ACC reprimands UNC for football violations

acarter@newsobserver.comApril 20, 2012 

— In a rare move, the ACC on Friday publicly reprimanded the University of North Carolina for the NCAA violations that occurred within the Tar Heels football program.

The reprimand came more than a month after the NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled on a case that involved impermissible benefits and academic fraud. The ACC’s reprimand came Friday, a league spokesperson said, because of the process the conference followed to determine whether to assess additional penalties.

“The ACC’s balance of academics, athletics and integrity will continue to be the cornerstones by which this league operates,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “As I have said previously, it is disturbing anytime one of our member institutions has NCAA infractions issues.

“Such issues are counter to the goals and aspirations of our conference.”

The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in March ruled that the UNC football team serve a one-year postseason ban, and that it eliminate five football scholarships per year in each of the next three academic years. The committee also increased UNC’s self-imposed probationary period from two years to three.

After the NCAA announced UNC’s sanctions, the ACC’s Infractions and Penalties Committee met to determine whether UNC would face further discipline from the conference. The ACC’s Infractions and Penalties Committee then decided to issue the public reprimand.

“The Atlantic Coast Conference has been built on its ability to balance academics and athletics,” Richard Carmichael, the chair of the committee and the faculty athletics representative at Wake Forest, said in a statement. “The committee believes that the University of North Carolina has and will continue to strive toward this balance; however, the committee agreed that a public reprimand was appropriate in this specific case in addition to the other penalties already in place.”

Carmichael is one of 12 members of the ACC’s Infractions and Penalties Committee. The committee, which the ACC formed in 1990, is comprised athletic directors and faculty athletic representatives from each of the league’s 12 schools.

An ACC spokesperson said this is the first time since 1990 that the conference’s infractions and penalties committee has taken additional action in an NCAA infractions case. That year, the committee ruled that Maryland repay lost television revenue while the Terrapins’ men’s basketball team was banned from playing in televised games.

Since 1990, the ACC Infractions and Penalties Committee has met to discuss 11 major NCAA infractions cases. The one involving Maryland in 1990 is the only one in which the committee imposed a tangible penalty, and the UNC case is the only one in which the committee recommended a public reprimand.

UNC responded to the reprimand in a statement that Steve Kirschner, an athletic department spokesperson, released on Friday afternoon. The university described as “regrettable” the actions that led to the reprimand.

“The unfortunate and regrettable experiences of the last few years have been difficult for the university community to endure,” UNC’s statement read. “But we believe UNC will be a better and stronger member of the [ACC] going forward.”

Carter: 829-8944

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