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Gene Chizik says he has no regrets leaving coaching for full-time fatherhood

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When most coaches — and most people — leave jobs they’d rather keep they say they’re “resigning to spend more time with their family.” Gene Chizik actually did that.

Chizik had two years of full-time fatherhood in between his firing as Auburn’s head coach after the 2012 season and has hiring as North Carolina’s defensive coordinator in 2015. Chizik’s family stayed behind in Auburn while he worked in Chapel Hill, and he wrote in a column for USA Today that an epiphany he experienced while walking to a Tar Heels practice made him realize he wanted to leave a game he loved to spend his time with people he loves more.

I attended all 25 of my son’s baseball games this spring, even periodically getting the chance to flip burgers in the concession stand as all parents do. I have spent invaluable time with my twin daughters, who are now sophomores at Auburn University. Sometimes, it is daddy-daughter dates, while other times it might be late-night talks about life. Either way, they are priceless moments.

I wake up every morning unburdened by the stress so many working dads feel, whether they coach, manage a business or work in a factory. Getting some relief from the grind has given me two priceless gifts — quality time with my kids and perspective on life. 

It has been an amazing blessing to be able to do things that were not possible for so many years. Until this spring, I had only seen two of my son’s baseball games in two years. I was not present when my daughters moved into their freshmen dorms at Auburn, a great place we still call home.

In 2016, as I walked to another two-a-day practice at North Carolina, I watched carloads of families moving into the freshmen dorms. My family was doing the exact same thing 500 miles away. That’s when it hit me. It was time to make a change.

I knew right then I would never miss another of my son’s football or baseball games. He only has two years of high school left. There will be no more do-overs. Our nest will then be empty.

Chizik is only 55 and, as he noted in the paragraph above, his youngest child will be off to college next year. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he returns to coaching again.

But it sure doesn’t seem like it.

TE Jovani Haskins leaving Miami to ‘get fresh start somewhere else’

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A month and a half or so before Mark Richt kicks off his second summer camp at Miami, attrition has again hit the Hurricanes’ roster.

The U announced via a press release Tuesday afternoon that Jovani Haskins is no longer a member of the football program.  No specific reason was given for the tight end’s move away from Coral Gables, although it appears to be a mutual decision.

“I talked to Jovani and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

A three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class, Haskins was rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Prior to signing with The U, Haskins also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He took official visits to the latter two schools before committing to Miami a few days before National Signing Day.

The 6-4, 240-pound Haskins took a redshirt his true freshman season.

North Carolina approves contract extension for Larry Fedora

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Heading into his sixth season at North Carolina, Larry Fedora will do so armed with a revamped deal.

Early Thursday afternoon, the university announced that a contract extension for Fedora has been formally approved by the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.  Fedora is now under contract through the 2022 season.

“We are pleased that the Board of Trustees has approved the terms of Coach Fedora’s contract, which will allow him to continue our football program’s success into the next decade,” said UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham in a statement. “Under his leadership, our student-athletes are succeeding in the classroom, contributing positively to our community – and competing for championships. We know this was a lengthy process, but we wanted to make sure the terms were appropriate for both Coach Fedora and the University.”

Fedora’s 2016 compensation of just under $2 million was 11th out of the 11 ACC head coaches listed in USA Today‘s salary database.  The new deal will pay Fedora $2.29 million in 2017, which would’ve been ninth among conference coaches last season.

Below are the salary breakdowns for each year of the new contract:

In his five seasons with the Tar Heels, Fedora has gone 40-25 overall and 26-14 in ACC play. His wins are already fifth in school history, while his .615 winning percentage is second since UNC joined the ACC in 1953.

In 2015, the Tar Heels played in their first-ever conference championship game en route to an 11-win season that was the program’s best since Mack Brown’s last year in Chapel Hill and tied for the most in school history.

“I enjoy coaching at the University of North Carolina and I appreciate the trust Chancellor Folt and Bubba Cunningham have shown in the leadership of our program,” Fedora said. “Our staff and players have worked diligently over the last five years to build a program that encompasses all aspects of the student-athlete experience, while simultaneously achieving success on the field.”

North Carolina responds to third Notice of Allegations in lingering academic scandal

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For the third time in as many years, North Carolina is responding to a Notice of Allegations connected to a decade-long academic scandal.

“We are prepared and look forward to presenting our case to the Committee on Infractions,” said chancellor Carol L. Folt in a statement. “Bringing closure to this process will be an important step for our University. The expansive reforms and initiatives now in place at Carolina reflect the academic values of a community that I am proud to lead.”

“We sent the NCAA a full and detailed response,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said. “Our reply to each allegation is based on the NCAA’s constitution and member-adopted bylaws. We expect the Committee on Infractions to consistently apply those bylaws as the case moves forward.”

For the complete response, click HERE.

The university had a deadline of May 16 to submit their response to this latest NOA, which they met.  The delay in releasing the response publicly was caused by the school stating that they needed to perform “a review to protect privacy rights” of those individuals mentioned in the response.

In June of 2014, the NCAA informed UNC “that it would reopen its original 2011 examination of the past academic irregularities.” The first NOA was sent to the university in 2015, with UNC accused of lack of institutional control as to student-athletes in multiple sports, including football, receiving preferential access to the controversial African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) courses dating all the way back to 2002.  In April of 2016, UNC received an amended NOA that replaced “lack of institutional control” with “failure to monitor.”

Below are the allegations the NCAA has made in the five violations The Associations has charged UNC with:

  1. African and Afro-American Studies student services manager Deborah Crowder and department professor/chair Julius Nyang’oro committed extra benefit and ethical conduct violations from 2002-11 by overseeing anomalous courses in the department and giving athletics personnel authority to impact aspects of the courses for student-athletes. School personnel committed extra benefits violation by leveraging the relationship with Crowder and Nyang’oro to provide special arrangements to student-athletes.
  2. Academic counselor Jan Boxill provided extra benefits by way of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball players from 2003-2010.
  3. Crowder violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct by failing to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff’s requests.
  4. Nyang’oro violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct by failing to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff’s requests.
  5. Allegation No. 1 and No. 2 show school’s failure to exercise institutional control and failure to monitor the conduct and administration of athletics programs.

In its most recent response, the university claims that the AFAM courses was “were available to all students in the same manner” and that “[n]o special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation.” “Student-athletes made up 29.4 percent of the enrollments in the Courses,” the university added, a number that is less than the nearly 50-percent figure the NCAA came up with.

Essentially, UNC’s argument is that, because the issue of AFAM courses is an academic one, “the University denies that there were NCAA violations.”

The Raleigh News & Observer writes that “[t]he NCAA’s enforcement staff will have an opportunity to review and address issues UNC raises over the next 60 days, with the case then expected to proceed to an infractions committee hearing in August.” A decision from the NCAA would come two months or so after the conclusion of the hearing, which would be right in the middle of the football season.

ACC distributed $23.8 million to members in 2015-16 as revenue declines

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Everybody in college athletics is making money — outside of the players — but the ACC was one entity that didn’t quite make as much as they did the year prior.

The reason for a slight decline in total revenue in the ACC? It’s members can thank not having the hefty buyout Maryland paid to leave the league and join the Big Ten the year prior.

Ace Daily Press reporter David Teel recently obtained the conference’s tax returns for the 2015-16 fiscal year and they show a still-robust $373.4 million in total revenue. That resulted in a nice $23.8 million distribution to the 14 member schools and a payment of just over $4 million to Notre Dame as part of the Irish’s agreement to house their non-football sports in the ACC.

The ACC was the big winner among the Power Five conference in the prior tax return period, seeing their revenue jump by a whopping $100 million in 2014-15 to $403.1 million. Taking out the $30 million buyout that the Terps paid in order to leave and revenue was essentially flat for the ACC year-over-year.

Despite that, the balance sheet is still a very healthy one and slots the ACC in front of the Big 12’s $313 million in total revenue among the Power Five conferences. That only means a fourth place finish though as the Pac-12 ($488 million), Big Ten ($483.4 million) and SEC ($639 million) all came out significantly ahead.

USA Today reports that ACC commissioner John Swofford didn’t feel the pinch of the decline however, as his salary was just a tad under $3 million in the same reporting period and represented an increase of nearly $300,000 from the year prior. Something says everybody in the league can expect future increases though with Clemson’s back-to-back national title game appearances as well as the upcoming ACC Network launch factoring into the equation in coming years.