UNC encouraging everybody to talk
Posted July 10
Updated July 24
Chapel Hill, N.C. — 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.