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TAR HEELS HIT WITH BOWL BAN
March 13, 2012By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School
Tar Heels hit with bowl ban
North Carolina’s football program was hit with a one-year postseason ban — including bowls and the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game — for violations of accepting improper benefits and academic misconduct Monday.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, in releasing the punitive part of the investigation that began more than 20 months ago, also levied a total scholarship reduction of 15 across a three-year period. That’s six more than a reduction of nine scholarships selfimposed by the university.
“The committee found that the university failed to monitor its football program,” said Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA and chair of the Committee on Infractions.
A three-year probationary period will end March 12, 2015.
“The sanctions are more severe than we expected,” university chancellor Holden Thorp said. “The ruling is disappointing for our new coaching staff and our studentathletes.
“We considered an appeal. But given the timing and the record that other schools havehadwithappeals, as well as the fact that penalties are suspended during an appeal, we’ve decided it’s best to accept our sanctions and move forward.”
In addition, a three-year showcause penalty was assessed on former assistant coach John Blake, who had received personal loans from an NFL agent. He’ll be prohibited from any recruiting should he accept another college coaching job.
Banowsky called it a serious case even though “the university did a great job in trying to investigate it and trying to get to the truth.”
New coach Larry Fedora will have to deal with the repercussions of the violations that occurred under former coach Butch Davis, who was fired in July. Spring practice starts Wednesday.
“My only regret is for the current players, especially the seniors, who will not have the opportunity to compete for an ACC championship and go through the experience of a bowl game in 2012,” Fedora said in a statement from the university. “We will do all we can to make every game this year a special experience for our seniors and fans.”
The committee’s 38-page report outlined the violations and penalties. Several other penalties already had been self-imposed. They are:
Vacation of wins during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Disassociation of both the former tutor Jennifer Wiley and former player Chris Hawkins, who served as an agent runner.
Thorp, new athletics director Bubba Cunningham and former athletics director Dick Baddour answered question after the penalties were announced.
“We don’t like to have this type of attention brought to any part of the university, especially as one as visible as the athletic program,” Thorp said. “… This is another milestone along this whole process. We’re moving past it. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse (than previous points in the process).”
The university received notice of the penalties Monday morning after those were presented to the school’s outside legal representative.