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Updated: UNC gets postseason ban, scholarship reduction from NCAA

Holden Thorp, Dick Baddour, Butch Davis AP

After nearly two years of dealing with the NCAA in regards to multiple allegations of violations, including impermissible benefits and academic fraud during the Butch Davis era, North Carolina knows its NCAA fate.

And the results, as you can imagine, aren’t good for the Tar Heels.

The NCAA concludes that “over the course of three seasons, six football student-athletes competed while ineligible as a result of these violations, and multiple student-athletes received impermissible benefits totaling more than $31,000.”

The impermissible benefits among athletes between 2009-10 ranged from $99 to over $13,000.

Consequently, UNC will receive a one-year postseason ban in 2012, reduction of 15 total football scholarships over the next three years, vacate all wins from the 2008-09 season (self-imposed), pay $50,000 in fines (self-imposed) and will serve three years probation for “multiple violations, including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, ineligible participation and a failure to monitor its football program.”

Additionally, “a former assistant coach” (John Blake) faces a three-year show-cause penalty restricting any recruiting activity. Blake was connected to former sports agent Gary Wichard and received over $31,000 in athletically-related outside income between 2007-09, which Blake did not report as required by NCAA legislation.

Former tutor Jennifer Wiley, who committed academic fraud violations and provided athletes with over $4,000 in benefits, has been disassociated from the program, another self-imposed ruling by UNC.

According to the NCAA, Blake and Wiley committed unethical conduct and failed to cooperate in the investigation. They were also the main targets of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations.

“This case should serve as a cautionary tale to all institutions to vigilantly monitor the activities of those student-athletes who possess the potential to be top professional prospects,” the committee stated in its report, which you can read HERE. “It should also serve to warn student-athletes that if they choose to accept benefits from agents or their associates, they risk losing their eligibility for collegiate competition.”

Below are statements from UNC’s administration, which has stated it will not appeal the NCAA’s decision:

Chancellor Holden Thorp
“It’s been almost two years since this investigation began, so getting the NCAA ruling is a big step in moving forward. We approached this investigation the way that you would expect of Carolina – thoughtfully, thoroughly and with full cooperation – and that was the right thing to do.

“We self-imposed a number of penalties in the fall that we thought were appropriate based on the facts in our case. The NCAA has given us additional penalties, and the sanctions are more severe than we expected. The ruling is disappointing for our new coaching staff and our student-athletes.

“We considered an appeal. But given the timing and the record that other schools have had with appeals, as well as the fact that penalties are suspended during an appeal, we’ve decided it’s best to accept our sanctions and move forward.”

AD Bubba Cunningham
“North Carolina has always represented so much that is good about college athletics. The last year and a half has been difficult for everyone who loves UNC from both an academic and athletic perspective. It’s time for us to move Carolina Athletics forward to help restore that reputation of integrity and respect for which the University has been known.

We can’t guarantee people won’t make mistakes in the future, but we can give our collective best effort to prevent a repeat of what brought us to this day. College athletics evolves daily and the high profile nature of intercollegiate athletics demands that we remain vigilant and accountable for the coaches, student-athletes and staff who represent our great university.

It is our aspiration that Carolina will be better in the future as aresult of what we have gone through and everyone associated with our program will strive each day to make our students, faculty, alumni, fans and staff proud to be Tar Heels.”

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26 Responses to “Updated: UNC gets postseason ban, scholarship reduction from NCAA”
  1. xtremesportsmaniac says: Mar 12, 2012 3:16 PM

    I am a little surprised John Blake got 3 years and Tressel received 5 years. I personally thought Blake was far worse.

    That’s the NCAA for you, rarely does anything they do make sense.

  2. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:16 PM

    Is this 15 total scholarships or 15 X 3 years (45 total)? Either way, seems similar to USCs penalty but sounds like North Carolina did far worse than just one player (Reggie) receiving money from a guy not representing the school and without the knowledge of anyone at USC knowing.

  3. xtremesportsmaniac says: Mar 12, 2012 3:19 PM

    15 total 5 a year.

  4. ddaniels11 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:22 PM

    Yeah, UNC did far more worse than USC and Ohio St. I don’t know why they’re not getting the book thrown at him. It’s totally ridiculous.

  5. pacific123ocean says: Mar 12, 2012 3:24 PM

    WOW…I thought Mark Emmert was talking about getting tougher with penalties?

  6. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:29 PM

    Thank you for clarifying. I read it quickly and got too upset cuz I had feeling they were getting off easier than USC and Ohio St. Typical NCAA. I guess Miami will get vacated wins from their 2010 season (Oh No!) And one scholarship reduction per year for three years for their sex-cocaine-abortion yachts

  7. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:38 PM

    Many people comment that USC’s penalties were excessive. Lest we forget, USC had prior problems and was already on probation because of their basketball program. That is why they were hit so hard.
    I do agree with ddaniels11, papabush88 and xtremesportsmaniac that UNC got off easy.

  8. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:52 PM

    Just to clarify: I have nothing personal against UNC. It’s not like I wish each school to receive full penalties. In fact, some of these rules are ridiculous. These kids should be paid to play. The NCAA makes a killing off of them. I don’t care how much Reggie Bush took, cuz NCAA probably made way more money off of him.I have something very personal against the NCAA. I just want explanations for the distribution of these penalties. Tressel and Ohio St were caught trying to cover up their wrong doings. Why was their penalty so weak? And here, the NCAA finds that no one, other than Reggie, was aware of him taking money, yet we get book thrown at us. Again, I don’t care what other schools do. I care with how NCAA handles it.

  9. ncsportsfan says: Mar 12, 2012 3:58 PM

    Unless of course you are a member of the $EC and have one of your own on the COI to sweep your conferences investigations and subsequent penalties under the rug. I wonder if that point will come out? Little USC, Alabama, Auburn and Florida say no.

  10. cosanostra71 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:05 PM

    Interesting. I believe that the NCAA’s report on USC only cited two players (there was possibly, ok probably, more but they only cited Bush and Mayo) and they received exactly twice the punishment that UNC did for six players- 30 scholarships and a 2 year ban. I know that USC already appealed, but I feel like they would have a great opportunity to get some scholarships back if they pursue legal action. Doubtful they will though, Haden is content to just put the whole thing in the past now. Probably the best idea too. Haden is a great AD.

  11. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:29 PM

    brutusbuckeye2011: First of all, I don’t really care about college basketball. Sure, you can say that it is because USC’s basketball team is weak. My main reason is that college basketball is weak because the best players usually are one and done. It just looks so much slower compared to NBA. But, that’s my opinion.
    I am mainly referring to the penalties that USC’s football team got. Vacating the football team’s wins, reducing their scholarships, and the post season ban for FOOTBALL had nothing to do with what was going on in basketball. Had Mike Garrett or Pete Carroll been aware of any of this going on, then it would be fair to punish the football and basketball program together. However, as far as football is concerned, no one at USC knew Reggie was taking money. My point is that not only are the kids on the football team today being punished for something that happened 6 years ago, are you saying that they are being punished for something our basketball team did as well? I don’t see the connection between the two sports.

  12. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:33 PM

    brutusbuckeye2011: Additionally, I doubt that Pete Carroll showed up to the hearings for the COI and was answering questions about OJ Mayo and basketball. How are you lumping the two together? I feel like the basketball and football penalties are separate. Are you saying the NCAA mashed them together, and made Pete Carroll responsible for the basketball program as well as the football program (Same thing for our basketball coach?)?

  13. floridacock says: Mar 12, 2012 4:36 PM

    Little USC HA! Never heard that one. At least no wins to Little USC will be included in that vacating of wins as the kids in baby blue ONLY had a loss!

  14. papabush88 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:47 PM

    floridacock: I sometimes forget there is a South Carolina. I think of two things when I hear University of South Carolina: 1.) The school that failed at trying to steal the real USC’s logos and acronym. 2.) The fat idiot from Borat.
    When I think of the real USC: I think of championships and Heismans and more NFL 1st round draft picks than any other school.

  15. thekatman says: Mar 12, 2012 5:48 PM

    Univ of South Carolina = USCe, as well as “lil” USC.

    SC, USC always = Univ Southern California.

    … additionaly, re: USC’s 2 year bowl ban, loss fo 30 schollies, 4 yrs probabtion….. those penalties were assessed against USC after the NCAA COI released the original assessment with penalties and some folks in the NCAA member schools, which I don’t need to mentioned because you know who the whiners are, complained that the penalties weren’t harsh enough. Theses conf commissioners and schools were the same schools/conferences that couldn’t beat USC back in the PC days.

    With that said, UNC got off easy, as will Miami, as Ohio State did, South Carolina will get off easy… no shcool will be hit with the level and severity of the USC penalties again.

    Remember the goal of the NCAA COI leadership of Paul Dee, the ex-Miami AD who authroized all ofd the Miami problems that they’re facing today, tried to shutdown the USC program without being the bad guy. Yes, USC slowed down a bit, but was never out fo the game, and now for the 2012 season, USC is looking to be preseason #1 or #2. If USC wasn’t bowl game sanctioned this past season and there was a playoff in place, USC could’ve beaten everyone ranked ahead of them in the AP Poll. USC finished the season so strong, as did most of the PC teams, that they certainly were strong enough to have taken out Alabama, LSU, OK State, Oregon and Stanford in post-season play. But I digress…. UNC got off easy. Enjoy it.

  16. frug says: Mar 12, 2012 6:58 PM


    re: Miami getting off light

    If what Shapiro is claiming is anything close to the truth (and given his history that isn’t exactly a safe assumption) then I don’t see how they get off lightly. Not only will they have committed major violations in two sports, but the bounty payments for injuring opponents could well get them the death penalty.

  17. thekatman says: Mar 12, 2012 7:19 PM

    I’m with ya, believe you me. Miami’s misdeeds, if proven to be true, should have them penalized and sanctioned wose than SMU, but that won’t happen, and I honestly believe that they won’t get hit as heavy as USC. That’s just the way the NCAA works. They are very inconsistent.

  18. iclight79 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    Hold up, hold up, hold up… wait a minute. Seriously? UNC has a football team?

  19. frug says: Mar 12, 2012 8:25 PM

    Well ultimately it will depend on what they can prove. Shapiro doesn’t really have any credibility or anything to lose by lying so whether or not Miami gets hammered is going to depend on how much corroborating evidence they can find.

    If the investigators can prove (most) of what Shapiro is claiming they will get the most severe punishment since SMU, if they can’t they may get away without any sanctions.

  20. chachooga says: Mar 12, 2012 8:59 PM

    @frug @ Katman…

    First off, the ONLY source for 90% of the yahoo hit piece was Shapira. A convicted felon in jail for a nearly billion dollar ponzi scheme (liar). He also admits to having an axe to grind with UM.

    So as to the other 10% of yahoo’s crap journalism that has uninformed people like you two calling for the death penalty?!?!? What????

    USC and OSU had institutional problems with HEAD COACHES. That is a huge problem. UNC had assistants on the current staff at the time of investigation. UM has a former football assistant and former Head Bball coach. In both cases Shapiro is the ONLY SOURCE and the basketball one has been proven false and the player is on the current roster.

    UM has already imposed suspensions on players. None of which was the entire season like UNC. In fact UMs situation is much closer to the Boise St. situation, which I assume neither of you know about. The worst player from Boise took over $1,000….as did the worst at UM (O.Vernon six games). Now you tell me which is worse a grand in Idaho or a grand on South Beach???? I mean shouldn’t that be factored in???

    USC was on sanctions and committed huge violations that were confirmed by multiple sources while others filed in court not to talk. They had star players Mayo and Bush getting PAID by AGENTS….even a house was given to Bush. Even IF all the stuff Shapiro said were true it doesn’t come close to what USC was doing…while already on sanctions.

    UNC, OSU and USC are all worse than UM in lack of institutional control and benefits received by players.

    Now I am not saying UM didn’t do anything wrong. They have already suspended players and self imposed a bowl ban.

    But it would not be a tragedy if they got less of a penalty then UNC, USC and OSU, as you all seem to be saying.

    I know the Yahoo hit piece had a lot of flash, but it was irresponsible and put UM and the NCAA in a crappy spot since it relied almost entirely on a convicted felon singing a jail bird tune for its source. The yahoo piece is crap journalism, NOT an official investigation.

  21. frug says: Mar 12, 2012 9:18 PM


    I’m trying to figure out which part of my post you disagree with. All did was say IF the most egregious allegations could be proven then Miami would likely get heavier sanctions than those levied at USC. (And yes, if they can prove that U players were being paid money to intentionally injure opponents and the coaching staff either knew or should have known about it then the death penalty is completely appropriate.)

    And for the record, I noted in my post that right now all we are relying on is the word of a man with no credibility and nothing to lose by lying.

  22. chachooga says: Mar 12, 2012 9:23 PM


    My bad. I still think the Death Penalty is a ridiculous notion even IF all that jock sniffer on steroids was saying is true. SMU got the death penalty for having a designated slush fund, sanctioned by the University to pay players to play at SMU.

    Shapiro in all his wild imagination is not even close to that, though judging by the type of guy he is, I wouldn’t be suprised he would LOVE to have his name mentioned next to SMU in NCAA football lore.

  23. concernedcitizen001 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:03 PM

    If you get banned from something you don’t normally achieve anyway, is it really punishment?

  24. atxcane says: Mar 12, 2012 11:30 PM

    Looking at the official NCAA allegations* and the penalties handed down, it looks like there are two general trends:

    1) If a coach on staff was involved in deliberately misleading the NCAA, they’re getting the hammer. Todd McNair (1 yr), Tressel (5 yr), and Blake (3 yr) are pretty much blackballed from coaching collegiate football again.

    2) Cooperation seems to be the difference-maker in how many ‘ships are lost — once you’re into “major infraction” territory, it doesn’t seem like they split hairs on whether it was tattoos or agents or runners on staff. USC (30/3) was notoriously uncooperative with the NCAA. Blake and the tutor (UNC, 15/3) were called out for not cooperating, while OSU (9/3) seemed to cooperate the most. USC got whacked hard (harder than I thought was fair), but I don’t think it was out of nowhere. USC practically set the runway lights up in the shape of a giant middle finger when that plane from Indy was descending. This is just a rumor, but I heard Mike Garrett went so far as to piss all over the investigator’s shoes when they met in the restroom.

    USC fans should be mad as all hell at Reggie Bush. Beyond everything that happened, USC would have walked free if that dumbass hadn’t *literally* made a federal case out of it. Stonewalling the NCAA was working well until the FBI got involved and handed the tapes over to the NCAA. In light of how things played out, I can’t say I’m surprised USC was hit so hard.

    (*note: these are the allegations the NCAA has made *after* investigating and believes to have merit…not allegations from people with little to no knowledge)

  25. florida727 says: Mar 13, 2012 7:55 AM

    Consequently, UNC will receive a one-year postseason ban in 2012, reduction of 15 total football scholarships over the next three years, vacate all wins from the 2008-09 season (self-imposed), pay $50,000 in fines (self-imposed) and will serve three years probation for “multiple violations, including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, ineligible participation and a failure to monitor its football program.”


    Let’s look at the “penalties” one by one…

    Reduction in scholarships, 5 per year for each of the next 3 years — any idea how many “scholarship players” never break a sweat on any given Saturday? This actually saves the school money, from which they can pay…

    $50,000 in fines — seriously (?), for a sports program (don’t forget basketball) that generates millions annually, this amounts to a rounding error on their financial statement.

    Three (3) years probation — arguably one of the most useless penalties of all; a proverbial slap on the wrist that says “please don’t do this again or we’ll be forced to actually impose a penalty that means something”.

    Vacate their wins from the 2008-2009 season — considering that Davis went 12-23 in his 4 seasons there, who’s going to notice?

    One year post-season ban — considering UNC has LOST 4 of their last 5 bowl games and had 3 recent seasons without even going to one, the more appropriate penalty might have been to force them to endure another bowl game.

    CONCLUSION — slap on the wrist…

  26. xtremesportsmaniac says: Mar 14, 2012 10:46 AM

    Everybody gets off easier than USC!

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