The last shoe to drop. After over sixteen months of reading tweets, reading between the lines on press releases, looking at notices of allegations from UNC as well as other schools, listening to the incessant stream of crap flowing from the ABC contingent and spending way too much time thinking about the travel habits of college football players, there is a good chance it all comes to an end next week.
Let me be clear, I don't have any inside information but the timetable given by the NCAA for the final disposition of this matter was 8-12 weeks from the Committee on Infractions hearing. That occurred on October 28th. Next Friday will mark 12 weeks since the hearing which means the final report could come any day now. I have seen some rumblings of the message board variety but it is difficult to tell if anyone actually knows anything. Does the timetable being near cause rumors to spring up or are there actual indications the report is being stuffed into a FedEx envelope as we speak? In other words, anyone can say they have heard the report is coming next week because based on the odds they might end up being correct even though they heard nothing of the sort. Such is the nature of message boards rumormongering.
At any rate, our long fanbase nightmare should soon be over. Regardless of how it turns out, the reaction of our lupine brethren is a lock to be entertaining. It will really not matter what the final penalties are, a contingent of NC State fans will go nuts. If UNC gets off with a handful of additional penalties then they will weep and gnash teeth from now until the Fourth of July. If the NCAA throws the book at UNC, they will hold a parade in the RBC Center parking lot. There will be some who will be upset at the penalties even if UNC gets the book thrown at them because those people have their heads to far up their rear ends to know any better. I expect UNC fans to simply take a position of being glad it's over. If UNC does get hammered, there will be griping that it was too much. While I am not anticipating UNC being a nail in this instance, I also am not stupid and understand the NCAA pretty much does what it wants. If it decides a bowl ban is a necessary penalty that is what will happen because no one knows for sure how the whole John Blake/Gary Wichard aspect will ultimately be handled.
To conclude, let me state for the record my official prediction. In the response to the NCAA, UNC self-imposed two years of probation, a loss of three scholarships per year for three years, a $50,000 fine and vacated the 2008 and 2009 seasons. These penalties were in addition to multiple player sanctions handed out during the 2010 season. My prediction is the NCAA accept UNC's penalties and add a year of probation plus take another two scholarships for a total of 15 over three years. The vacating of wins in 2008 and 2009 will stand and the NCAA will likely extend the fine UNC imposed. I do not think the NCAA will levy a bowl earnings sanction as they did with Ohio St simply because UNC's bowl game earnings from the Car Care Bowl appearances in 2008 and 2009 probably not all that great. In my opinion there will be no bowl ban with the caveat being no one can say for sure how the NCAA might rule on John Blake's unprecedented connection to an agent.
So we continue to wait but not for much longer.