Now, there’s a shock. Didn’t we cover all of this last year. Wait, now it’s “official?”
The notice, released Tuesday evening, accuses former associate head coach John Blake of providing “false and misleading information” to both NCAA investigators and the school regarding his relationship with late NFL agent Gary Wichard. That included a failure to report $31,500 in outside income from Wichard’s firm, Pro Tect Management LLC, from May 2007 to October 2009.
Shocking. Really, who knew?
The notice also states seven players received more than $27,000 in improper benefits in 2009 and 2010. In addition, the NCAA alleged unethical conduct by former tutor Jennifer Wiley for refusing to cooperate with the investigation and providing about $3,500 worth of extra benefits in travel, parking expenses and free tutoring to players.
Any new news? Any at all?
The school was also cited for failing to monitor “social media activity” of the team in 2010 as well as the conduct of former player Chris Hawkins. Hawkins was previously connected to trips to Atlanta and Las Vegas made by cornerback Kendric Burney, and also paid $1,000 for the jersey of Georgia’s A.J. Green—a transaction that resulted in Green’s four-game suspension because the NCAA said Hawkins qualified as an agent. Hawkins had hung around the program and players in recent years, but has since been told to stay away.
The school has 90 days to respond to the notice and is scheduled to appear before the NCAA infractions committee in Indianapolis on Oct. 28.
“I deeply regret that Carolina is in this position,” chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement. “We made mistakes, and we have to face that. … We will emerge with a stronger athletics program, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football.”
Fourteen players missed at least one game last season due to the investigation. Seven were ruled out for the entire year, while an eighth was cleared at midseason but decided to redshirt.
While players’ names were redacted in the notice, the NCAA said one of the players received more than $13,507.47 in benefits—with more than $5,000 tied to Wichard—another received $5,642.92 and a third received $5,040.20.
Those amounts are consistent with the figures provided by the school in October when it dismissed Austin and announced that the NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn and receiver Greg Little “permanently ineligible.”
All three were chosen in the first two rounds of the recent NFL draft.