Two years ago the North Carolina women’s basketball program welcomed one of its best recruiting classes – if not the best – in school history.
Now, amid questions of how an NCAA investigation into a long-running scheme of bogus African Studies classes might affect the program, every member of that recruiting class will soon be gone.
UNC announced on Friday that it had granted Stephanie Mavunga, an All-ACC forward who was the last remaining member of that four-player class, her release to transfer. She said in a statement that she hasn’t decided where she’ll transfer but that she’ll explore her options.
Mavunga’s decision to leave the program comes the same week that Allisha Gray, an all-conference guard, was granted her release to transfer. Jessica Washington, a reserve guard, announced her intent to transfer last month.
The most heralded member of that class, Diamond DeShields, left the program after her freshman season. She transferred to Tennessee, while Gray has decided to play at South Carolina.
The departures come at a tumultuous time for the UNC women’s basketball program, which could face significant NCAA sanctions resulting from the paper class scheme. The NCAA enforcement staff alleged that Jan Boxill knowingly provided women’s basketball players with impermissible academic assistance and extra benefits during her tenure as the team’s academic counselor.
Boxill, who was also a philosophy instructor and the director of the Parr Center for Ethics, is the only individual who worked directly with a team to be charged with a violation in the Notice of Allegations the NCAA recently presented to UNC. Because of that, the women’s basketball program likely has a greater chance to endure more significant sanctions than other sports.
“There has been a lot of speculation surrounding our program in recent weeks and that’s all that it is – speculation,” coach Sylvia Hatchell said in a statement. “Our players are working every day to get better and I appreciate their efforts. A number of former players have reached out to me with their support. We have a strong and loyal Tar Heel family.”