This should be entertaining.
The next step in UNC's saga with the NCAA happens on Monday when the response to the notice of allegations is sent to the NCAA moving us all close to some sort of closure in this whole mess. In the response UNC is expected to detail some self-imposed sanctions which is the first offer in what is more or less a negotiation. UNC will offer up some sanctions and then the NCAA, after they consider the response, look at any corrective actions or other circumstances and hold the committee of infractions hearing, will essentially counteroffer their sanctions. Unfortunately whatever the NCAA comes back with will be the sanctions. Even though UNC can appeal we all know how appeals with the NCAA go and that is nowhere.
In anticipation of UNC's reponse Ken Tysiac at the N&O explores the sanctions under consideration. This piece like most coming from the N&O lately is one of those "may, might, could" articles that spells out all sort of things but all of it conditional. Tysiac lays out all of the conventional sanctions most schools self-impose like probation, scholarship reductions and vacated wins. Then, sort of out of left field, Tysiac discusses the possibility that UNC might self-impose a postseason ban. Wait...what?
Buckner wasn't sure whether UNC's transgressions were serious enough to merit withdrawing from a bowl game for a year.
"It would be a toss-up whether they [UNC] would want to impose a postseason ban," Buckner said.
According to Buckner, schools whose teams seem unlikely to reach the postseason in the current season often impose a one-year ban as a penalty that looks substantial but would be essentially meaningless.
But the Tar Heels, who are 2-0 and coming off a win over Rutgers, seem on their way to becoming bowl eligible this fall. The evidence points to the Tar Heels hoping to avoid a bowl ban.
UNC avoided the most serious NCAA charge of lack of institutional control. Baddour said UNC also hopes the NCAA will take into account the school's cooperation and voluntarily withholding players from competition last season when their eligibility was in question.
Barring some massive disaster, UNC likely makes a bowl game so self-imposing such a ban would be egregiously stupid, especially considering the timing of the process. If the usual timetable holds, the NCAA will probably hand down sanctions in December at the earliest at which point UNC will be locked into a bowl. If the NCAA wanted to drop a postseason ban, it would probably take effect for the following season not this one. That is assuming it happens at all which would be highly unusual given the allegations which are severe but not postseason ban severe. Inside Carolina is reporting that a bowl ban was never considered by UNC putting the notion to bed. It is still on the table for the NCAA but it should not and apparently will not be part of UNC's response.
At this point I fully expect UNC to impose about as much as they can reasonably impose, hope that the individual penalties and the school's cooperation stay the NCAA's hand. Bearing that in mind, UNC probably should self-impose the following:
- Two years probation
- Five scholarship reductions per year for three years
- Vacate 2008 and 2009
UNC could suggest three years probation but I would leave that up to the NCAA to see if they want to go there or not. Fifteen scholarships over three years is tough but not crippling(USC got 30, Boise St. got nine) Vacating wins is unavoidable. UNC used Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Michael McAdoo in 2008 and 2009 games so UNC might as well deep-six those upfront and hope that appeases the NCAA. Everyone knows there is no way to guess what the NCAA will do because of the organization's aversion to consistency. All UNC can do is throw the book up in the air and let it land on their head and hope the NCAA considers that, the in-season player penalties and cooperation enough to bring this messy business to an end.