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NCAA Allegations only part of North Carolina's problems

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While the NCAA's Notice of Allegations is not good news for the Tar Heel faithful, something even more ominous will arrive in June.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina finally acknowledged they received a Notice of Allegations (NOA) from the NCAA on Friday, May 22nd. You've probably not seen much on this in the national media. ESPN made an attempt to bury the news (link).

As I pointed out in my last article about UNC troubles, you cannot rely on accurate or fair and balanced  news from the UNC websites. They are still in denial. Here's a piece from USA Today. Short and sweet. SBN's Tar Heel Blog had to report this, but they relied on Scout's Inside Carolina for details.

For the best coverage, however, of North Carolina's plight, you have to read SBN's Duke Basketball Report's efforts. DBR has kept up with all things related to UNC's problems. On May 19th, they reported on the McCants (and others) lawsuit in a very interesting article.

Considering the rivalry, I think DBR is fair in their reporting and comments. On May 22nd, DBR had an article concerning the frustration of Roy Williams and the effect the academic scandal is having on recruiting (link). Later in the day, after the NCAA sent the NOA, DBR was one of the first to report it. The best source of information on UNC's problems is the Raleigh News and Observer.

Now that the allegations have been made public by UNC, reaction has been mixed as seen in this Bloomberg article by Paul Barrett. Card Chronicle's Mike Rutherford wrote this piece for SB Nation. Meanwhile, as Rutherford notes, UNC is on the verge of a contract extension for head coach Roy Williams. SBN's Tar Heel Blog sees four things learned from the NOA. As Rutherford points out, UNC has until August 20th to respond to the NCAA.

I mentioned something more ominous than the NCAA Notice of Allegations. Remember the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)?  As reported by the Raleigh ABC TV affiliate channel 11 eyewitness news, UNC-Chapel Hill will receive the SACS Board decision on academic fraud will be made public on June 11th.

SACS first put the university on notice in 2011 when claims of academic impropriety first surfaced, and SACS said last fall the agency considered the findings of Kenneth Wainstein as a new issue.

The agency says UNC was not diligent in providing information about the academic scandal, and that two UNC employees withheld information about the fraud.

SACS reviewed the Wainstein report and notified UNC in November of 18 accreditation standards which the university may have violated. The most damaging was a lack of "institutional integrity."

Here' a copy of the SACS letter to UNC about their less than forthright responses to the original inquiry. UNC's response to the November inquiry can be read here.

What I find interesting is how UNC has maintained all along a "move along, nothing to see here" attitude with both the NCAA and the SACS.  There is a segment in the Tar Heel fanbase who shrug their shoulders, believing that as long as UNC basketball isn't harmed, they are perfectly willing to let the football program take the hit. Fans being fans, they don't seem to understand the taint on the university.

One person they particularly have no love for is Mary Willingham, the original whistleblower. News Channel 11 interviewed her last October, and you can watch the video or read their article here.  When I wrote my last article, Ms. Willingham contacted me and pointed out the biggest game changer might very well be the McCants lawsuit. Since she knows far more about this than I do, I have to believe she may be right. It is something else to follow.

So, UNC will receive the SACS findings on June 11th, they have 90 days to respond to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations and they still have the McCants lawsuit hanging over them. I hope you agree that you wouldn't want to be them. When Kentucky became a cooperator during our dark point, it kept us from receiving the death penalty. Things eventually worked out okay using that strategy.

UNC has been caught with their pants on fire. If they continue to fight against the inevitable, they are going to suffer far more if they had just accepted the process. Transparency may hurt over the short term, but it seems to me that the road they've chosen will come back to bite in at least one of the three battles UNC faces.

If you'll recall, when Kentucky's problems occurred during the Sutton-Hagan era, Kentucky chose to fully cooperate. That, according to the NCAA, kept the basketball program from receiving the death penalty. North Carolina has apparently chosen to fight. We'll eventually find out which approach works best with the NCAA.

Unlike Kentucky, however, UNC has a lawsuit and an academic credential to worry about.