UNC’s Woes and the Impact on the ACC

Posted by Brandon Rink on August 27, 2010 under ACC Football | Read the First Comment

It’s just bad, for UNC. Most of the big news broke from ESPN’s Joe Schad at first – and per usual, everybody got sources afterwards:

schadjoe update: UNC is investigating if approximately 9 players including standouts had papers written by a former tutor

schadjoe update: UNC put standout players on scout team on Wednesday as UNC inquiry expands beyond agents and parties

schadjoe update: Among the players involved in UNC’s tutor investigation: Marvin Austin, Bruce Carter and Robert Quinn

schadjoe update: The tutor in the middle of UNC’s academic impropriety allegations was also Butch Davis’ nanny

The last update really circled the Twitterverse, but was only half-true as the tutor was an academic advisor to his son – not a nanny. Then, the reports continued – this time from CBS Sports’ Will Brinson:

A source has also told CBSSports.com that two players, cornerbacks Charles Brown and Kendrick Burney, have already been kicked off of the football team.

Of course, Kendric Burney and UNC message board land dispute this. The Brown dismissal has been confirmed elsewhere, but still, nothing definitive has come out yet.

And finally, we had the vaunted 7:30 press conference where we found out that:

  • The “two prong” investigation could last into the season.
  • The tutor in question was employed by Butch Davis and the UNC athletic department at some point.
  • Players have been demoted to scout teams in preparation for missing them against LSU and possibly beyond.
  • The agent investigation led to the tutor investigation.
  • And like everybody has seemed to point out, Davis seemed a little pale.

What They’re Saying Today

In regards to the number of players involved, Inside Carolina’s Greg Barnes said per Joe Ovies:

Barnes on @620TheBuzz – “think that 12 is probably closer ball park, dont think we are at that level yet. 6 a little conservative”

Got to listen to the ACC Sports Journal’s Dave Glenn on WCCP 104.9 out of SC and here’s what he said:

  • Heard that up to ten players involved in the academic investigation.
  • The standard university imposed suspension of players offered to the NCAA is usually a 1/3 of the season. The NCAA then deems whether or not that is the proper punishment and it goes from there.
  • He also mentioned possible in-house punishments at UNC that include a possible semester suspension which would be sure to affect this process as well.

What I’m Thinking

It’s just a mess – from the Sturdivant marijuana charge to Austin/Little with agents to multiple players involved in alleged academic fraud – a mess. I don’t think it’s overstatement to say the LSU game is sunk right now – way too much turmoil, and not enough football going on at UNC. The “lack of institutional control” bomb was dropped at the press conference by the News & Observer’s Giglio – Tar Heels have to be dreading the NCAA putting that in any report involved here. Football-wise, the big thing is Davis doesn’t know what players he will have yet – and it could be up to gameday that he does find out.  One thing I wonder is why we’re only talking defensive players. Were the offensive players not offered this supposed deal or could they have been smart enough to say no – who knows.

Obviously, at UNC, protecting the academic image is huge and may very well affect Davis’ employment, but let’s look at the UNC/ACC impact in football:

  • Let’s say UNC gets the least worst case scenario and it’s a 1/3 year suspension for most of the defense, and possibly a one game suspension for Little – whether UNC even bowls or not comes down to when the suspension is announced. If they are suspended in the next week, that’s crucial games with LSU, Georgia Tech, and at Rutgers – the further you go, UNC has East Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, Miami in the middle of the season. Even if they get everybody back at some point, how long does it take for them to gel (do they even at all)?
  • Austin is the one guy with a foot in both prongs of the investigation reportedly – is all this enough to get him kicked off the team entirely? He sure seems to have found a lot of trouble in his time at UNC.
  • As for the ACC race as a whole, I crossed off UNC awhile ago, but those still holding on, are jumping off the bandwagon in droves. For the contenders but not favorites such as Georgia Tech and Clemson, their trips to UNC just got a little easier it seems. The Heels may have a full squad by November, but the Hokies have to like these developments too on the football field and recruiting element.
  • As for the ACC strength discussion and how fans should feel about this, I saw this discussion going back and forth on Twitter as to whether opposing fans should really want something this – as it could knock the ACC down a notch in strength. For me, I’m all for UNC beating LSU and being a strong contender in the Coastal for this site’s purpose, but if I’m in Clemson, Atlanta, Blacksburg, Raliegh, Tallahassee, and any other ACC school city playing UNC – their weakness is your gain. On the football field and recruiting, this helps your individual team – ultimately, the ACC isn’t really in a position to sell itself as a conference yet anyway, so sell your team and they benefit from this. At the very least, the other 11 ACC school fans shouldn’t be all that concerned about this in relation to conference strength.

So, we’re a little early, but you have to ask…

Based on what we know now, how does UNC's season play out?

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