North Carolina

Lawyer: Former UNC player denied due process by university

Posted September 13, 2012

— In an effort to collect the difference between the NFL’s minimum salary and a lucrative first-round draftee’s contract, lawyers for former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football player Michael McAdoo argued on Thursday that his case was not handled properly by the university and the NCAA.

According to McAdoo's lawyer, Noah Huffstetler, North Carolina officials skipped an important step in due process when they reported academic fraud allegations to the NCAA before McAdoo had received any procedural guarantees under the university's honor court system. UNC Academics Investigation Archive: UNC investigation

In the end, McAdoo was found guilty of one of three separate allegations of the UNC Student Honor code, but he was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA. 

Huffstetler said Thursday that McAdoo hadn’t received any procedural protections guaranteed him by the honor code before the NCAA made its decision and also argued that the university’s honor code is a binding agreement between the school and students. McAdoo Lawyer Lawyer: UNC denied McAdoo due process

“When the student is admitted to the university and signs this instrument, we don’t think that is a one way agreement,” Huffstetler told a three judge panel at the state Court of Appeals Thursday.

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.

Citing an affidavit signed by a sports agent with 16 years of experience, Huffstetler said that McAdoo would have made more money had he participated for the Tar Heels in 2011.

Stephanie Brennan, a lawyer for the Attorney General's office who represented UNC, said Thursday that McAdoo's claims are irrelevant because of his admitted academic fraud and his status as a current NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens. 

Paul Sun, an attorney for the NCAA, said the voluntary body of member institutions isn't bound by the decisions of a member institution's honor court and reiterated McAdoo's admitted academic fraud. 

"It's undisputed that Mr. McAdoo knew what he was doing. He was turning in the tutor's work as his own," Sun said. "He turned in Jennifer Wiley's work and claimed it to be his own."

Huffstetler said McAdoo did not knowingly commit academic fraud and said he had every reason to believe Wiley knew university and NCAA rules and was following them. 

In a Sept. 7 filing, McAdoo's lawyers offered five documents from UNC's own investigation as evidence that McAdoo did not "knowingly or willfully obtain improper assistance." The lawyers say the court didn't have all the information necessary before it dismissed his case.

"By UNC's own admission, there are were serious irregularities in the way in which the course in question was conducted," McAdoo's lawyers wrote.

They use the university's internal investigations into the AFAM department and a report on irregularities in the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes to demonstrate that UNC had doubts about the integrity of the class in which McAdoo allegedly cheated.

The Court of Appeals did not make a decision Thursday about whether the case could go back to the trial court, but a ruling is expected within the next 90 days. 

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.


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  • Toddler10-21 Sep 15, 2012

    Dude just move on with your life. I guess the Ravens cut you? Did you ever think that just maybe you werent good enough? Stop making excuses!

  • heelsforever Sep 14, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Didn't you get the memo that UNC fans don't give the N&O clicks anymore?

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 14, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Yes, proving things get more difficult with stuff like this going on.

  • Objective Scientist Sep 14, 2012

    To add to my earlier post in responding to TBK...

    By observation is that our universities are building what amounts to "palaces" called something like "Athletic Academic Support Centers" that are monuments to intercollegiate sports in general but primarily to football and basketball. Concomitantly, large staffs - generally well paid - of "counselors" and tutors are hired. All that... MILLIONS being spent for what amounts to a very small portion of all athletes... and an incredibly small portion of all STUDENTS. Would it not make more "sense" to simply not admit those who need that amount of support to succeed in academics while they play their sport? It seems both athletic departments and their respective universities to which they are "attached" - but operate independently of - have decided to spend more and more money on the "few". I definitely do not think that to be necessary and in the end the "return" on that investment is not good. The NFL and NBA in particular need to come up with a "farm" or minor league system similar to MLB that will develop and "feed them" the superior athlete who often lacks both ability and motivation to succeed in a college classroom. Colleges/Universities need to stop admitting such individuals - PERIOD! I am of the opinion we would still have outstanding and competitive football and basketball.

  • Dido Sep 14, 2012

    The guy turns his tutor's work in as his own and he DIDN'T know that was wrong??? Sounds like he was too stupid for college in the first place. Now, he's playing for the NFL, making more money then he's probably ever seen, but thinks he would have made more $$$ if he stayed his Senior year? Three words: Boo-Freakin-Hoo. Shut up and go back to Baltimore.

  • 4tarheels Sep 14, 2012

    View quoted thread

    How high does it go and what can be proved? I have no doubt that student advisors in the athletic department steered players into AFAM for passing grades, but the NCAA and the courts won't care unless it can be PROVED that someone WAY UP the food chain was involved.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 14, 2012

    View quoted thread

    I didn't really mean the "He didn't cheat" part. That whole post was based on what he is claiming. What he did was cheating, but it was also what he was directed to do. In other words, it wasn't just HIM cheating.

  • NCSU79 Sep 14, 2012

    Is that the Nuremberg/My Lai defense - I was only following my tutor's orders?

  • WolfpackInDaHouseV.13 Sep 14, 2012

    View quoted thread

    I can almost see this one crying while posting.

    Poor thing!

  • heelsforever Sep 13, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Thank God they didn't tell him to murder someone!




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