North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has been suspended for two games after she made physical contact with an official during a game at Duke last Sunday, and after she recently broke an NCAA recruiting rule.
The university suspended Hatchell for one game for making contact with the official. Hatchell also received a one-game suspension from the NCAA for violating a rule “pertaining to activities that simulate game day introductions” of recruits during visits, according to a statement UNC released.
Hatchell will serve the university-issued suspension when her team plays at N.C. State on Sunday. She’ll serve the NCAA-mandated suspension when UNC plays at Boston College on Feb. 7. She’ll be able to coach her team between those games when it plays Louisville on Feb. 4.
Andrew Calder, Hatchell’s top assistant, will coach the Tar Heels during the two games in which Hatchell will serve her suspensions. In a statement UNC released on Friday she expressed regret for her actions at Duke and for the recruiting violation, which she described as unintentional.
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“I place a high value on sportsmanship for myself, my team and the University,” Hatchell said. “My actions at Duke were out of character and do not reflect the deep respect for our sport and its officials. And we unintentionally broke a rule during a recruiting visit, a mistake we will not make again.”
With about six minutes remaining in UNC’s 71-55 loss at Duke on Sunday, Hatchell stormed onto the court after she was upset with a no-call. She made contact with an official, who called a technical foul on Hatchell. After the game she described the moment as “worth it,” according to The Daily Tar Heel, the UNC student newspaper.
Hatchell’s team, which is short-handed after three players transferred after last season, has lost five of its seven ACC games. She has placed an emphasis on recruiting, and a recruiting visit led to the rules violation that led to the suspension she received from the NCAA.
In that case the NCAA found that Hatchell and Tracey Williams-Johnson, an assistant coach, violated rules that prohibit “a game day simulation” for prospects. The violation occurred “in the manner in which prospects were introduced at a team function,” according to UNC.
Williams-Johnson, the assistant coach, will also serve a one-game suspension and won’t coach in the game against Louisville.
“We have tremendous respect for coach Hatchell, but it’s important that we hold ourselves accountable for issues involving sportsmanship and compliance, even when mistakes are made inadvertently,” Bubba Cunningham, the UNC athletic director, said in a statement.