Right Field

NCAA Report on North Carolina Football

Sports Illustrated has a list of the things athletes did at North Carolina to break NCAA rules. And I’m not sure, but I think they broke all of them:

If you’re an NCAA rules junkie, reading the Notice of Allegations handed down on North Carolina’s football program Tuesday must be like unwrapping the latest iPhone.

It’s got everything.

Academic fraud? There’s an app for that. Extra benefits? More different types from more different people than you could possibly fit on one screen. Agents? Oh, so many agents — both real and wannabes. And then there’s John Blake, the assistant coach who was secretly working for a sports agent while employed by the university. He might get his own page in the next NCAA manual.

For all the tawdry scandals that have tarnished college football over the past 12 months — from USC to Tennessee, from Cam Newton to Jim Tressel — one can easily argue that the nine major violations levied against Butch Davis’ program Tuesday contain more filth and more blatant disregard for the rule book than any of them.

And yet, one gets the sense that after nearly a year of buildup, North Carolina’s case may wind up causing less indignation than any of them. Fans don’t generally get worked up over perennial 8-5 programs. It would probably take the death penalty for fans outside Tobacco Road to truly take notice, and at least two notable omissions from Tuesday’s report assure that’s not going to happen.

Unlike disgraced Ohio State coach Tressel, currently unemployed and unhireable for failing to disclose knowledge of violations by his players, Davis’ name does not appear anywhere in the NCAA’s 42-page report. He remains gainfully employed for now. And unlike USC (or Boise State, for that matter), North Carolina escaped the dreaded Lack of Institutional Control charge that usually elicits the Committee on Infractions’ harshest penalties, settling instead for the just-below-that Failure to Monitor.

The rest here.

The probable answer is that big-time football schools will need to hire independent auditors to monitor everything that is going on. And, more importantly, the highly paid head coaches will interact even less with the kids to protect themselves, like Butch Davis was able to do. It’ll be the “don’t ask, don’t tell” version of college sports.

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