Associate Director of Public and Media Relations
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is responsible for multiple violations, including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, ineligible participation and a failure to monitor its football program, according to the decision announced today by the Division I Committee on Infractions.
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.
While employed by the university, a former assistant football coach was compensated by a sports agent for the access he provided to student-athletes and failed to disclose the income to the university. The former assistant coach and a former tutor both committed unethical conduct and failed to cooperate with the investigation.
“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. “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.”
Penalties for the case include a one-year postseason ban, reduction of 15 football scholarships, vacation of records and three years probation. The former assistant coach received a three-year show-cause penalty restricting any recruiting activity.
The academic fraud violations stemmed from the former tutor constructing significant parts of writing assignments for three football student-athletes. The tutor wrote paragraphs for papers, revised drafts, composed “works-cited” pages, researched and edited content and inserted citations, among other violations. The tutor also provided more than $4,000 in impermissible benefits, including airfare and paying for outstanding parking tickets, to 11 football student-athletes after she graduated and was no longer a university employee. The tutor also refused to cooperate with the investigation.
The former assistant football coach was also cited for a failure to cooperate and unethical conduct. According to the committee, not only did he refuse to provide information relevant to the investigation, but he also furnished false and misleading information. At the hearing, in a reversal of his previous refusal to provide information, the former assistant coach expressed a willingness to provide the pertinent records. However, he did not provide the documents for more than three months following the hearing, resulting in a significant delay in bringing this case to conclusion.
The former assistant coach also did not report $31,000 in athletically related outside income from a sports agency. According to the committee findings, the former assistant coach was either employed or compensated by the sports agent. It was found that even after returning to college athletics, the former assistant coach continued recruiting clients for the sports agency, including student-athletes he was coaching.
The committee also found the university failed to monitor its football program, in part when it allowed a former student-athlete to have regular access to current student-athletes at its athletic facilities without any scrutiny. The former student-athlete was deemed an agent runner during the NCAA investigation. In addition, the university failed to investigate information it obtained suggesting one student-athlete, who accepted the most in impermissible cash and benefits, may have violated NCAA agent rules.
This case also included the provision of thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits to multiple student-athletes. Seven football student-athletes accepted more than $27,500 in benefits from various individuals, some of whom triggered NCAA agent rules. These impermissible benefits included cash, flights, meals, lodging, athletic training, admission to clubs and jewelry, among others. While the value of the benefits the student-athletes accepted varied, one student-athlete received more than $13,500 cash and gifts.
The university took decisive action after discovering the academic fraud violations and when the former assistant coach’s violations came to light. In addition, the school cooperated fully during the investigation.
The penalties in this case include:
The Division I Committee on Infractions is an independent group comprised of representatives across NCAA membership and the public. The members of the committee who reviewed this case include Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA and chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are John S. Black, attorney; Brian P. Halloran, attorney; Roscoe Howard, Jr., attorney; Andrea Myers, athletics director emeritus, Indiana State University; James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon; Gregory Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; and Rodney Uphoff, law professor for University of Missouri, Columbia.