Tag:UNC Football Investigation
Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Welcome to Compliance 2.0

Posted by Chip Patterson

North Carolina's Notice of Allegations, delivered to the school earlier this week by the NCAA, is certainly stocked with all kinds of facts, figures, and redacted information to be discussed and debated between now and the Oct. 28 hearing with Committee on Infractions. The case will end up being a standard for NCAA enforcement in modern college football history. It may be buried well below the lede on Sportscenter, but trust me: we will remember this case.

One aspect of the case that is particularly notable is in alleged violation 9b.
In February through June 2010, the institution did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity that visibly illustrated potential amateurism violations within the football program, which delayed the institution's discovery and compounded the provision of impermissible benefits provided in Allegation Nos. 4-a, 4-c, 4-d and 4-e.
This is where the entire investigation started. All 42 pages of letters and allegations can be summed up in a series of 140-character tweets from Greg Little and Marvin Austin. Well, technically, it was a combination of tweeting some Rick Ross lyrics, TwitPic'ing pool parties and expensive dinner bills, along with some other loose evidence of misconduct.

So the NCAA is wondering how North Carolina's compliance office did not see a red flag when their star student athletes were living a lavish lifestyle in big cities the summer before their senior season. Now, being charged with Failure To Monitor, this case becomes the NCAA's official acknowledgement of social networking in collegiate sports.

Unfortunately, they are probably entering the game a little too late. Acting reactively, as usual, the NCAA has essentially let compliance offices all over the country know that this is something they should be monitoring closely. Here's the thing: it's really not that hard.

Make Twitter lists, download Tweetdeck, organize the accounts however you choose -- there of plenty of options. If the "search" function is too difficult to figure out, then require athletes to include their Twitter handle at the same time you get the rest of their contact information. Most of these student-athletes (particularly the ones most at-risk of impermissible benefits) will want as many people as possible to have unprotected access to their Twitter accounts. Amateurism rules prevent an athlete from benefiting off their own likeness financially, but Twitter allows a pro prospect to begin marketing themselves while in school. Certain athletes enjoy building their brand, interacting with fans and getting a more hands-on approach to shaping people's perception.

All the compliance office has to do is watch, and ask questions.

Recently Maryland defensive lineman and Twitter extraodinaire A.J. Francis (@The_Franchyze) tweeted a lyrics from a song by Rick Ross (surprise!) and Kanye West -- "Live Fast, Die Young."
Seems like we getting' money for the wrong things,
Look around Maseratis for the whole team.
Now, someone with a common knowledge of the lyrics on Ross' 2010 release Teflon Don might recognize that quote. But none of those people are in Maryland's compliance office. To them, this seemed like a questionable Twitter-post that could possibly be dealing with impermissible benefits. No need to launch an investigation, but the office took action.



Now Francis was asked to remove the post, but I think once Compliance explained the situation he understood. There could be a discussion about free speech, but we have yet to see a Chad Ochocinco-type character challenge the authority of his school on those grounds. But the point of the matter is that if North Carolina's compliance office had been keeping an eye on the profiles of its star athletes, there could have been more immediate action to nip the wrongdoing in the bud.

So the message has been sent to compliance offices everywhere. It's time to wake up and follow your student-athletes on their social networking sites. The fans are, most of the media is, and for both of those groups to find out about a potential violations well before the compliance office is unacceptable.

Go ahead, just follow them. Trust me, most student-athletes will be happy to raise their follower/friend count.

(Image Credit: Twitter)
Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 11:10 am
 

Report: UNC assistant frequently called agent

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the NCAA continues it's investigation into the North Carolina football program, college football fans are left to stand on the outside only hearing rumors and murmurs of possible allegations and "insider" information.

That is until a local paper steps in with some good old fashioned investigative reporting.  The News & Observer released a report late Tuesday night that detailed the extensive communication between former assistant coach John Blake and sports agent Gary Whichard.  Blake's connections with Whichard have been the center of scrutiny since news broke of the NCAA's investigation of North Carolina in July.

The university announced Blake's resignation on Sunday evening.  According to the release, Blake stepped down "in the best interest" of the program.  Blake has hired legal representation, suggesting that his involvement in the investigation will not end with his resignation.   

The report details 61 calls from Blake's university-issued cell phone to Whichard in the 61 days between November 5 and January 4.  That date in January happens to be the day that six North Carolina juniors announced they would return for their senior season rather than enter the NFL draft.  Of those six players (Marvin Austin, Greg Little, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney, Bruce Carter, and Quan Sturdivant), only Carter and Sturdivant were cleared to play in the season opener against LSU.

As for the response from the university?
Asked if it is ever acceptable to have that level of communication between a coach and an agent, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said in an e-mail: “Whether the level of contact is acceptable or unacceptable depends on what they talked about, and I have no idea what they were discussing. Clearly, Mr. Wichard and Coach Blake have a very close relationship. All things being equal, it’s probably better not to have a close personal relationship with a sports agent if you’re an NCAA coach.”Obviously, with the nature of the investigations in Chapel Hill covering both agent-related issues as well as possible academic improprieties, it is difficult to distinguish which of the allegations are tied to which players.  But with a possible subpoena for Marvin Austin coming from the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, it is hard not to think that this could get messy.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall already announced her investigation into possible violations of the Uniform Athlete Agent Act.  North Carolina is one of 42 states that govern contact between amateurs and agents.  The laws prohibit agents from offering gifts before a contract is signed, and the punishment can be civil or criminal.     

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or Subscribe to our RSS Feed


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com