UNC Closer To Resolution With NCAA Hearing Friday

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- When North Carolina officials appear before an NCAA infractions committee Friday, the school will move closer to resolving the uncertainty hovering over its football program for more than a year.

The school has already imposed penalties following the NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct, which ultimately led to the firing of head coach Butch Davis as well as the looming early exit of Dick Baddour as athletic director. The hearing in Indianapolis will determine whether UNC's self-imposed penalties -- including vacated wins and scholarship reductions -- will be enough for a sports program that had only one major violation in January 1961 in its history until now.

"We feel that what we've imposed is responsible," Baddour said. "I feel what we have in place in a corrective way is absolutely in that same category. And yet, we've never been there. We have the unknown.

"We don't know what they will focus on or what they will ask us about. Yeah, I'm nervous about it. I'd be dishonest to say otherwise."

The scandal that has hovered over the school for 15 months included a former assistant coach receiving personal loans from an NFL agent, players receiving jewelry and other gifts from people outside the program, and a tutor providing improper help to players on term papers. In all, 14 players missed at least one game and seven were forced to entire season -- with four of those declared permanently ineligible or dismissed from the team.

The school announced last month that it would vacate all 16 wins from 2008 and 2009, reduce nine scholarships over three years, put its football program on probation for two years, and pay a $50,000 fine.

Baddour will represent the school along with chancellor Holden Thorp, associate athletic director for compliance Amy Herman, faculty athletic representative Lissa Broome and university counsel Leslie Strohm.

Former associate head coach John Blake, whose relationship with late NFL agent Gary Wichard became a key part of the probe, will attend with his attorneys. Davis, who wasn't named in any violation, isn't expected to attend. Neither is former tutor Jennifer Wiley, who was accused of providing improper academic and financial assistance to players.

The NCAA sent a notice of allegations to the school in June outlining nine violations, including unethical conduct by Blake as well as failure to adequately monitor the conduct of former and current players -- some of whom received extra benefits during out-of-town personal trips that coaches and compliance staffers weren't aware of.

Blake's attorneys have denied allegations that Blake worked to steer players to Wichard, a longtime friend who also transferred more than $31,000 to Blake from 2007-09 in transactions they have described as loans during tough financial times. The NCAA has also accused Blake of lying to investigators when he denied working for Wichard after being fired as Oklahoma's head coach in 1998.

"We are going with Coach Blake and looking forward to the hearings, and we feel good about Coach Blake and our chances before the NCAA," said Wade Smith, one of Blake's attorneys. He declined to talk specifically about what they would say to the NCAA committee.

Wiley refused to be interviewed by investigators and has since graduated. Her attorney, Joseph B. Cheshire, declined to comment on the case this week.

Interim coach Everett Withers won't attend after the school and NCAA determined he didn't need to be there. His players didn't sound focused on the hearing heading into Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

"It's out of my control," quarterback Bryn Renner said. "I think the whole team thinks that."

The hearing will represent Baddour's last major task after 14 years as athletic director. He was in the last year of his contract when Thorp fired Davis a week before training camp, and decided to step down because his status could hinder hiring a new coach as opposed to letting a new AD make the hire.

The school has hired Tulsa's Bubba Cunningham as Baddour's successor. Cunningham won't attend the hearing and will start work Nov. 14.

The committee is expected to make a ruling within eight to 12 weeks.

"Do I feel good about our prep? Do I feel good about our report? Absolutely I do," Baddour said. "I feel like we've been preparing for this for a long time. ... In some ways, I look forward to the opportunity to present our case and to move on. This is an opportunity now to really move on and get this part of it behind us."

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  • by JC on Oct 28, 2011 at 07:13 AM
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 07:06 AM
    Its all good. The cancer has been removed and UNC can handle whatever the punishment is and life goes on. Go Heels!
  • by Ken Location: rocky mount on Oct 27, 2011 at 02:42 PM
    bring back butch.
    • reply
      by ll on Oct 27, 2011 at 04:58 PM in reply to Ken
      Spoken like a true Wal-Heel.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 09:57 AM in reply to ll
        Rather be a Wal-Heel than a Wilco-Hess Pirate...
        • reply
          by Bill on Oct 29, 2011 at 06:18 AM in reply to
          hahahaha good one anonymous!!!!! but is a walheel???? doesnt make any sense but if its coming out of a pirate fans mouth then im not surprised!!!!
  • by Dave Location: Greenville on Oct 27, 2011 at 01:50 PM
    It's Christmas Eve......Hope NCAA drops the hammer on the holes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • reply
      by heels fan on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:13 AM in reply to Dave
      Its funny, i bet if they investigated ECU they would find alot Of BS there as well!! but you wouldnt get any penalty bc u suck without players missing!!!
      • reply
        by Dave on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:51 AM in reply to heels fan
        Stop wishing, you guys cheated and got caught. Cheated and still couldn't win their division much less the ACC title, lol, that is pitaful. HOlES Suck!
      • reply
        by Joe on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:55 AM in reply to heels fan
        Guys, Dave is right on most of his posts. You guys love to argue with him but not making much of a point. UNC played with the devil, now got to pay the fiddler.
      • reply
        by Bud on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:47 PM in reply to heels fan
        Hah I do get a good chuckle out of UNC fans. ECU (non-BCS) might lose to UNC (best recruits in state, BCS team) but that's just one game. Bigger picture, in the past 30 years UNC has won....nothing. No ACC championships, no BCS bowls, no nothing. That's a looooong time, maybe UNC should consider a drop to D-II just to compete. What is the ACC without FSU, Clemson and VT? Just another C-USA! Oh I forgot, I'm supposed to be jealous of something right? Jealous of 30 years of irrelevancy, uhh no thanks!
        • reply
          by David on Nov 1, 2011 at 05:03 PM in reply to Bud
          Stupid post,true we have not won big in football but look at the overall athletics. We are in the top three every year in over all sports and still graduate 88%
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 07:43 AM in reply to Dave
      Still obsessed with the Tar Heels I see. I am sorry you couldnt get in UNC but you really need to get over it. Jealousy will eat you up if you let it. See a doctor because there are ways to treat your obsession, good luck to you, LOL
      • reply
        by Jimbo on Oct 28, 2011 at 08:44 AM in reply to
        You must not read any other articles. Dave is obsessed with every body and is best ignored.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 09:58 AM in reply to Jimbo
          He needs a job
      • reply
        by Dave on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM in reply to
        I am hoping for the day when I pull up the news I can read sports section without having to see where the holes have commited more infractions. Everyday is the news, and this in Pirates territory. I'm not pulling up Chapel Hole news. Christmas in October, Heels SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM in reply to Dave
          there are no new infractions, as usual you are spewing lies because of your jealousy and obsession with UNC because they wouldnt let you in, LOL
        • reply
          by Bud on Oct 28, 2011 at 01:58 PM in reply to Dave
          Hey Anonymous, please point to the amazing accomplishments of the UNC football program that everyone should be soooooo jealous of. Wait, is that crickets I hear? There's nothing to be proud of at UNC?! How can this be??? You make them sound so awesome. Ohhh maybe that's why UNC only gave up two season's worth of games, cause they had no Heismans to rescind and no championships of any kind to forfeit for their cheating ways. Oh but don't worry we're all soooo jealous of...of nothing...yeah we're jealous, gaw I'm so envious!
        • reply
          by David on Nov 2, 2011 at 03:10 AM in reply to Dave
          Hey Bud, most players drafted into the NFL draft last year nuf said.

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