Inside Carolina's Greg Barnes, who broke the story early Saturday morning concerning the possibility the NCAA could be very close to getting off the pot, spoke with 620 The Buzz's The Insiders this morning(audio here.) Barnes added a few more tidbits to the original story.
Barnes said June 10th is the latest date that UNC had received from the NCAA, so to expect something on or around that date. The recent story involving current Tar Heel Quinton Coples' involvement at a post NFL draft party has delayed the deadline a little bit, as the NCAA had to question Coples on whether he received improper benefits. However, according to Barnes, "The Quinton Coples mess is really going to turn out to not much of anything."
What worries fans and the administration of UNC is whether the university will receive a "lack of institutional control" charge in the notice of allegations. Barnes not only thinks there will be no such charge, he also says, "They may not even get a failure to monitor charge of John Blake." There is a statute in the NCAA guidelines that says if an assistant coach acts secretly to where nobody knows what he's doing, then the university can not be accountable for his actions. If this is the finding of the NCAA, then you would think the university would be cleared of wrongdoings by former assistant Blake.
As far as penalties go for the Tar Heels, they will not actually be in the notice coming this week. UNC will have 90 days to respond to the notice. The thought is that probation for a couple of years, coupled with a minimal loss of scholarships and potential forfeiture of wins of the 2009 season will be assessed.
Doc noted this on Saturday and its worth mentioning again. The June 10th date is something UNC has been told by the NCAA probably in a tentative-check-your-mailbox sort of way. Thus far UNC has twice been told something is coming down the pipe and in both instances nothing happened. This could explain the infamous statement back in August that the NCAA would issue a ruling "by Friday" only to have nothing happen but ridicule from ABCers. Hopefully Barnes was not talking to the same guy who said that then.
The larger point here is UNC could be outing this date in an effort to get the NCAA to move this time around. Granted we might be giving UNC's PR apparatus too much credit here but IC posting the information at 3 AM on a Saturday morning is darn peculiar. UNC recently won a stay in the public records case and would love nothing more than to get the NCAA's case wrapped up and released before the appeal is heard. Is any of this connected? Probably not but speculating about the possibilities is always interesting.
Barnes casts a very positive light on what might be ahead saying that not only could UNC avoid the "lack of institutional control" charge, its slightly less severe cousin "failure to monitor" could be off the table as well. The FTM charge could most certainly be applied to the actions of former assistant coach John Blake and also the rogue tutor Jennifer Wiley. However, Barnes says if UNC had policies in place and individuals acted on their own in contravention to those policies, the NCAA might clear UNC/Butch Davis. In other words, the "I didn't know" defense would have worked to a certain extent. I have trouble being that optimistic about that so I am going to assume the worse until someone from the NCAA or UNC tells me otherwise. Barnes did say the Quinton Coples party fiasco(not serious enough to call it a "-gate") is going to be much ado about nothing which gels with what I am hearing.
Obviously if it does break the way Barnes is speculating it would be, in practical terms, minimal damage to the football program. Probation and a few lost scholarships can be weathered and vacated wins do not undermine the forward progress of the program in terms of recruiting. In terms of school's reputation, there is not much that can be done to correct that but time and action to ensure it doesn't happen again. And yes I suppose they could start firing people left and right but at this point that's not going to help.
Of course the side benefit here is the exploding heads of ABCers if the LOIC charge fails to materialize and a full blown headless riot if FTM is nowhere to be found.