NCAA returns to UNC

Academics under scrutiny

Staff WriterOctober 1, 2010 

— The NCAA was back on North Carolina's campus Wednesday and Thursday, this time to take part in the school's investigation into possible academic misconduct in the athletics program.

Athletic director Dick Baddour said Thursday that the investigator isn't looking into the individual cases of football players who allegedly got inappropriate help from a tutor who once worked for both the school and head coach Butch Davis.

Instead, "they're interested in looking at how we got here," Baddour said. "You've got the issues with the individuals, but you've also got - are there any institutional issues?"

Having the investigator join in on interviews isn't a surprise.

When UNC uncovered the possible academic misconduct in August as part of the NCAA's probe into improper agent benefits on the football team, Baddour said, the NCAA agreed that the school could investigate the academic issues, as long as it shared its findings with the NCAA along the way. Baddour called it a joint investigation.

"What we're doing now is we are expanding the investigation, as well as starting the process of evaluating the structure, and how we might get better," Baddour said. "So the NCAA person is really not involved in the guys that we have already got in the pipeline. We have talked with the NCAA about them at various levels, so their courses are charted."

It is unclear how many of the nine remaining football players who have been ruled ineligible, or withheld from competition, are in limbo because of academic issues. Baddour said earlier this week that 98 percent of his department investigation into possible academic misconduct on the football team is complete and several cases are awaiting the ruling of the school's Honor Court (although the athletic department will be looking into other university teams, as well).

Asked if the NCAA could still level penalties based on what it finds during these academic interviews, Baddour said: "That's always been a possibility."

But he's also hoping the NCAA can give input on how the school can fix things.

He used the current tutor instructional manual as an example: "Were there things we could have done better? Are there any inconsistencies? Are there things the institution could have done to have made it more clear? And if there are, what are the institutional responsibilities from an NCAA standpoint? And so what does that tell you about the future?"

The NCAA has been on campus at least two other times since late June - on those occasions to interview players and staff members about agent issues.

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