NCAA begins probe of UNC

AD Dick Baddour confirms that NCAA representatives were on campus to question athletes.

Staff WriterJuly 16, 2010 

The NCAA is investigating two University of North Carolina football players in connection with possible improper involvement with sports agents, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

UNC athletic director Dick Baddour confirmed Thursday that the NCAA "had been to Chapel Hill to speak with some of our student-athletes" but declined to provide further details.

"We told [the NCAA] we will give them our total cooperation and maintain the confidence of their visit and review," Baddour said.

Baddour said he had spoken at length with NCAA representatives about the issue.

"I'm going to do exactly what they ask me to do," Baddour said. "We work hard in doing things the right way."

Asked Thursday night whether the investigation involved the football team or players' involvement with agents, Baddour said he would have no further comment.

NCAA representatives met with the players on Monday and Tuesday, according to a source.

The NCAA allows players to have contact with sports agents after their junior season, and UNC even hosts an on-campus event for agents, but the players cannot accept gifts, money or other improper benefits.

Players also are prohibited from making any type of commitment, informal or otherwise, to sign with an agent.

The NCAA dealt with two high-profile cases last year, one each in football and men's basketball, concerning an inappropriate relationship with an agent, or potential representative.

Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant was suspended for 10 games in the 2009 college football season after he admitted he lied to NCAA officials about the details of his relationship with former NFL player Deion Sanders.

Kentucky guard John Wall was suspended for two college basketball games by the NCAA for an improper relationship with an agent when he was a high school player in Raleigh.

The NCAA made waves in the college football world earlier this month with its punishment of the University of Southern California's football team. The NCAA banned the Trojans, winners of two national titles in the past decade, from the postseason in 2010 and 2011 and docked the program 30 scholarships over the next three years after it learned former star Reggie Bush received improper benefits while he was a student-athlete in 2004 and 2005.

UNC has built a reputation as one of the top athletic departments, both on and off the field, under Baddour, who has been the AD since 1997.

"We try to do things in a first-class way," Baddour said. "In this case, we have to withhold some information. That's not typically how we would do things; we always want to be transparent."

Baddour declined to comment on the scope or severity of the NCAA's interest in UNC's athletic department.

"I would encourage people not to jump to any conclusions," Baddour said. "We need to see what their interests are and how we can respond and cooperate."

Former Miami athletic director Paul Dee is the chairman of the NCAA's infractions committee. Dee hired Butch Davis as head football coach at Miami in 1995, and the two worked together for six years before Davis left for the NFL in 2001. Davis is beginning his fourth season at UNC this fall. or 919-829-8938

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