Scandal hits hard on recruiting trail

Updated: July 21, 2014, 5:41 PM ET
By David M. Hale | ESPN.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The ongoing NCAA investigation into academic fraud at North Carolina hasn't been a focal point in the Tar Heels' locker room, coach Larry Fedora said at Monday's ACC Kickoff, but it's been an ever-present speed bump on the recruiting trail.

The NCAA last month reopened the investigation, which had been concluded in 2012 and which Fedora said he'd believed was closed for good, sparking another round of negative recruiting from competing schools.

"It's not really affecting our team," Fedora said. "The players, they're not concerned with it. They've been hearing about it for three years. It's just old news. The ones it affects is in recruiting. That's where it hits you the hardest. The other schools, that's what they're using when they're recruiting against you."

Fedora said he's spoken with recruits about the NCAA's revived interest in the case, which focuses on no-show classes popular among athletes, and that at this point, none have changed their stance toward North Carolina.

"We addressed it from the very first day it happened, and we haven't talked about it since with any of them," Fedora said. "None of them really ever asked again. We feel pretty confident about the guys we have committed at this point and the guys we're recruiting."

Still, Fedora said, it's a popular topic of conversation when recruits get in front of other coaches eager to use the NCAA investigation, which cost UNC a bowl appearance in 2012, against the Tar Heels.

"Since the day we stepped on campus [in 2012], it hasn't stopped," Fedora said, "and until [the investigation] is over, it's not going to stop."

Fedora said he has not been briefed on the scope or potential duration of the investigation, but he said he's confident the situation will be resolved without further probation for the program. But for as long as the investigation remains open, he said it will be a nagging matter for the team.

"Them coming back in has opened up the door for all that to come back," Fedora said.

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