In a wide-ranging interview with the Asheville Citizen-Times earlier this week, North Carolina coach Roy Williams explained his greatest frustration with the NCAA's investigation into the academic fraud that took place at the school.
"It would help if the NCAA would just tell us what the allegations are," Williams said.
Williams apparently got his wish soon afterward. North Carolina announced Friday it has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, but chancellor Carol L. Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham said the school will not release the details of the report until a later date.
“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA’s 90-day deadline,” Folt and Cunningham said in a joint statement. “The University will publicly release the NCAA’s notice as soon as possible.
"The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law. When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA’s allegations, we will follow this same release process."
The NCAA announced last June that it was reopening its investigation into academic irregularities at North Carolina when some people of interest who previously wouldn't speak with investigators agreed to cooperate. Enforcement staffers cannot force anyone to speak with them since they do not have subpoena power.
The decision to reopen the investigation came soon after Kenneth Wainstein uncovered new information about the irregularities in North Carolina's African-American Studies department. His report revealed that more than 3,100 students were involved during an 18-year span and that student-athletes accounted for nearly half the course enrollments.
Another factor in the NCAA's decision to reopen its investigation was surely the explosive allegations made by Rashad McCants, a member of North Carolina's 2005 national championship team. McCants alleged that his academic advisers at North Carolina steered him to take sham classes in the school's African-American Studies department in order to ensure that he remained eligible. He also accused tutors of writing some of his term papers and said he passed classes in which he only seldom showed up.
Both North Carolina coach Roy Williams and many former Tar Heels players have since refuted McCants' allegations. In a statement released last June, the other members of the 2005 national title team insisted they "attended class and did our own academic work."
"We want to state that our personal academic experiences are not consistent with Rashad's claims," they said in a statement. "We know that Coach Williams did not have any knowledge of any academic impropriety."
It's difficult to predict the severity of North Carolina's punishment without knowing the details of the Notice of Allegations, but anything from a postseason ban, to scholarship reductions, to the vacating of past wins is certainly possible.
That uncertainty has hurt North Carolina on the recruiting trail already. Negative recruiting by rival coaches has contributed to the Tar Heels swinging and missing on a handful of recent high-profile recruits including Class of 2015 stars Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram.
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