The University of North Carolina will be banned from the 2012 college football postseason and lose 15 scholarships over a three-year period for committing rules violations including academic fraud, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced.
The nation’s college sports governing body, which said former assistant coach John Blake was compensated by a former sports agent for access to athletes, also reported yesterday that North Carolina had impermissible contact with a sports agent and failed to monitor its football program.
The academic-fraud claim stems from a former tutor writing significant parts of class assignments for three football players, the NCAA said. The tutor also provided more than $4,000 in impermissible benefits, including airfare and paying for parking fines for 11 football players after she graduated and was no longer a university employee.
“This case should serve as a cautionary tale to all institutions to vigilantly monitor the activities of those student-athletes who possess the potential to be top professional prospects,” the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions said in its report. “It should also serve to warn student-athletes that if they choose to accept benefits from agents or their associates, they risk losing their eligibility for collegiate competition.”
During three seasons, six football players competed while ineligible as a result of the violations and multiple athletes received impermissible benefits totaling more than $31,000, the NCAA said.
The investigation showed seven football players accepted more than $27,500 in benefits from various people, some of them agents, including cash, flights, meals, jewelry and lodging. One athlete received more than $13,500 in cash and gifts.
Two Seasons Vacated
The Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based university also agreed to vacate its records for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and will be placed on probation through March 11, 2015. The school paid a $50,000 fine and Blake, who resigned, is restricted from recruiting for any school during the next three years.
“This case is serious,” Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA and chairman of the infractions committee, said in a conference call. “It includes efforts by agents and runners to enter the lives of athletes for their own gain.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Wilmington at ceichelberge@Bloomberg.net
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