The University of North Carolina football program has been handed three years of probation, post-season probation for the 2012 season, reduction of 15 scholarships over the next three years, vacation of wins during the 2008 and 2009 season, and a $50,000 fine by the NCAA, for the participation of six ineligible student-athletes and improper benefits given them totaling over $31,000.
The NCAA’s findings include the fact that former UNC assistant coach John Blake was compensated by a sports agent for access granted to professional coaches and staff for certain Tar Heel players. Blake failed to report this income to the NCAA, which, along with the act itself, were both blatantly illegal.
Academic fraud charges were also levied against the North Carolina program. These charges included that a tutor wrote significant portions of papers for three Tar Heels football players and did significant research for other assignments which contributed to their content.
This same tutor also provided impermissible benefits which totaled greater than $4,000, including airplane tickets and payments for unpaid parking tickets after said tutor had already graduated from the university and was no longer employed by the North Carolina athletic department.
Multiple student-athletes were also implicated in the receipt of more than $27,500 in impermissible benefits from various individuals, some of whom triggered the NCAA’s agent rules. One player yet to be named, received $13,500 in benefits alone.
Due to North Carolina’s cooperation during the NCAA investigation, the NCAA’s penalty was relatively light given the original news and circumstances surrounding this investigation.
Schools like Ohio State, Miami, and USC have all bounced back with relative little pain after being faced with similar punishment.
Has the NCAA just slapped North Carolina on the wrist here, and was the punishment justified by the illegal action, or, should more have been done?
It’s a question we’ve all become far too familiar with.