The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has notified the NCAA’s enforcement staff that, in the course of responding to the NCAA’s notice of allegations of May 20, 2015, it identified two new pieces of information potentially requiring further review. The University is fully cooperating with the NCAA and working within the NCAA’s processes to bring closure to the investigation as soon as possible.
First, while preparing for public release of a series of emails from the independent investigation conducted by Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, the University found additional examples of possible instances of improper academic assistance provided to a few former women’s basketball players, directly related to allegation number two in the May 20, 2015, notice of allegations.
“We identified this new information as part of our due diligence in preparing our response to the notice of allegations and materials for public release,” said Director of Athletics Lawrence R. (Bubba) Cunningham. “Consistent with NCAA process, we promptly notified the NCAA’s enforcement staff. We continue to work cooperatively and expeditiously with the enforcement staff to complete our review, and we are confident this can be done quickly to allow the NCAA to bring closure to the investigation.
“There is no question this has been a long and challenging process, and it is one we are committed to finishing as we started – by cooperating fully with the NCAA, adhering to obligations under the NCAA’s rules, and working tirelessly to secure a fair and just outcome for Carolina.”
The second piece of new information involves potential recruiting violations in the men’s soccer program that allegedly occurred over the past two years. While these potential violations are completely unrelated to the allegations in the NCAA’s current notice of allegations, the University is obligated to report this new information and did so as soon as athletics compliance staff became aware of the information. NCAA infractions procedures require that if this new information is deemed to be a Level I or Level II violation, the existing notice of allegations must be amended to include it even though they are unrelated to the prior allegations.
Said Cunningham, “The information we self-reported to the NCAA regarding our men’s soccer program does not meet the high expectations of conduct that I have set for Carolina’s coaches and our entire athletics program. We expect excellence in everything we do, including NCAA compliance, and we will accept nothing less. We will continue to work closely with the NCAA to investigate this matter and avoid unnecessary delays. While this development is very disappointing, it is important to recognize that our athletics compliance procedures detected the potential violations and our coaching staff came forward to report them.”
The University reported the new information to the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Aug. 10 as required by the NCAA infractions program. The University shares the NCAA’s confidence that the additional review to address both issues can be concluded quickly – within 60 days – to bring closure to this investigation. Upon receiving the results of the review, the NCAA enforcement staff will decide whether its current notice of allegations needs to be amended. Under these circumstances, the University will delay submitting its response to the current notice on the original Aug. 18 due date, consistent with NCAA procedures. The NCAA will set a new response date following the supplemental review of the new information.
“I know today’s announcement will cause some to ask when all of this will end,” Cunningham said. “I want to assure everyone that Carolina is doing all it can to bring these matters to closure as quickly as possible while also strictly adhering to the NCAA’s infractions process. While we need to address these new developments, we have already completed the majority of the work necessary to respond to the NCAA’s notice. We fully believe that we will be able to bring the investigation to a conclusion in spring 2016, as previously anticipated.”
The violations are for women's basketball and men's soccer. The women's basketball violations are tied back to the Wainstein Report and apparently involve improper assistance.This is just another item added to the long list of violations women's basketball is contending with from the already released notice of allegations.
The men's soccer violations are for recruiting which is new and different. UNC had not yet been charged with anything recruiting related. There has been academic fraud, improper benefits, failure to monitor social media, lack of institutional control, ethical conduct violations by numerous individuals but in all that no one had yet committed a recruiting violation. So kudos, I guess, to someone for expanding UNC's NCAA violations resume.
UNC will now take 60 days to address the newly found issues then submit the findings to the NCAA which will then decide if an amended notice of allegations is required. All in all, this is probably going to push resolution of the NCAA matters out another 2-3 months. On one hand that means the 2015-2016 athletic season should be safe from NCAA sanctions. On the other hand, the 2016 recruiting class for basketball could suffer mightily if the top players UNC is pursuing decide they simply can't wait to make a college decision.