is one that I cherish, and I will continue to focus on improving every aspect of our football program.”

UNC received a Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA two weeks ago and will have 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions regarding the aforementioned allegations. The COI would consider UNC’s case during its meeting in late October.

Second ex-Baylor football player arrested for 2013 gang rape

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For the second time in as many days, a former Baylor football player has been arrested for his connection to an alleged gang rape in 2013., according to The Dallas Morning NewsMyke Chatman, a former Baylor running back, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Marshals for suspected gang rape of a female Baylor student one day after former Baylor teammate Tre'Von Armstead was arrested and charged for the same incident.

Chatman and Armstead had previously been suspected of rape in 2013 but no charges were dropped at the time after the alleged victim chose not to pursue legal action against the football players. The woman filed charges against Baylor University in January and has since reached a settlement with the university. However, information from the lawsuit led to more information being revealed and shared with the authorities to contribute to ongoing investigations since these issues have been brought back to life in recent years.

Armstead was arrested for the second time this month, with the most recent arrest related to this 2013 incident. Earlier in March, Armstead was arrested for domestic battery, resisting arrest and damaging a police vehicle.

Report: LSU DL Isaiah Washington ruled ineliegible for spring

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Sophomore defensive end Isaiah Washington has been ruled ineligible for the spring practice season at LSU, according to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.

Washington was a four-star recruit in LSU’s Class of 2015. The New Orleans native appeared in six games for the Tigers as a freshman. Washington did not play in the 2016 season due to a knee injury suffered in the summer. He was slated to be a backup linebacker and defensive end in 2016 prior to the injury. It is expected to be a backup option for LSU’s defensive line with all four starters back this season.

Ex-Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu has sexual assault conviction overturned by appeals court

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Former Baylor and Boise State football player Sam Ukwuachu has had his conviction for sexual assault overturned, but he is far from free just yet. The 10th Couth of Appeals in Texas overturned a sexual assault conviction on Thursday and is sending the case back to district court for a brand new trial.

The Court of Appeals determined phone evidence used by the prosecution was improperly used and attained.

“In six issues, Ukwuachu complains that the trial court erred by allowing the State to reference the cell phone records of his roommate during its cross-examination of his roommate and his roommate’s friend, that the indictment was defective, that evidence of an extraneous offense was improperly admitted, that his due process rights were violated due to an abuse of the grand jury process by the State, and that text messages between the victim and a friend of hers the night of the alleged offense were improperly excluded,” an elaborate ruling from the Court of Appeals explained. “Because we find that the trial court erred by disallowing the admission of evidence … we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this proceeding for a new trial.”

“While I respect the 10th Court of Appeals, I disagree with their decision and reasoning in this case,” McLennan County District Attorney Abelk Reyna said upon learning of the appeal decision. “I am extremely confident in the decisions made by our prosecutors and the rulings made by Judge Johnson in the trial of this case.”

Ukwuachu transferred from Boise State to Baylor after being dismissed by the Broncos program in 2013, reportedly following a case of depression in Boise. Boise State denied any knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violence toward women when he was with the program, which was prompted by comments from former Baylor head coach Art Briles. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen did claim to have informed Briles of Ukwuachu’s violent past.

Ukwuachu was found guilty and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation for rape in August 2015.

The alleged victim of Ukwuachu has already settled a lawsuit with Baylor.

Arkansas state senate votes to revise concealed gun law to prevent guns in football stadiums

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One day after Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill to allow concealed guns to be carried into football stadiums, the state senate voted to make an exemption to block guns on game day.

The house bill that was signed into law by the governor this week would have allowed those with proper training to be allowed to bring a concealed handgun into an otherwise restricted area such as a football stadium. The bill overruled any stadium policies banning weapons as well, but that will no longer be the case.

According to the Associated Press, the Arkansas state senate voted 22-10 in favor of an exemption to the rule that would uphold a weapons ban in football stadiums throughout the state. The law will still allow those with the proper training to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses, in bars and government buildings, but football stadiums are off limits.

The amended bill still must pass through the House of Representatives in Arkansas.