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The Daily Tar Heel

NCAA investigation to last over a year

Athletes’ futures decided sooner

UNC expects to be working with NCAA investigators for at least a year, Chancellor Holden Thorp told UNC-system leaders Thursday.

The individual student-athletes’ fates will be resolved much faster but “we’re only a little bit of the way into the NCAA process,” Thorp told Board of Governors members.

Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour also braced the board for more bad news as cases wrap up.

“I don’t want to appear before you and say everything’s going to be fine because some of that news is not going to be good,” Baddour said.

Thorp asked to update board members at every meeting until the investigation is over, UNC-system President Erskine Bowles said. Thorp took questions before the board moved into closed session to discuss the matter further.

The UNC system has long delegated athletic responsibilities to campuses. The attention UNC’s case has attracted has prompted many to ask whether the board should launch its own investigation.

A BOG investigation on top of the joint UNC-NCAA one is unlikely, based on what board members said Thursday. More likely is a post-investigation look at how similar problems can be prevented at UNC and other system schools.

Member and former Gov. James Holshouser reminded the board that delegating athletic authority was one of the first things the Board of Governors did when it was formed.

“There have been a lot of instances since that time when we said to ourselves that that was a good thing,” he said. “I think we do well to leave jurisdiction to the campuses.”

Board of Governors chairwoman Hannah Gage acknowledged the board’s hands-off stance on athletics isn’t always easy to explain.

“We’re asked everywhere we go, and you get tired of saying it’s not our responsibility,” she said. “But the truth is you just have to be patient.”

Thorp and Baddour also stressed a need for patience, telling board members that the nature of the case means they potentially could still learn more information.

“That may mean we find out more today, tomorrow, that we didn’t know yesterday,” Baddour said.

As he did in September, Thorp apologized repeatedly for the situation, which he said was not what he would like to be spend his time on.

“I’m really upset that we’ve gotten bogged down in this over intercollegiate athletics,” he said, adding that the present problems are an “important thing to a lot of people but they’re not the primary work of the University.”

Vouching for Thorp’s leadership, Bowles said he didn’t think there was anyone angrier about the situation than Thorp.

“While I too am angry that this occurred at my alma mater and I am embarrassed that it did and I am disappointed that it did,” Bowles said.

“I am very, very proud of the investigation and follow-up that has occurred since this awful event came to our attention.”

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