Court of Appeals ends case by former football player against UNC
Posted January 15, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that Michael McAdoo had no standing to sue the University of North Carolina and the NCAA over his dismissal in 2010 from the Tar Heel football team.
McAdoo's lawyers argued that, by ruling him ineligible to play, the university and NCAA had caused his drop in the NFL draft and cost him money.
McAdoo originally filed suit against the university in July 2011 after he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2010 season. A judge dismissed his suit, noting that by signing an NFL contract with the Baltimore Ravens, McAdoo attained his goal of a professional career and made his college career moot.
McAdoo’s lawyer, Noah Huffstetler, filed to re-instate the suit in September, offering additional evidence, some from UNC's internal investigation of the football program.
Huffstetler argued that North Carolina officials skipped an important step in due process when they reported to the NCAA that McAdoo had committed academic fraud. Based on that argument, McAdoo’s lawyer said his client should not have been ruled ineligible for the 2011 season, a season Huffstetler contended would have been important for his professional prospects.
The university argued throughout the case that McAdoo's professional status – he signed a rookie contract with the Baltimore Ravens before the 2011 season and remains on the team roster, although on injured reserve – negates any claim that his prospects were limited.
McAdoo was one of seven players forced to sit out the 2010 season while the NCAA investigated the Tar Heel football program. The NCAA ruled McAdoo ineligible for receiving improper assistance from tutor Jennifer Wiley on multiple assignments across several academic terms.
The university began an internal investigation of the AFAM department after McAdoo's lawyers included an assignment in court filings. The paper, written for class taught by then-department head Julius Nyang’oro, was revealed to be largely reproduced from other sources.