“For the things that happened in North Carolina, it’s abysmal,” he said. “I would think that this would lead to the implementation of the death penalty by the NCAA. But I’m not in charge of that.”
Loh was speaking at a University of Maryland Senate meeting, and a recording of his remarks was sent to The News & Observer, which then reported on the incident.
The death penalty is a term referring to an NCAA penalty called the repeat-violator legislation — which prohibits a particular sports team from competing for either one or two seasons and strips them of grants for recruiting purposes for two years.
The death penalty has only been implemented three times by the NCAA at the Division I level — on the Kentucky basketball program in 1952, the University of Southwestern Louisiana basketball program for the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons, and the Southern Methodist University football program for the 1987 season.
Men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams criticized Loh’s comments during an interview with SiriusXM College Sports Nation Wednesday. He said it was “silly” that a president of another university would weigh in on the UNC investigation.
“A guy told me one time, ‘You can get a little knowledge and it turns you into an idiot, but no knowledge, you’re a double idiot,’” he said.
UNC spokesperson Joel Curran issued a statement regarding Loh’s comments.
“We were surprised that a sitting university president with no direct knowledge of our case would choose to offer such uninformed and highly speculative opinions,” the statement reads. “Clearly, Dr. Loh misunderstands the facts of the case, and how NCAA bylaws apply to those facts.”
The University is currently working to prepare a response to the third Notice of Allegations given to UNC by the NCAA, though it did not specify when the response will be released.
The third Notice of Allegations was released in December of 2016, and the University was supposed to respond within 90 days. But the deadline was extended by the NCAA so the enforcement committee could attempt to interview Deborah Crowder, a former UNC professor involved with the scandal.
Brian Ullmann, University of Maryland spokesperson, said in a statement that Loh’s comments did not reflect his personal beliefs about UNC or its leadership.
“It is an example of the challenges that leaders in academia face as universities continue to grapple with balancing athletics with our overarching mission of research and scholarship,” the statement said. “It’s clear that (Loh) is not advocating for any one outcome and trusts that all involved are working toward the same goal of rooting out wrongdoing wherever we see it on an academic campus.”
Staff writer Sam Doughton contributed reporting.