|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
“"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 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." School officials appeared before the committee in October. The school fired coach Butch Davis before last season because of the investigation. Longtime athletic director Dick Baddour stepped aside so his successor could hire the next football coach. "We self-imposed a number of penalties in the fall that we thought were appropriate based on the facts in our case. The NCAA has given us additional penalties, and the sanctions are more severe than we expected. The ruling is disappointing for our new coaching staff and our student-athletes," Thorp said earlier Monday in a prepared statement. "We considered an appeal. But given the timing and the record that other schools have had with appeals, 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." New athletic director Bubba Cunningham said that although the last year and a half have been difficult for North Carolina, it's time for the school to move forward and restore its reputation. "We can't guarantee people won't make mistakes in the future, but we can give our collective best effort to prevent a repeat of what brought us to this day," he said. "College athletics evolves daily and the high profile nature of intercollegiate athletics demands that we remain vigilant and accountable for the coaches, student-athletes and staff who represent our great university." In its report, the Committee on Infractions found: • A former tutor "constructed significant parts of writing assignments" for three players, provided more than $4,000 in impermissible benefits to players after she graduated and refused to cooperate with the investigation. • Seven players accepted more than $27,500 in benefits, including cash, flights, meals, lodging, athletic training, admission to clubs and jewelry. One player received more than $13,500 in cash and gifts. • The program allowed a former player, who was determined by the NCAA to be an agent runner, to have regular access to current student-athletes at its athletic facilities without any oversight. Thorp fired Davis a week before training camp, citing the cumulative damage to the university's reputation by the probe. Davis has never been tied directly to or cited for any violation in the probe. The day after the school fired Davis, Baddour announced he would step aside early from his planned retirement this summer so that his successor could hire the next football coach. The school hired Cunningham from Tulsa as AD, and he in turn hired Fedora from Southern Mississippi as the new coach. Defensive coordinator Everett Withers served as interim coach last season and guided the Tar Heels to a 7-6 record along with an appearance in the Independence Bowl. Withers is now assistant head coach under Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Information from ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.
We considered an appeal. But given the timing and the record that other schools have had with appeals ... we've decided it's best to accept our sanctions and move forward.” -- Holden Thorp, UNC chancellor