UNC legal fees exceed $467K during NCAA investigation
Posted July 13, 2012
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Legal fees for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the course of an NCAA investigation into the football program totaled nearly half a million dollars, according to the school Friday.
From the start of the NCAA investigation in June 2010 to the hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis in Oct. 2011, UNC paid $467,406.49 in outside counsel to two law firms. According to the university, no state-appropriated funds were used. All fees were paid from the UNC-CH Foundation Inc. and the department of athletics.
UNC first hired Rick Evrard of Bond, Schoeneck & King in Overland Park, Kan. In Jan. 2011, the school added William King III from Lightfoot, Franklin and White based in Birmingham, Ala.
According to heavily redacted documents released Wednesday, Bond, Schoeneck & King collected over $66,000 in the first three months of the investigation for services, travel, hotel and other charges. They provided over 260 hours of work charging an average of $255 per hour.
“It’s very common for universities involved in NCAA investigations to hire outside legal counsel,” UNC spokesperson Karen Moon said in an email. “They generally have direct experience in advising universities that are facing such investigations.
King has extensive experience working for other universities, including Auburn and South Carolina, in cases against the NCAA. In the Cam Newton case at Auburn, four months’ worth of legal fees amounted to $170,000. Earlier this year, in an improper benefits case at South Carolina, the school paid over $535,000 in legal fees.
Bond, Schoeneck & King has also aided in previous NCAA cases, including the University of Connecticut where 12 months of aid brought a price tag of over $660,000.
Evrard worked on the NCAA staff as an enforcement representative and as director of legislative services for seven years before joining Bond, Schoeneck & King where he focuses primarily on collegiate sports and compliance cases.
The result of the NCAA investigation into football players receiving impermissible benefits, dealing with agents and academic fraud resulted in the program losing scholarships, vacating wins and being ruled ineligible for postseason play in 2012. In all, 14 players from the football team missed at least one game in 2010.
UNC had had to further use counsel in dealing with a lawsuit brought on by one of the players involved in the scandal, Michael McAdoo. McAdoo is seeking damages, contending that he was improperly ruled ineligible for his senior season which hurt his eventual NFL draft status. His initial suit was dismissed but he has since appealed.