North Carolina

UNC encouraging everybody to talk

Posted July 10, 2014
Updated July 24, 2014

— On June 21, 2010, the University of North Carolina was contacted by the NCAA about potential impermissible benefits given to football players regarding trips to Miami, Washington DC, and California. Over the last four years, the initial inquiry has opened up the flood gates on issues that ventured into academics, agent dealings and associations with convicted felons.

Just two weeks ago, on June 30, the NCAA reopened the investigation that had already claimed the eligibility of multiple student-athletes. According to UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham, “The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff."

UNC also hopes all of them will speak – Julius Nyang’Oro, Mary Willingham and Rashad McCants included.

According to Inside Carolina’s Greg Barnes, the university is serious about getting everybody involved in any area of the troubles to speak with Kenneth Wainstein, an outside attorney hired to conduct an independent investigation.

“I think the big key is that Julius Nyang’Oro (former head of the troubled African and Afro-American Studies department), as well as Deborah Crowder (retired administrative assistant in the AFAM department) , have decided to cooperate with Wainstein,” Barnes said while joining Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas Thursday on The World’s Strongest Morning Show.

Nyang’Oro had his criminal fraud charges dropped last week by Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall for cooperating with both the SBI criminal investigation and the independent university investigation and providing “invaluable information.”

The return of the NCAA to Chapel Hill comes as little surprise, but the timing does, according to Barnes.

“People that I have spoken to at the university, they assumed that once that news came out that those individuals would be willing to talk, the NCAA would come back,” Barnes said. “Everybody I talked to thought they would come back when the report was done, but the NCAA has a way of surprising everybody.

“I do think that it’s a little presumptuous of the NCAA to think they can just come in and automatically be able to interview Nyang’Oro and Crowder.

Barnes added that Rashad McCants, a former Tar Heels basketball player that has brought similar academic fraud allegations to the media, can help himself by also speaking to the university.

“It’s a situation, that ever since he came out and made his accusations, a lot of the people around the university were upset – especially some of his teammates,” Barnes said. “Unless he decides to speak with the NCAA, or UNC, or Ken Wainstein, I don’t think anybody will concern themselves too much with it. He needs to talk to those people to relay his information. His going to the media, and blabbing and running his mouth, and making accusations without anything to back it up, that serves no purpose other than to fuel web hits. He’s got to talk to the people that can look into it, and then people will start to take him more seriously.”

In a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, former UNC football player Devon Ramsay detailed the experience that saw him lose then regain eligibility under suspicion of academic fraud. He told the committee, "The NCAA as an institution no longer protects the student athlete."

Barnes said that he expects Wainstein’s findings to be delivered by early fall, adding that the NCAA could potentially make their decision by the end of the year.

An exclusive conversation between the athletic directors from UNC, Duke, NC State and NC Central about issues of athletics and academics will take place July 17 with the Fan Town Hall presented by 99.9 The Fan.

60 Comments

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  • Erik Sheahan Jul 13, 2014
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    Get your thoughts together and make your assertion and at the same give a reference to validify your statement. It seems like you are throwing out garbage to see where it lands.

  • Erik Sheahan Jul 13, 2014
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    To whom or what are you referring?

  • landonsgrampa Jul 11, 2014

    This just means that UNC believes, that it has gotten the cover story, to anyone they believe might be asked questions.

  • TTSCP Jul 11, 2014

    No they are not...that's a lie.

  • Erik Sheahan Jul 11, 2014
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    I agree that power needs to be given to the NCAA to deal harshly with the types of issues we are seeing going on at UNC; however, we have seen evidence that the NCAA doesn't use the same yardstick to measure infractions from one university to the next. When drivers get a ticket for speeding or some other infraction, they are issued points against their driver's license....there is a standard by which those infractions are measured. Why then, can't the NCAA increase its size and "arm of the law" to a. issue penalties on an even basis regardless of college or university, and b. do it in an expeditious manner. At this point, I am tired of the way the issues at UNC are being dragged from one year to the next and handed from one Chancellor to the next. The new student-athletes are practicing and wondering if the games they play will have any meaning. Get it done and over with.

  • Dan Basset Jul 11, 2014
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    Yeah, unfortunately that's about as close as you're going to get to actual subpoena power, but along with it comes some due process concerns that could dissuade member schools from participating. It's a very tough situation, and yes, the Lance Thomas thing is a great example.

  • heelsforever Jul 11, 2014

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    That my friend will only happen when the member schools give the NCAA the power to punish very harshly those institutions who do not force their coaches, athletes, and other athletic staff (current and former) to answer the NCAA's questions. Can the schools actually wield that power? I don't know, but the Duke Lance Thomas loophole is evidence of the problem.

  • heelsforever Jul 11, 2014

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    "I would think that UNC fans would be yelling louder than anyone for the school to clear the air and its name, but what we're seeing is the exact opposite."

    Let me walk you through this. The above is taken from your comment. Let me re-write it for the 80's, "I would think that NCSU fans would be yelling louder than anyone for the school to do something about the very poor graduation rates on Valvalo's teams, but what we're seeing is the exact opposite."

    Oh I know, that was then and this is now and NC State fans get to determine when the past no longer matters. See : State fans determine how far back football rivalries matter.

  • Dan Basset Jul 11, 2014
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    I can appreciate that and it's in the same ballpark I'm in. I think what it comes down to for me is that I want all programs held to the same standard. Unfortunately, the NCAA is TERRIBLE at the whole consistency thing these days, vis a vis USC, Penn State, etc. As much as I would hate to saddle the government with more responsibility than it already has, it would help a whole lot if the NCAA had any kind of subpoena power.

  • Erik Sheahan Jul 11, 2014
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    I'm not defending the debacle that some of the UNC staff and student-athletes created; not by any means. I believe in and uphold people displaying moral ethics and obeying the rules and laws that were developed and designed for all peoples to follow. Unfortunately, athletes like Marvin Austin and McCants, to name a few, chose to bend the rules, see how much (or how little) they could get away with. I hold no truck to that type of behavior, nor do I appreciate it when a professor, football coach, and more stoop to the levels that have been demonstrated. However, the actions of a few do not reflect what the rest of the respectable UNC (or any other university for that matter) staff and students consider to be behavior above reproach. Just like you and everyone else, I have to wait for the investigations and live with the outcomes. There's nothing I or anyone else who posts on here can do to remedy this situation; and that is unfortunate.

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