UNC NCAA football academic fraud case details released

In the University of North Carolina’s 111-page response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations, previously unreleased details regarding former UNC tutor and mentor Jennifer Wiley and her association with UNC football players were made public.

While the NCAA investigation into agent-related benefits during the summer of 2010 eventually led to the discovery of academic fraud, University officials had been made privy to Wiley’s potential inappropriate assistance in April 2010, nearly nine months after UNC did not renew her contract. Additionally, Wiley paid off $1,789 worth of parking tickets just one day before UNC began its attempts to interview her.

John Blanchard, senior associate athletic director for student-athlete services, received an anonymous report in April 2010 that a football player had, among other things, received academic assistance from Wiley, according to the NCAA letter.

After he informed compliance director Amy Herman and senior associate AD Larry Gallo, UNC AD Dick Baddour launched an investigation that had no clear resolution in the response letter.

“We were hampered in that we were working with an anonymous report at that time,” Baddour said in a teleconference on Monday.

“Actually, the focus of that report had more to do with extra benefits than it did, what you might say, the quality or extent of the academic help, so we were very limited in what we could do. We had denial in terms of what was going on, and we couldn’t do anymore with it.”

According to the NCAA response letter, the football player was questioned on three occasions, including an interview with former head coach Butch Davis. Wiley had previously worked with Davis’ son as his tutor. On all three occasions, the player denied any wrongdoing and the case was apparently dropped.

Both Blanchard and Gallo declined comment and forwarded all questions to Baddour.

The response states UNC has abandoned the academic mentor program, imposed additional constraints to student athletes and their tutors or learning assistants, increased the budget to hire and retain tutors and to expand rules education for tutors, among other corrective actions.

It wasn’t until investigators conducted interviews and read players’ emails that they discovered the academic fraud. The fraud dated back as far as April 2008 and occurred on multiple occasions until Wiley’s contract wasn’t renewed in July 2009 — the same month she provided improper assistance to former UNC player Michael McAdoo on his heavily plagiarized Swahili paper.

According to the letter, on Aug. 20, just one day before UNC officials attempted to contact Wiley and her counsel, she paid $1,789 worth of outstanding parking tickets for a football player.

For five days UNC officials attempted to contact Wiley before holding an Aug. 26 press conference to announce they were now investigating potential academic fraud.

Despite the large, one-time payment being made by credit card just one day before UNC attempted to call her, University officials say they did not know about the parking tickets until November 2010.

“The University learned this information during a separate review of parking citations received by football student athletes in response to media requests for records under the North Carolina Public Records Act,” the response states.

Those records, for which The Daily Tar Heel and other media outlets sued, showed UNC football players racked up 395 tickets totaling more than $13,000 in a three-and-a-half year span.

One of the additional monitoring measures UNC has now imposed is a biweekly report of student-athlete parking citations from UNC’s Department of Public Safety.

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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