Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Carolina Penalized for Violations

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Carolina Penalized for Violations

Article excerpt

North Carolina waited four months to learn whether the NCAA would be satisfied with self-imposed sanctions on the football program after an investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct.

When the news came, it wasn't what school officials had hoped.

The NCAA infractions committee hit the program with a one-year postseason ban, a reduction of 15 scholarships and three years of probation. In a ruling Monday, the committee said the school was responsible for multiple violations, including academic fraud and a failure to monitor its football program.

It also issued a three-year show-cause penalty for former assistant coach John Blake, who had received personal loans from an NFL agent.

School officials say they won't appeal, opting instead to move on.

"Obviously this has been a painful and difficult experience," UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said Monday. "We don't like to have this kind of attention brought to any part of the university, especially one as visible as the athletic program."

The ruling caps a nearly two-year case that ultimately led to the firing of coach Butch Davis as well as the early departure of longtime administrator Dick Baddour as athletic director. The scandal included players receiving jewelry and other gifts from people outside the program, as well as a tutor providing improper help to players on term papers.

Davis, now working as a special assistant with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has never been named for any violation.

In September, North Carolina announced it would vacate all 16 wins for 2008 and '09, reduce nine scholarships over the next three academic years and put the program on two years of probation.

The school also issued a self-imposed $50,000 fine but it didn't impose a postseason ban in what the school called "difficult but necessary steps."

The committee decided that wasn't enough even though chairman Britton Banowsky commended the university's investigation.

The postseason ban is for this fall and prevents the Tar Heels from playing in either the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game or a bowl game. …

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