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The Daily Tar Heel

McAdoo still seeks damages from UNC

The appeals process will begin today for former UNC football player Michael McAdoo, whose lawsuit seeking NCAA reinstatement led to revelations of academic fraud in UNC’s African and Afro-American Studies department.

McAdoo filed the lawsuit in July of last year after the NCAA ruled he was ineligible to play his senior year. McAdoo had been found guilty on one count of academic fraud by the UNC Honor Court in 2010.

The lawsuit made public a paper that appeared to contain plagiarized sections. That revelation prompted a review of UNC’s department of African and Afro-American Studies.

The lawsuit was dismissed by a Durham Superior Court judge in November of last year.

Noah Huffstetler, one of McAdoo’s attorneys, declined to comment on the merits of the case, but said a decision on the appeal should be reached within the coming weeks.

The lawsuit claims the NCAA made an erroneous decision by ruling McAdoo ineligible to play. It also claims the NCAA did not respect the UNC Honor Court’s findings and did not heed precedents from similar cases.

The University, Chancellor Holden Thorp and the NCAA filed motions to dismiss the case last September.

Thorp could not be reached for comment.

The N.C. Attorney General’s Office will be representing the University in the matter, said UNC spokesman Mike McFarland in an email.

After he was ruled ineligible, McAdoo chose to withdraw from the University and sign with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, but is still seeking damages from the University and the NCAA.

In a case brief, Thorp and the University stated, “He has no damages attributed to the University and his claims should be dismissed as moot.”

McAdoo claims that if he had been allowed to play at UNC his senior year, he could be receiving a higher salary in the NFL after he graduated.

But Bernie Burk, a professor in the UNC Law School, said this claim relies too much on speculation.

“That kind of argument piles guesswork on speculation in a way that the law just doesn’t allow,” Burk said.

“The court said, ‘Nobody could predict how good of a season he would’ve had at UNC, nobody could predict how he would do in the 2013 NFL Draft, nobody could predict any of this stuff.’”

Burk added that the appeal is a last-ditch effort.
“I think you can say the appeal is a Hail Mary on 4th and long.”

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