NOA: But What Does It All Mean?
Now that the contents of the Notice of Allegations against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are known…
(Sidenote: why do some folks use the acronym UNC-CH is an insult? That’s the initials of the school. Whenever somebody asks me where I went to college, I say “Chapel Hill” or “UNC-Chapel Hill.” Seems like a misguided attempt at some sort of cutting down to size insult.)
…Goodness I am easily distracted. What did we learn from the newly released NOA? Well, not much as usual when it comes to such documents. Thanks in large part to the Wainstein Report, nearly everything detailed in the document was already known. The only question was how the NCAA would take that information and form it into charges against North Carolina.
The NCAA levied five charges against North Carolina. The most serious charge, #AsExpected, is the dreaded Lack of Institutional Control. This stems for the schools failure to monitor the activity of some of our favorite characters in this saga, namely Jan Boxill and the African-American Studies department, over the past 18 years. The charge is not directed at one specific sport and is as big of an indictment on the academic side of the school as it is the athletic department. While a very serious charge, this was the bare minimum to be expected in the NOA.
The NCAA also alleges that 10 athletes from 2006-11 received impermissible benefits by exceeding the course limits for independent studies. This is the most concerning charge if you’re a supporter of Tar Heel athletics. We do not know who the 10 athletes are, as the school rightfully spent the past few weeks scrubbing their names from the NOA in adherence to, you know, federal laws.
Impermissible benefits can potentially lead to ineligible players participating in games and eventually to the wet dream of many a Wolfpack fan. This was the most surprising portion of the NOA, and likely the item that will garner the most attention and scrutiny as we await the school’s response and eventual ruling by the Committee on Infractions.
The remaining three charges all relate to Boxill, Julius Nyang’oro and Deb Crowder violating “ethical conduct” by not cooperating with the investigation and speaking with the NCAA. Aside from Boxill’s ties to the women’s basketball program, these are the least concerning charges and the most hilarious. First off, where does the NCAA get off charging anybody with violating “ethical conduct?” There is incredible irony given the fact the NCAA makes billions of dollars off of unpaid student-athletes. The NCAA is in no place to dictate ethical conduct, but that’s merely semantics.
In a less literal sense, it’s funny that the NCAA is holding the school accountable for Boxill, Crowder and Nyang’oro not cooperating when all three were long ago fired by the school. Additionally, much of the information that constitutes the two other charges stems from the trio’s testimony in the Wainstein Report.
This is not a day of celebration or relief for the school. It is never a good thing when a NOA is the topic of discussion. However, apart from the mysterious 10 ineligible athletes, this is about as good as the school could expect. Men’s basketball and football were mentioned throughout the document, but many feared it could be along the lines of women’s basketball, which may never again see the light of day after the Committee on Infractions gets done with them.
Moving forward, North Carolina has 90 days to respond to these allegations. Bubba Cunningham said the school will likely take most of that allotted time and mentioned he agrees with some of the charges but not others. As for the penalty phase, that comes months after the school’s official response. Cunningham confirmed the school will be punished via more lenient measures of the old penalty structure. However, don’t bother guessing what those penalties might be. You’ll drive yourself crazy.
“We spoke to coaches earlier today,” Cunningham said. “We’re at halftime of the process.”
OMG LONGEST GAME EVER