Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 12:21 pm

National notes

Welcome to your up-to-date primer on eligibility issues ...

They are usually young, impressionable. Oftentimes they are female.

That's why Ohio State AD Gene Smith switches tutors every two years, as if the athletic department was a getting a compliance oil change.

"We're not the only ones," Smith said. "We change them out every two years because they get close to the kids."

Or at least the possibility exists. It's something to consider as North Carolina deals with NCAA investigations on two fronts. Thirteen players were held out of the LSU opener for various reasons. The school is looking into allegations that a tutor with close ties to coach Butch Davis may have written papers for players.

Part of the problem no doubt plaguing North Carolina is how to define academic fraud in this case. One prominent compliance officer told CBSSports.com that even writing an outline for a paper can become an issue.

"We teach our people to do nothing," Smith said of his tutors. "Talk them through the issues, talk them through the challenges. Don't write anything for them. If you write notes, it's notes to help them understand. But that's so hard. I feel sorry for them [tutors]."
If any money changed hands between parties, things get murkier. Any extra benefit over $100 could mean a suspension. Without a paper trail, it might be in the offenders' best interest to keep any admission of payment under that amount.

"If it's over a $100 it's a major [violation],"Smith said. "If it's under, you pay restitution ...Back in the day, it wasn't the tutors saying, 'You have to pay me this.' Back in the day it was players saying, 'Thanks for doing this for me,' and giving them money. The player would say, 'Here's 20 bucks or 50 bucks.' Then it emerged where the tutor has stopped charging."

The emotional attachment thing --possible hero worship -- remains a concern. That's why Ohio State swaps out its tutors. Smith laid out a fake scenario involving his star quarterback to prove his point.

"If you were tutoring, say Terrelle Pryor, your math tutor comes in. [The player is a] freshman, unassuming. You tutor him in math. You hear more about things in his life than just math. You establish a relationship.

"They you do it in Year Two, then you do it in Year Three. Here he is going into his Heisman year, you're tutoring him in math. He's got all this pressure on him, comes into one of these tutorial sessions and just starts opening up. Then you've got to get him to do his math. Next thing you know you're doing it."

    CBSSports.com recently dug into the NCAA's reinstatement guidelines. There is generally mathematical aspect to gaining back eligibility after receiving extra benefits.

This is directly from the NCAA ...

"If the value of the benefit ranges from greater than $100 to $300 = 10 percent withholding condition and repayment."

... between $300 and $500 it is 20 percent withholding (assuming that is number of contests) and repayment.

More than $500, 30 percent withholding.

That probably explains Marcell Dareus'  situation. The NCAA originally considered suspending the star defensive tackle for four games after Dareus was found to have accepted approximately $1,800 in improper benefits. The NCAA said mitigating circumstances reduced the suspension to two games.

Four games would fit into the NCAA's mathematical guidelines (four out of 12 regular-season games = 33 percent).

A Wednesday report surfaced that Georgia receiver A.J. Green had been suspended because he sold a game-worn jersey for less than $1,000. Given the NCAA formula, Georgia better hope it is way less than $1,000. Green could be suspended three more games if the price was more than $500.

    Also, don't be surprised if North Carolina "staggers" its suspensions. The school was forced to withhold 13 players in the LSU opener due to various issues.

The NCAA allows staggering "if multiple student-athletes from the same team are required to be withheld," creating, "a potential health risk ... due to playing with a decreased squad size." The NCAA says the largest number of players should be withheld from the first contest to speed up the process.

In other words, expect a lot more Tar Heels to be available on Sept. 18 when it next plays against Georgia Tech.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 6, 2010 10:11 am

John Blake "resignation" a huge sign at UNC

This North Carolina thing is starting to resemble a bad relationship. You know, when you get those subtle hints your significant other has been stepping out on you?

John Blake is the lipstick on the collar, the strange phone calls at midnight or, to go totally Evansian, the red panties in the BMW. Evidence that something isn't quite right.

Actually, it's way beyond subtlety at North Carolina. When Blake, Carolina's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, resigned Sunday night it was another sign of how bad things are -- and going to get.

You might have heard that Carolina is having a bit of an NCAA problem regarding agents lately, among other things. The NCAA has spent the past few months investigating whether Tar Heel players received improper benefits from agents. Blake reportedly has a relationship with long-time agent Gary Wichard. Blake's lawyer denied that there is a "pipeline" from the coach to Wichard. 

Carolina disassociating itself with Blake is actually the next step toward mitigating the NCAA penalties that are sure to come. It's what USC recently did with Reggie Bush, only a little late -- six years after the former tailback started competing while ineligible.

Carolina, though, is being proactive. Actually, it is doing a heck of a job. It had no choice but to hold those 13 players out of the LSU game. You can sense genuine remorse in their reaction and a willingness to get things right. The message coming out of Chapel Hill: North Carolina has been shamed.

Blake's departure is the latest sign of that shame. As a head coach at Oklahoma (12-22 in three seasons), he was a heck of a defensive line coach. That's what Blake did well. That and recruiting.  Blake was a fixer. Bill Callahan hired him at Nebraska. In 2005, the Huskers had Tom Lemming's No. 1 recruiting class. It seems that's what Blake was hired to do at North Carolina -- recruit quickly and effectively. It showed with Tar Heels sporting some of the best defensive talent in the country.

Some thought he recruited too well.  But that's not what this is about at Carolina, at least not right now. It centers around the agent issue and perhaps some academic fraud.

The problem is, this case is just beginning. If Blake is first, you have to wonder at some point is Butch Davis' job is eventually going to be at risk.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:11 pm

Carolina has its guts ripped out

Not quite sure how many players typically travel to these neutral site games. For teams traveling to true road games, it's typically 60-70.

Working off that number, how does North Carolina field a representative team for the LSU game? Fifteen Tar Heel players did not travel on Friday when North Carolina left for Atlanta.

 Carolina is still trying to establish the eligibility of three players, the school said. Twelve are out for sure for "violating school and/or NCAA rules."

Among the 15 are defensive tackle Marvin Austin, receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn (CBSSports.com's ACC preseason defensive player of the year).

 A quick check of the depth chart shows that at least seven starters could be missing. Certainly some second-level players are going to have to play significant minutes.

 I always like to check Las Vegas in situations like this. Amazingly, the line has moved from pick 'em when the game opened to LSU being a 7 1/2-point favorite.

 "There were rumblings over the last couple of days but now that you know who is in and who is out, they'll [sports books] put it up," said a Las Vegas Sports Consultants spokesman. LVSC provides the point spreads for a lot of the Vegas sports books. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:53 am

Son of 25 Things to Watch

These five "things" didn't make the cut ....

26. This is the best, most-inside look at Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. The Omaha World-Herald piece shows that Nebraska was tipped off in January about possibly being left out as conference shifting took place. From there, the school played a risky, clandestine mating dance with the Big Ten that resulted in the school joining on June 11.

27. Odds on winning the national championship from Bodog.com

Alabama 4-1
Ohio State 5-1
Oklahoma 15-2
Boise State 8-1
Florida 9-1
Texas 14-1
Nebraska 15-1
Miami 18-1
TCU 18-1
Virginia Tech 18-1

In case you're scoring at home, Boise State has a better chance of winning the national chanmpionship than Florida, Texas, Nebraska or Miami.

28. Just in case you need help getting into the 2010 Heisman race, Texas coach Mack Brown says the 2004 Heisman race might not be over. 

29. Most fearsome ...

Defensive line: Iowa returns four all-Big Ten starters and its top two reserves. Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Hawkeyes last year.

Offensive line: Alabama. Having the defending Heisman Trophy winner and his sidekick (Trent Richardson) to spring lose, how hard can it be?

Secondary: North Carolina. All four starters are back (for now) on a unit that allowed 175 passing yards per game.

Offensive backfield:  Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor is ready to break out. Tailback Darren Evans returns to find his spot taken by '09 freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The only question for Frank Beamer is how to split the carries.

Defensive backfield: Texas. Three starters back from a unit that picked off 11 more passes (25) than touchdowns allowed (14).

Linebackers: Michigan State. Big Ten defensive player of the year and All-American Greg Jones is in the middle. He is bookended by Spartans' No. 2 tackler Eric Gordon and talented sophomore Chris Norman. 

Oklahoma. Four receivers averaged at least 12 yards per catch. Watch tiny Ryan Broyles who went over 1,000 yards on 89 catches.

Special teams: Nebraska. Alex Henery handles the kicking (24 of 28 FGs) and punts (41.4). Adi Kunalic has 86 career touchbacks, 38 percent of his kickoffs. Niles Paul averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 on punt returns.

30. Comeback player of the year

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder rebounded from shoulder surgery. Auburn's Zac Etheridge came back from a serious neck injury. Baylor's Robert Griffin ripped his ACL in the third game of the season.  Georgia Tech defensive back Cooper Taylor needed heart surgery .

They're all back in 2010 but the winner has to be Boston College's Mark Herzlich who beat cancer and inspired a nation during his recovery -- part of which was televised.

Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:32 am

Miami about to be taken down by a rat. Fair?

Isn't it odd how it's not an NCAA investigation until somebody gets screwed?

The old adage goes: It's not cheating unless you get caught. And sometimes the NCAA doesn't catch you, it seems, until the cheaters get cheated. Nevin Shapiro is serving time in federal prison for allegedly running a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He was once a Miami booster who apparently was more than good friends with more than a few Hurricane players. Shapiro told the Miami Herald this week that he'll write a tell-all book detailing Miami wrongdoing since 2001.

His motivation? Paying back some of the victims, reportedly around 60 who lost upwards of $80 million. Shapiro won't earn a dime from the book. His other motivation, he says, is payback for former players who ignored him.  

"Once the players become pros, they turned their back on me," Shapiro told the Herald. "It made me feel like a used friend."

As long as everyone was kissing Shapiro's ass, then, everything was OK. The point is, these cases don't develop sometimes until low-life reprobates blow the whistle. Lloyd Lake, who had served time for a probation violation, rolled over on Reggie Bush after Bush failed to repay $300,000 that Lake had spent on him. All Bush had to do was repay Lake, who essentially wanted to become Bush's agent, and everything was cool.

The same thing seems to be going on at North Carolina, Alabama and South Carolina. The rumor going around is that a reputable agent (or agents) alerted the NCAA and/or media about low-life agents and marketers who blatantly staged that ostentatious player party in South Beach. Had the rogue agents kept things on the down low, maybe those three 
schools aren't wondering who is going to be able to play on Saturday.

You might wonder why the NCAA listens to these guys. The association isn't held to a legal standard. It doesn't have to use due process. It cannot issue subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify. You have to wonder, though, what credibility a source like Shapiro has. Consider this recent headline: "Felon Who Stole $900 Million To Rat Out "The U".

Because of those investigative restrictions, the NCAA also has to meet a lower standard (its own) for a conviction. Remember, this is technically a non-profit organization that has been given these powers by its members. Police use "rats" like Shapiro all the time. Prisoners testify in open court. But it's up to a jury to decide on the evidence. The NCAA infractions committee is judge and jury. USC thought it was going to skate on the Bush case because it was unaware 
of the wrongdoing.

The NCAA decided that USC was guilty because it was unaware of the wrongdoing.

But it remains amazing how none of it would have happened if someone had gotten paid off or, in Shapiro's case, someone's feelings weren't hurt.

Posted on: August 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 6:41 pm

Scope of UNC's investigation has widened

North Carolina will announce a widening of an NCAA investigation in include "academic issues" at a Thursday night press conference, a school spokesman told CBSSports.com

The spokesman said no players' names would be revealed. However, the NCAA had been looking into possible improper agent dealings regarding defensive tackle Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little. Their names came up when it was learned about a South Beach party earlier this summer that may have included several college players. The NCAA could rule that the players received extra benefits if they attended the party.

Also reportedly at the party were Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders.

Carolina self-reported "academic infractions" to the NCAA according to insidecarolina.com. The school said an "update" would be provided at a press conference scheduled for 7:30 pm ET. Chancellor Holden Tharp, AD Dick Baddour and coach Butch Davis are expected to be in attendance.

The NCAA has been to Chapel Hill for rounds of interviews with players. Typically what happens in these extra benefit situations, players will be declared ineligible by the school which then petitions the NCAA to reinstate them. The players are allowed to practice, though, during the preseason.

The news has impacted Las Vegas betting, apparently. A spokesman for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which sets point spreads for the major sportsbooks, said only "two or three" sportsbooks had taken the UNC-LSU off the board. However, in the space of Thursday afternoon the line moved at least 2 1/2 points. Carolina had been favored by one earlier in the day. By dinnertime LSU was favored by 1 1/2-2 points. 

North Carolina opens the season on Sept. 4 against LSU.

Posted on: July 25, 2010 5:30 pm

Five things about the ACC

As my annual swing through preseason media days continues I’ll be updating you on the current state of the conferences I’m covering …

1. It’s just not the same with Bobby. One of the highlights of the ACC media days is the annual sit down with Bobby Bowden. Around a circular table in a resort conference room we would jam ourselves close to Bobby to hear his dad-gum pearls of wisdom. A couple of “How ya doin’ buddy,”s and away we would go. Something was missing this year and it will never be back. Enjoy retirement, Papa Bowden.

2. Uncertainty at North Carolina. This had the looks of Butch Davis’ breakout season in Chapel Hill. Coming off a second consecutive eight-win season and armed with perhaps the nation’s best defense, Davis was overdue for that big turnaround. Sadly, Carolina is wrapped up in an NCAA agent investigation which may bring down the program for 2010 and short circuit Davis’ rebuilding. “Guys are smart to know what to do and what not to do,” said quarterback T.J. Yates. “You don’t have to read the NCAA rulebook to know the basics of it.” Apparently a few NCAA manuals are just what Carolina needs.

3. Dark horse national champion. Virginia Tech.  This wasn’t the plan when expansion plans were being made but the Hokies have become the reigning power of the new (and not-so-improved) ACC. While Georgia Tech is the defending champion and an up-and-comer, Tech has been the most consistent ACC team of the expansion era. Both its overall (41-13) and conference records (24-8) are three games better than everyone else over the past four years. The offense sports one of the deepest backfields in the country with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. The defense is being questioned but shouldn’t, not as long as Bud Foster is running the show. This year’s hopes center around the Labor Day opener against Boise State. Win that and the Hokies could enter November undefeated. Then it’s a question of whether they can get past Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, the last two on the road.

4. BC never seems to go away. Eleven consecutive bowls. Two out of the last three Atlantic Division titles. BC is hard to shake. Despite the loss of its best player (linebacker Mark Herzlich) to cancer and breaking in a 26-year-old rookie at quarterback (Dave Shinskie), the Eagles were still competing for the division title into November. This season they get back the inspirational Herzlich, ACC defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly as well as tailback Montel Harris (1,457 yards). Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles hanging around the division race again in November on their way to a 12th consecutive bowl.

5. Florida State is back, right? It’s up to the defense which was horrid in 2009. Jimbo Fisher has brought a new energy to the Seminoles who, despite the loveable Bowden, could use it. Quarterback Christian Ponder is back from a separated shoulder. The entire offensive line returns intact. If the defense plays just average, FSU will win 10. If not, retired d-coordinator Mickey Andrews will have handed his problems off to new DC Mark Stoops. We’ll know about the Noles by the second week of October. By that time, they will have played Oklahoma, BYU and Miami.

Posted on: July 19, 2010 4:24 pm

Agent sleaze emerges from under rocks

Thirty-eight states have agent laws on the books, and yet the hits keep on coming.

Florida is the latest on the NCAA investigative list after ESPN.com reported Monday that former offensive line star Maurkice Pouncey may have taken $100,000 from an agent. Coming so quickly after the sleaze at USC, we now have a full-on trend.

In the last week there have been allegations of improper agent dealings at North Carolina and South Carolina. It sounds like someone or some people is dumping on someone else. That's usually how these things start.  "Marketer" Lloyd Lake said last week on HBO that the Reggie Bush never would have come to light had not Bush paid him. Bush allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits from Lake. Look where that landed USC.

With the Florida news, this is beginning to look like an all-out turf war with rival agents dropping dimes on each other. Check out this site for names that are surfacing.

 There's now a Southern sampler platter of Tar Heels, Gamecocks and Gators on the NCAA menu. Obviously, Florida stands to have its Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati vacated. The stakes could be higher (meaning: worse) for North Carolina if defensive tackle Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little are involved with improper dealings with agents. South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders' name has come for the same reason in Columbia.

My question:  With more than three-quarters of the states having enacted corrupt agents' laws, why are these slime balls still working their deals?  This site details the penalties for improper agent dealings in the state of Florida.

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