Tudor

Tudor: Are there precedents for UNC?

Staff WriterJune 24, 2011 

In a couple of areas - those involving the allegations of academic fraud and of receiving illegal benefits from outside parties - there are parallels between the NCAA investigation of North Carolina's football program and the governing body's past probes.

In those cases, the NCAA often took away scholarships, erased on-field victories and occasionally issued bowl bans.

Several Carolina players are accused of receiving impermissible academic help from a tutor. If found guilty on that front, Carolina could be facing a similar punishment to ACC cohort Florida State in 2006.

In that case, the NCAA ruled that FSU support staffers provided illegal academic assistance to several athletes. The school lost six scholarships over three years and had to vacate the wins in which the players participated. It wound costing Bobby Bowden 12 wins.

In 2005, South Carolina was found to have provided non-sanctioned tutoring assistance for two players. The Gamecocks lost four grants and had to curb recruiting visits for two years.

California, in 2002, was found guilty of giving two players academic credits for courses they didn't take. The Bears were ruled ineligible for one bowl, had to vacate wins and eventually lost nine scholarships.

On the charges of players receiving illegal benefits, cash and gifts from agents and former players, Carolina could be in a similar situation to that of Mississippi State in 2004.

The NCAA ruled that the two Bulldogs coaches and several boosters gave players cash, gifts and various benefits. The punishment was the loss of eight scholarships and limits on recruiting visits.

Ultimately, the NCAA says each case is unique and warns that hard and fast precedents don't exist. That being the case, it's difficult to imagine that anyone can say with certainty what lies ahead for UNC.

One thing is certain, however. The NCAA is on new ground, thanks to former associate head coach John Blake, alleged to have operated as a "runner" for NFL agent Gary Wichard, who died in March. How the NCAA deals with Blake's role in the probe will become case law for head coaches and assistants for decades to come.

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8946

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