The NCAA is heading back to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. UNC has received a notice of inquiry from the NCAA that an investigation into academic concerns will officially be reopened in light of new evidence and reports concerning academic problems in the university’s athletics department.
The NCAA released the following statement Monday afternoon;
“The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was cited by the Division I Committee on Infractions in 2012 for violations in its athletics program, including academic misconduct. As with any case, the NCAA enforcement staff makes clear it will revisit the matter if additional information becomes available. After determining that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might be willing to speak with the enforcement staff, the NCAA has reopened its investigation. The enforcement staff is exploring this new information to ensure an exhaustive investigation is conducted based on all available information. The NCAA will not comment further to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
The university released a statement confirming a notice has been received by the school, but there will be no more comments from UNC about the investigation until it is completed.
In February UNC hired Kenneth Wainstein, a former U.S. Justice Department attorney, to lead the outside investigation focusing on lingering academic concerns following the NCAA’s original investigation. UNC previously disputed a report by CNN suggesting a number of student-athletes at the university were unable to complete college level work and faced problems of illiteracy. Former defensive end Michael McAdoo later claimed he was guided to no-show classes by a counselor hired by the university.
All of this information was reported after the NCAA wrapped up its initial investigation, but as with most investigations conducted by the NCAA there is always a statement confirming the case can be reopened if needed. Now it appears the NCAA has access to more information and may be able to get to talk to some witnesses or other people of interest who may have been unavailable or unwilling to cooperate previously.
What does this mean for UNC football? For now it is best to wait and see how deep the NCAA can dig at this time. The program may be able to get by without any punishments too severe for the program after already paying dues for previous incidents. As long as Larry Fedora has been running a clean program since being hired, the damage this investigation causes could be minimal. But if the NCAA finds similar problems still ongoing, it could be quite a different story.
It’s unclear at this point to where Jalen Harris will ultimately transfer, but the list of potential landing spots has been significantly whittled down.
In mid-September, Harris announced that he would be transferring from Auburn. On Twitter Tuesday, the tight end revealed his list of five finalists that will serve as possible transfer destinations, including a pair of SEC schools in Georgia and Vanderbilt.
The other three schools include a pair of Power Five programs (Colorado, Kansas State) as well as one from the Group of Five (Troy).
A decision from Harris is expected at some point next week.
Harris did not play in more than four games this season, meaning he preserved a year of eligibility under the new redshirt rule. He will also head to his new college football home as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019.
As a fourth-year senior this past season, the 6-4, 257-pound Harris played in three games before opting to transfer. The previous three seasons, the Montgomery, Ala., native played in 39 games, with most of that action coming on special teams and as a blocking tight end.
Harris did, though, catch a pair of touchdown passes among his four career receptions. Both touchdowns came during the 2016 season.
Sadly, tragedy has yet again struck the college football community.
Tuesday, Richmond confirmed that Spiders football player Augustus “Gus” Lee had passed away earlier in the day. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia Department of Health’s Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner declined to provide details on the cause of the redshirt freshman defensive back’s death.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Augustus Lee,” Richmond head football coach Russ Huesman said in a statement sent out by the FCS program. “Gus was a terrific young man and a great member of our Richmond family. His loss is a true tragedy to those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gus’ family. This is a very difficult time for everyone in the Richmond Spider family.”
“I have been in touch with Gus’s family to express our deepest condolences on behalf of the entire University,” a statement from president Ronald Crutcher began. “Gus was a sophomore from Fairfax, Virginia, who played on our football team. He was an undeclared pre-business major and a good friend, especially to his teammates and his fellow student-athletes. We extend our deepest sympathies to Gus’s family, his teammates, professors, and many friends on our campus.”
Lee played in 11 games this past season, with most of that action coming on special teams. He was named Defensive MVP of the Spiders’ spring game earlier this year.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lee’s passing.
A second Minnesota football player has decided to end the collegiate portion of his playing career prematurely.
On Instagram Tuesday, Blake Cashman announced that, “after a lot of thought and discussions with people close to me,” he has decided he will not play in Minnesota’s Quick Lane Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech Dec. 26. “This was a very a hard decision for me, but I feel in my heart that getting a jump start on training will give me the best opportunity at the next level,” the linebacker wrote.
This season serves as the senior’s final year of eligibility.
Cashman currently leads the Gophers in tackles with 104 and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 15. His 2½ sacks are second on the team, while his five pass breakups are good for third.
Earlier this month, teammate and starting offensive tackle Donnell Greene also used Instagram to announce that he has signed with an agent and will not play in the Gophers’ bowl game. Greene and Cashman are two of at least a baker’s dozen players who have sidelined themselves for their respective team’s bowl game.
- West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste (HERE)
- Iowa tight end Noah Fant (HERE)
- Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary
- West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (HERE)
- NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (HERE)
- Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (HERE)
- Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill (HERE)
- Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver (HERE)
- NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt (HERE)
- South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel (HERE)
- LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (HERE)
When Rutgers kicks off spring practice a couple of months down the road, the Big Ten program’s quarterback room will be a little more sparse than when the 2018 regular season ended.
Jalen Chatman announced on his personal Twitter account late Tuesday night that he has “decided to leave Rutgers to pursue new opportunities.” The freshman gave no specific reason for his departure.
“I hope for nothing but the best for my brothers and the Rutgers football program,” Chatman said as he ended his social media missive.
Chatman came to Piscataway as a three-star member of the Scarlet Knights’ 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 32 dual-threat quarterback in the country. The California native didn’t see the field his true freshman season.
In leaving RU, Chatman will take four seasons of eligibility with him. He’ll have to sit out the 2019 season if he opts for another FBS school.
With Chatman’s departure, just two scholarship quarterbacks remain on head coach Chris Ash‘s roster — 2018 starter and true freshman Artur Sitkowski as well as sophomore Johnathan Lewis, who played in only four games (three at tight end) and is eligible to take advantage of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule that will preserve a season of eligibility. Additionally, the Scarlet Knights are expected to add a pair of quarterbacks in their 2019 recruiting class.
This past season, the 1-11 Scarlet Knights were dead last out of 129 FBS teams in passing efficiency at 78.8; the next-closest school was Central Michigan (85.2). They threw just five touchdown passes (tied with Navy for fewest in the FBS) while tossing 22 interceptions (most in the FBS; UTEP was next with 19). Finally, their 4.5 yards per attempt — compared to Oklahoma’s nation-leading 11.6 — was tied with CMU for last in the nation in that category.