UNC’s problems began last year when the school announced it was looking into academic misconduct, alleged unethical conduct by an assistant coach, and allegations that players got perks from professional sports agents.
In all, 14 players missed at least one game because of the probe with seven being ruled out for the entire year. An eighth was cleared to return at midseason but decided to redshirt.
The Notice of Allegations outlined numerous “potential major violations,” including failure to adequately monitor the conduct of former and current football players. Former assistant coach John Blake is also accused of providing “false and misleading information” to NCAA investigators and school officials regarding his relationship with late NFL agent Gary Wichard.
The alleged misconduct includes a failure to report more than $30,000 in outside income from Wichard’s firm, Pro Tech Management. Blake’s attorney has said the transactions were loans during tough financial times, but the NCAA says Blake worked to steer players to Wichard once they reached the NFL.
The Notice of Allegations states seven players received more than $27,000 in benefits in both 2009 and 2010. The report also names former tutor Jennifer Wiley who is accused of unethical conduct for refusing to cooperate with the investigation and providing $3,500 worth of extra benefits in travel, free tutoring, and parking expenses.
While neither was named in the Notice of Allegations, the investigation has resulted in the firing of head coach Butch Davis and the resignation of Athletic Director Dick Baddour. Baddour remains a member of the Athletics Department, but will reportedly have no role in the hiring of a new football coach. Baddour’s contract is set to expire in June 2012, at which time he is expected to leave the University.
Davis had a long history with Blake, starting when he coached him in high school and including a stint as assistants to Jimmy Johnson with the Dallas Cowboys. He has said he knew Blake had worked briefly with Wichard after he was fired from Oklahoma in 1998, but pointed out Blake made stops as an assistant at Mississippi State and Nebraska before joining him in Chapel Hill in 2006.
UNC’s response to the Notice of Allegations will be followed up with a hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on October 28. Chancellor Holden Thorp and Dick Baddour are both expected to attend. “There is no one I’d rather have next to me in Indianapolis,” Thorp said at a news conference in August.
UNC faces possible NCAA sanctions including probation, the loss of athletic scholarships and the forfeiture of games.