RALEIGH — UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said Wednesday that the NCAA's Committee on Infractions is scheduled to meet this week, but he doesn't know when it will announce its penalties stemming from the NCAA's investigation of the Tar Heels' football program.
"When we met with them on Oct. 28, they said it would be about eight to 12 weeks," Cunningham told members of the Raleigh Sports Club during a lunchtime speaking engagement. "So I just don't know when. We've been saying 'anytime' for two months.
"But it sure would be nice to get it behind us and get some finality to it. It just takes much longer than you want it to at times. Why it's taking so long, though, I'm not really sure."
Cunningham said later that when the NCAA is ready to make a public announcement, the involved school usually gets one day's notice.
"But again, I just don't know when or how it's going to play out. I hope something will be known in the next two weeks, but I'm not basing that on anything more than everyone else knows."
The NCAA probe, which began in July of 2010, led to a Notice of Allegations detailing nine major violations within the North Carolina football program involving impermissible benefits and academic fraud.
In September of 2011, the school announced it would vacate all 16 football wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, withhold nine scholarships during a three-season period beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, self impose two years of probation and pay a $50,000 fine.
Cunningham, formerly of Tulsa, was hired to replace Dick Baddour in October but did not assume control of the UNC athletics department until Nov. 14. Cunningham hired Larry Fedora to coach the program after former head coach Butch Davis was fired in late July.
The 2011 team finished 7-6 under interim coach Everett Withers, who has since joined the staff of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.
On other topics, Cunningham said he believes new ACC members Pittsburgh and Syracuse "probably" will begin league play during the 2012-13 school year.
"The Big East is making plans to bring in new members for '13, too," Cunningham said. "My guess is Pitt and Syracuse will negotiate with the Big East, and it'll probably happen in '13."
A Notre Dame alum and a former employee of the school, Cunningham said the timing seems right for the Irish to join a football conference.
"But there are a lot of issues involved in that, so it's almost impossible to predict," he said. "But the situation in terms of televising all of the games has changed a lot over the last few years. Almost all of any team's games are televised, one way or another."
Although the Bowl Championship Series will undergo several changes when the current TV contract expires after the 2013 season, Cunningham said he doesn't foresee a full-blown playoff format being adopted.
"I think there might be another game added, but I don't sense that a big playoff system is on the way."