UNC playing prevent defense

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

The University of North Carolina redacted the names of two “athletic department” employees in the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations leveled at UNC’s football program, a university official said Wednesday.
Nancy Davis, the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations, declined to identify the employees whose names were redacted from the 42-page document, citing the names as personnel-protected information. She added, however, that Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis was not one of the two employees cited.
State personnel law keeps private all but basic information regarding state employees, but it also allows state departments the discretion to release nonpublic information when an agency’s integrity is in question.
UNC released a redacted version of the Notice of Allegations on Tuesday night. The NCAA document cited nine major alleged violations, and UNC redacted the names of the players involved, per the student’s federal privacy rights.
However, the NCAA — and UNC in the case of one player — had previously documented the individual violations of Tar Heels football players Greg Little, Robert Quinn, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney and Charles Brown. Those violations were repeated in the notice, but the names were redacted in the version released by UNC.
The names of the two employees in question were redacted in the ninth enumerated violation with a specific reference to the interactions of Chris Hawkins, a former UNC player who has been defined by the NCAA as a runner for an agent. The NCAA has asked UNC for a summary of information regarding Hawkins’ interaction with one of the employees and a second employee’s approval of Hawkins’ presence at the athletic facilities.
There were also several inconsistencies in the redaction of names of individuals involved directly with the violations, specifically former university tutor Jennifer Wiley, former NFL agent Gary Wichard and former UNC football player Kentwan Balmer.
Wiley was listed in three of the nine violations and was given a separate four-page notice but had her name redacted in the first denoted violation. However, in the second and third denoted violations, Wiley was named.
Wiley, a kindergarten teacher in the Durham public schools system, graduated from UNC in 2009. She worked as a university tutor for three years and was also employed by Butch Davis as a tutor for his teenage son. According to the notice, Wiley committed academic fraud, causing UNC to use ineligible players during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons and provided approximately $3,500 in impermissible benefits, including $1,789 for one player’s parking-ticket payments in August 2010.
Following the new details of Wiley’s involvement in the investigation, her lawyer, Joseph Cheshire V, said Wednesday that Wiley had no comment.
Wichard was described as providing $31,000 in benefits to former assistant coach John Blake and more than $5,000 in benefits to former player Marvin Austin. In the sixth violation, Blake was described as an agent/runner for Wichard’s agency, but in the fifth violation, Wichard’s name is redacted.
Blake, who lives in Durham, did not return phone messages left on Wednesday; neither did his Florida-based lawyer, William Beaver, who is listed in the notice as Blake’s legal representation.
Austin did not return phone messages on Wednesday either, but he did post a joke on his Twitter account in reference to the NOA, calling Little, “Mr. Extra Benefits.” The NCAA cited the Twitter accounts of former players in the NOA on Tuesday under the ninth denoted violation for “failure to adequately monitor the conduct and administration of the football program.”
Balmer cited
Balmer’s name is listed under the enumerated benefits for providing $2,000 worth of benefits to Austin, but Balmer’s name is redacted in the subsequent description of the violation.
A first-round NFL pick out of UNC in 2008, Balmer signed with Wichard’s agency. Austin and Cam Thomas, who played his final season at UNC in 2009, have said Balmer paid for their trip to a California training facility in July 2009.
Nancy Davis declined to explain the inconsistencies in the redactions.
The News & Observer called or left messages for Chancellor Holden Thorp and 11 members of the university’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, with no responses received in return. All media queries at UNC about the notice and investigation have been directed to funnel through Nancy Davis.
ACC commissioner John Swofford, who played football at UNC and was the AD in Chapel Hill for 17 years, declined to comment through an ACC representative.
UNC has until Sept. 19 to officially respond to the notice and will meet with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.