Now that some time has passed, here are some observations and questions about the NCAA's notice of allegations that was received by UNC yesterday, shotgun style:
- First off, a recap: There were nine allegations. Three of them related to Jennifer Wiley, including one of failure to cooperate; three of them related to John Blake, including one of misleading information and failure to cooperate; one was Marvin Austin giving false/misleading statements; one was the improper benefits; and one is the failure to monitor charge.
- Wiley was apparently informed by letter of what she could and could not do in regards to interacting with players after being in the employ of UNC and yet chose to do it anyway. That goes a long way towards UNC's "rogue tutor" defense.
- Couldn't help but laugh that the NCAA applied the "Omar Brown's Couch" rule to Wiley for her provision of free tutoring as an impermissible benefit.
- John Blake apparently toed the Gary Wichard line of never having worked for Wichard or for Pro Tect Management in his interview with the NCAA. He also refused to provide tax records to show his sources of income. If he was hiding and lying about that with the NCAA, is it possible he lied or hid from UNC officials as well?
- The NCAA relied on information gleaned from the NC Secretary of State investigation to allege Blake was in the employ of Wichard and Pro Tect, but the question remains from when that information was first released: is that what the $31,000 from Wichard and Pro Tect was for? Wichard is dead and Blake ain't talking, so we may never know.
- I had to laugh that among the evidence that the NCAA had that Blake was a runner for Wichard was a 20+ year-old allegation from Brian Bosworth, whose own lifestyle strained credibility. Also among those making statements were former UNC assistant Marvin Sanders, who was an assistant at Nebraska and claimed Blake tried to steer Ndomakung Suh to Wichard.
- Not trying to re-try the case against John Blake, and not in any way implying that Blake was not in Wichard's employ, but if Blake was a runner, he was a bad one. The only UNC player to sign with Wichard was Kentwan Balmer, and neither Suh nor Marvin Austin chose Wichard as their agent.
- The NCAA's lack of subpoena power really shows as it relates to Wiley and Blake. Both refused to cooperate and there was absolutely nothing the NCAA could do about it. Then again, what benefit was it to them to help? On the other hand, it didn't stop the NCAA from leveling the allegations because the burden of proof is not on the NCAA, it's on UNC.
- The amount of improper benefits seems staggering when you add it all up: over $27,000. But that includes the ridiculous figure of $1300+ that Deunta Williams was dinged for crashing on Omar Brown's couch. When you look at it as the Three Stooges (Austin, Greg Little, and Robert Quinn) accounted for over $23,000 of it and Austin alone for $13,000, it seems easier to swallow. Besides, all of the improper benefits together are just over half of what Terrelle Pryor was said to have made from selling autographs alone.
- Given the fact that the NCAA mentioned Wiley paying $1,789 in parking tickets for a player (we assume it's Little) and itemized other improper benefits down to $5 from former player Mahlon Carey, it is a safe bet to assume the NCAA had already looked into the parking ticket information released last week and found nothing of substance.
- How much does the NCAA hate Chris Hawkins? This person who has been designated as a scourge, plague, and agent-like creature is responsible for a grand total of $886 in improper benefits, or less than he paid A.J. Green for his bowl game jersey. UNC was even hit with a failure to monitor charge on Hawkins for less than a thousand bucks.
- Speaking of Hawkins, the question remains: When was he declared an ALC by the NCAA and how was UNC to know to keep him away from players? Maybe some inquisitive media type will ask that question of either UNC or the NCAA.
- Compliance departments all over America are taking notice that, with a failure to monitor allegation against UNC over social media, that they now need to be monitoring Twitter and Facebook accounts. Expect institutional bans on social media in the very near future.
- The only really new piece of information in the entire NOA was that UNC failed to investigate when a player reported to a football staff member possible impermissible benefits from an ALC, assumed to be Hawkins. The allegation is very vague and without knowing who the staff member was or who the player was, it's hard to read a lot more into that.
- Very interesting to note that the failure to monitor charge does not address Wiley or Blake, which I interpret as a sign of how the NCAA's line of thinking is working. As previously mentioned, the "rogue tutor" defense seems solid, and if Blake was lying all over about his relationship with Wichard, then it was was possible he was lying to UNC as well. There is the escape clause that says if everything else is OK but an assistant is bent on violating rules, then the school and head coach are not culpable. That would seem to be the case here.
- Also very interesting to note that Butch Davis' name does not appear in the entire 42-page document. Read into that what you will. Lots of swirling hyperbole in the talking heads and especially in the national media about Davis' responsibility for the program and that is a legitimate debate, but so far as direct responsibility for knowledge of NCAA violations, there is nothing in the NOA. (Now if only the head of the investigative committee would write a letter saying how much he wishes is son could play for Butch, the "Jim Valvano defense" would be complete)
- As it relates to Butch Davis and John Blake: much has been made over last night and this morning as to Blake's reputaion and whether Davis "should have known" about Blake. There are two arguments there: one is whether Davis should have known about Blake's reputaiton as a shady recruiter, and the other about Davis' knowledge of Blake's ties to Wichard. You can argue the former, but the latter requires a bigger stretch, and one the NCAA was obviously not willing to make.
There will obviously be more to come as the document is dissected and analyzed even more in the days and weeks ahead.