UNC Releases Notice of Allegations, Hit with Failure to Monitor

Sometime while I was in the air this evening, UNC posted the full notice of allegations on the athletic department website, and it's exactly as brutal as you'd expect. It runs 42 pages, but don't let that number scare you; most of it is repeated legal boiler plate. The University, John Blake, and Jennifer Wiley are all told how and to whom to respond to the allegations (responses should be comb-style binded, so some folks will be hitting up Kinko's). Of the nine allegations, four are self-reported by the university, three dealing with the academic tutoring side of things, and the fourth an exhausting accounting of benefits received by various players. The other five concern Marvin Austin lying to NCAA investigators, John Blake's affiliation with Gary Wilchard and his lying to investigators, and the summary verdict that UNC "failed to adequately monitor the conduct and administration of the football program." This notably is not a charge of lack of institutional control, a ray of hope in an otherwise gloomy report.

Breaking down the allegations, one by one:

The first concerns a tutor – whose name is redacted and thus we must assume is not Jennifer Wiley, whose name is everywhere on the report – writing small portions of assignments for two unnamed football players. The critical thing here is that this took place in the 2008-09 academic year and following summer, and these two players were thus ineligible when they competed in the 2008 and 2009 and 2009 and 2010 football seasons, respectively. This could void the last three years of games.

The second and third concern Jennifer Wiley. It is alleged that during the 2009-2010 academic year, after she was no longer affiliated with UNC's academic support, she provided 142 hours of free tutoring to nine football players. This comes to $1,562 worth of illicit benefits, but that's not the critical part. She also bought a player a $150 airline ticket in May of 2010, and most damningly paid $1,789 worth of parking tickets on August 20, 2010 to the same athlete, after the NCAA had started investigating on campus. It's worth noting that less than a week after the tickets were paid, the announcement was made that UNC was investigating academic improprieties on campus. This parking ticket payment is likely what led them to that. That all falls under the second violation, with the third dealing with Wiley stonewalling the university when they investigated things.

The fourth violation is the sum total of $27,097.38 in benefits provided to seven football players over two years. The number makes it somewhat scarier than it actually is, but there's still a lot there. Here are the folks involved:

 

  • Gary Wichard, now-deceased NFL agent and John Blake crony, who gave $5,082.37 to a player, presumably Marvin Austin. This all occurred in 2009, leaving open the opportunity that Austin never played after receiving this benefit.
  • Todd Stewart, an agent with Pro Sports Financial. He gave $5,509.70 to the same player (Austin), $1,652 to a second player I assume is Robert Quinn, and $54.50 to a third player. A chunk of this was probably meals, given the small dollar value increments, and with one exception all took place in 2010, thus not jeopardizing any eligibility.
  • A.J. Mosciato, a jeweler, who provided $5,000 worth of benefits to a player in 2010. If I recall earlier news reports, this was Greg Little.
  • Willie [last name unknown] – that's how he's listed in the allegation – a guy who provided $326 to the player I'm assuming is Little in 2010.
  • Michael Katz, an agent with Rosenhaus Sports, who provided $199 to the same athlete in 2010, as well as the player I'm assuming is Robert Quinn.
  • Kentwan Balmer, who provided $2,000 to Marvin Austin while he was out in California, presumably as transportation and lodging while he worked out there in 2010.
  • Hakeem Nicks, who provided $3,189.20 to (probably) Robert Quinn for (probably) transportation and lodging.
  • Omar Brown, who provided $1,356.54 to one athlete and $479.75 to another in 2009 and 2010. From media reports these were Deunta Williams and Kendric Burney
  • Chris Hawkins, who through around money to Williams and Burney, as well as $70 to a third player. He, unlike the other former Carolina players, triggers NCAA agent legislation. He also distributed this money "over several years."
  • Mahlon Carey, another former football player, who spent small amounts around two players.

The fifth allegation deals with Marvin Austin's lying to investigators. He basically told them that a former UNC player (Balmer?) paid for his flights and lodging on three separate trips. In fact, they were paid for by an agent (Wilchard?) and Austin was aware of that.

The sixth, seventh, and eighth allegations are the John Blake train wreck. Notable here is that Nebraska player Ndamukong Suh's name pops up, as there is testimony that Blake had contact with him during the period he was choosing an agent. Also, Blake was the recipient of $31,000 in wire transfers from Wilchard's agency as well as a mystery $45,000 deposit. He did not report this; nor did he turn over his tax records when the NCAA asked.

The final allegation is the overall conclusion, that UNC failed to monitor, among other things, Chris Hawkins' use of UNC facilities and social networking activity (Austin's Twitter feed, basically). They also, and this could be where things get dicey, investigate preferential treatment when reported by one of the players receiving said treatment, sometime in 2009 and 2010. That little bit at the end doesn't look good, and could spell the difference between a postseason ban or not.

UNC now has until mid-September to get their spiral-bound response in to the NCAA, who will take up the issue at their October 28th meeting. Most likely, a punishment will come down in January. Other than that, don't expect much to happen. Despite the immediate outcry, Butch Davis won't be fired any time soon, in part because UNCs defense hangs on him being unaware of Blake's activities and having not having reason to suspect otherwise. To fire Davis would imply he did know what was going on, and make things all the worse for Carolina. There's nothing to do now but wait.

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