Since May 29, 2010 at 3:07 A.M., the fateful night UNC-CH football player Marvin Austin sent out a Tweet that sparked one of the largest investigations into one of the largest scandals in the history of college athletics, more questions have always been present in Chapel Hill than answers.
For years, Roy Williams and his men’s basketball program have largely stayed away from the NCAA’s microscope, despite the fact that classes in question during the academic fraud scandal were largely made up of UNC-CH basketball players and Williams’ 2005 national championship team relied heavily on the fraudulent system to keep many starters and key players eligible.
But on Thursday, everything changed.
The NCAA has finally handed Williams’ program a notice of allegations, expanding the time frame and scope of violations beyond what the NCAA previously accused, and deepening the potential penalties for the violations.
This new notice of allegations also accuses the Tar Heel football program of the same impermissible benefits the basketball program is now being charged with.
While the NCAA’s previous two notice of allegations were soft, with many national observers and analysts decrying the lack of force being used by the NCAA in a case this extreme, this new notice of allegations truly brings the hammer down on the scandal ridden university and athletic department.
On top of previous charges, the NCAA is now adding violations of unethical conduct and providing extra benefits against the two architects of the academic fraud scheme, Deborah Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro.
The NCAA is also placing the university and athletic department directly in it’s crosshairs, asserting that UNC-CH “leveraged the relationship with Crowder and Nyang’oro to obtain special arrangements for student-athletes in violation of extra-benefit legislation.”
“Many at-risk student-athletes, particularly in the sports of football and men’s basketball, used these courses for purposes of ensuring their continuing NCAA academic eligibility,” the notice reads.
This improper conduct occurred from the fall of 2002 through the summer of 2011, a timeframe that includes two men’s basketball nation championships and Roy Williams’ first nine years as head basketball coach.
Seven members of UNC-CH’s 2005 national championship team, Williams’ first ever championship team, majored in the fraudulent African Studies program – Rashad McCants, Sean May, Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel, Melvin Scott, Reyshawn Terry, and Quentin Thomas.
McCants, May, Williams and Manuel were all starters that season, while Scott, Terry and Thomas all played major supporting roles.
With the new notice that was sent to UNC-CH on December 13th, the university and athletic department are now staring down the barrel at charges that include a lack of institutional control, unethical conduct and extra benefits.
Charges no university has every walked away from without the NCAA inflicting major pain.