UNC-Chapel Hill’s appearance Wednesday before the NCAA Committee on Infractions carried high drama and high stakes for the university’s athletics programs.
A group of coaches, administrators, former employees and lawyers traveled to Nashville for the proceedings. The NCAA requested the attendance of coaches for UNC marquee sports – men’s basketball Coach Roy Williams, women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and head football coach Larry Fedora. The coaches brought their own attorneys to Nashville, even though no coach has been charged with wrongdoing by the NCAA.
Here’s a list of others expected at the hearing:
▪ Lissa Broome, UNC faculty athletics representative and a professor of law. Since 2010, Broome has been UNC’s faculty representative to the NCAA and a voting delegate from UNC to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
▪ Bubba Cunningham, UNC athletics director. Cunningham, who oversees the athletics department, has been dealing with the athletic and academic scandal since he was hired in 2011.
▪ Carol Folt, UNC chancellor. Folt came to UNC in 2013 from Dartmouth College, where she had been acting president. Folt and former UNC President Tom Ross hired Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor, to investigate suspect African and Afro-American studies classes. Wainstein’s 2014 report concluded that for 18 years, UNC had a “shadow curriculum” of classes that required little work and enrolled more than 3,100 students, including a disproportionate share of athletes.
▪ Vince Ille, UNC senior associate athletic director.
▪ Steve Keady, UNC associate general counsel.
▪ Mark Merritt, UNC vice chancellor and general counsel. Merritt, a UNC graduate and Morehead Scholar, was hired last year as UNC’s top lawyer.
▪ Marielle VanGelder, UNC associate athletic director for compliance.
▪ Felicia Washington, UNC vice chancellor for workforce strategy and engagement. Washington is a lawyer, UNC alumna and former member of the Board of Trustees. She was hired for the administration job in 2014.
▪ Jan Boxill, former UNC philosophy professor and academic counselor to women’s basketball players. Boxill has denied NCAA allegations that she provided impermissible benefits and special arrangements to the athletes.
▪ Randall Roden, Boxill’s attorney. Roden is a UNC graduate and lives in Chapel Hill. He practices with the Raleigh firm of Tharrington Smith.
▪ Deborah Crowder, the longtime former administrative assistant in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. Crowder was a central figure in scheduling and grading papers for the suspect classes. According to the Wainstein report, students referred to her as “Professor Debby,” though she was never a faculty member and did not have an advanced degree. She was employed by the university for 30 years until she retired in 2009. She is charged with unethical conduct but in an April interview with the NCAA, she denied wrongdoing.
▪ Elliot Abrams, attorney for Deborah Crowder. Abrams, a UNC alumnus, is with the Raleigh firm Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan.
▪ Wade Smith, attorney for Sylvia Hatchell. Smith, a UNC alumnus, is one of the most well known defense lawyers in the state. His Raleigh firm is Tharrington Smith.
▪ Jim Cooney, attorney for Roy Williams. Cooney is a well-known defense attorney in Charlotte, with the firm Womble Carlyle.
Apparently not there:
▪ Julius Nyang’oro, former faculty member and department chairman in African Studies. Nyang’oro and Crowder were the architects of the “paper classes” that didn’t meet, required little work and resulted in high grades. Nyang’oro relied on Crowder to manage the classes. He has been charged with unethical conduct but has declined to speak with the NCAA.