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The 111-page response works its way meticulously through all nine allegations the NCAA levied against UNC, culminating with three key self-imposed penalties:
- "... the University will vacate all victories by the football program during the 2008 and 2009 seasons."
- "The University will reduce by a total of nine the number of both initial and total grants-in-aid over a three-year period"
- "The University will self-impose two years of probation beginning on the date this response is submitted."
The University acknowledged that despite its efforts and expectations, "major violations occurred in the football program" resulting from "poor decisions by some student-athletes and former University employees."
The response points to several football players, former tutor Jennifer Wiley and former assistant coach John Blake making those poor decisions despite knowing that they violated NCAA rules. School officials stated that "with regard to nearly every violation, at least one person – and often all of the people – involved had received rules education" that should have alerted them to the impermissible conduct they were involved with.
But the response goes on to state that the University is responsible for those violations and that, "in hindsight and with enhanced monitoring, the University could have taken additional steps that might have discouraged some of the people involved from committing some of the extra benefit violations or led to their discovery at an earlier date."
"We have acknowledged our violations, and we've responded in the way you would expect of this University," UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a press release. "We think that the sanctions we have proposed accept responsibility and, at the same time, give our current and future student-athletes and coaches every opportunity for success. We go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on October 28, and that will be another important milestone."
"I believe the report is a very thorough response to the NCAA," Athletic Director Dick Baddour also said in a release. "The University of North Carolina takes our standing and reputation in the NCAA community seriously and with great respect and our response to the allegations reflects that. We accept responsibility for mistakes that were made in terms that are balanced, measured and fair. I want to acknowledge the hard work that University and athletic department staff put in to prepare the report. The October 28th appearance in Indianapolis is the next major step and we will direct our efforts toward preparing for that hearing."
The University agreed that Allegations No. 1-8 are all "substantially correct" and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred.
The most serious charges facing North Carolina were three items found in Allegation No. 9.
Allegation No. 9(a) cites the school for a failure to monitor the conduct of former Tar Heel football player Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation, which allowed him access to facilities that at times put him in close contact with student-athletes. UNC agreed that the information in No. 9 (a) "is substantially correct and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred."
UNC disagreed with Allegation No. 9(b), which states that "the institution did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity." The school claims that No. 9 (b) is "unprecedented" and highlights the fact that there are no NCAA bylaws that address day-to-day monitoring of an institution's student-athletes.
The lone significant surprise in the Notice of Allegations was No. 9(c), which states that "the institution failed to investigate information related to preferential treatment benefits and benefits from individuals triggering NCAA agent legislation provided" to a football player. UNC agreed that the information in Allegation No. 9 (c) was "substantially correct" and suggests that, with the benefit of hindsight, the school could have possibly prevented some of the impermissible benefits through additional investigation of information."
The University received the notice of allegations on June 21 and had 90 days to respond. School representatives are scheduled to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.