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Deborah Crowder Faces NCAA About UNC Investigation

The NCAA enforcement staff interviewed the department administrator on Wednesday in Chapel Hill.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Five months after being named a central figure in the NCAA's case against North Carolina, and less than a week before the school's response is due, Deborah Crowder met with the NCAA on Wednesday.

The all-day interview session was held in Chapel Hill and included NCAA enforcement officials and UNC representatives.

“Ms. Crowder’s interview went quite well," her lawyer, Elliot Abrams of the Cheshire Group, said on Wednesday evening. "She was pleased to have an opportunity to confront her accusers and respond to their unfounded allegations.”

The former university AFAM department administrator is one of three individuals to be specifically named in the NCAA's second amended notice of allegations that was delivered in December.

The NCAA alleges Crowder "committed extra benefit and ethical conduct violations from 2002-11 by overseeing anomalous courses in the department and giving athletics personnel authority to impact aspects of the courses for student-athletes." 

Abrams added on Wednesday evening: "Can the NCAA punish something that isn’t a violation in itself simply because it happened frequently? This was not a conspiracy to keep people eligible. It was a type of educational opportunity that existed for all students when advisers deemed it appropriate to offer it."

Crowder had not made any public comments or official responses until coming forward with an affidavit in March. She spoke privately with Wainstein for the report that was released in 2014. In her affidavit and response, she vehemently refuted how Wainstein portrayed her comments and her role in the case, though no recordings or transcripts of the Wainstein interview exist.

NCAA Committee on Infractions chair Greg Sankey informed all involved parties in a letter on April 14 of a timeline for the case to progress to a hearing in 2017. Responses to the second amended notice of allegations are due May 16, with the enforcement staff’s procedural documents due on July 17. That sets up the COI hearing dates for Aug. 16-17.

“There will be no further delays, and the case will be heard on schedule,” Sankey wrote.

Greg Barnes contributed to this report.

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