Monday, March 12, 2012

Before Tourney Talk...

We interrupt March Madness with these statements from UNC brass in the wake of the NCAA handing down penalties to the Tar Heel football program. Sanctions which include a 2012 post-season ban (including the ACC title game), a reduction of scholarships (15) over a three-year probation period, which began today (March 12, 2012) and ends on Mach 11, 2015. The following statements were sent out by the University.

Chancellor Holden Thorp:

“It’s been almost two years since this investigation began, so getting the NCAA ruling is a big step in moving forward. We approached this investigation the way that you would expect of Carolina – thoughtfully, thoroughly and with full cooperation – and that was the right thing to do.

We self-imposed a number of penalties in the fall that we thought were appropriate based on the facts in our case. The NCAA has given us additional penalties, and the sanctions are more severe than we expected. The ruling is disappointing for our new coaching staff and our student-athletes.

We considered an appeal. But given the timing and the record that other schools have had with appeals, as well as the fact that penalties are suspended during an appeal, we’ve decided it’s best to accept our sanctions and move forward.”

Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham:

“North Carolina has always represented so much that is good about college athletics. The last year and a half has been difficult for everyone who loves UNC from both an academic and athletic perspective. It’s time for us to move Carolina Athletics forward to help restore that reputation of integrity and respect for which the University has been known.

We can’t guarantee people won’t make mistakes in the future, but we can give our collective best effort to prevent a repeat of what brought us to this day. College athletics evolves daily and the high profile nature of intercollegiate athletics demands that we remain vigilant and accountable for the coaches, student-athletes and staff who represent our great university.

It is our aspiration that Carolina will be better in the future as aresult of what we have gone through and everyone associated with our program will strive each day to make our students, faculty, alumni, fans and staff proud to be Tar Heels.”

Former Director of Athletics Dick Baddour:

“From the first day that we began to learn the facts of this case, we set out to do a thorough review, and that is what we did. Every step we took throughout the investigation was to get to the facts, be fair to the people involved in the process and preserve the integrity of the University.

Carolina is well positioned to move forward and be an even better athletics program in all areas. I have great faith that Bubba Cunningham and Larry Fedora and their staffs are committed to maintaining a football program and athletics program that we all can be proud of.

I do want to thank our fans for their continued support. This has been a long and difficult time and our fans have stood with us and been extremely patient. I know the University is appreciative of that enduring support.”

Head Football Coach Larry Fedora:

“Now, more than ever, we need the entire Carolina fan base to come together and support our current student-athletes as we embark on a new era of Tar Heel football. We will face this adversity head on and work to be a better football program.

I was aware of the NCAA case at the time I was named head coach. Bubba Cunningham and Holden Thorp were forthright and honest with me throughout the hiring process as I made the decision to take the job.

I chose Carolina because this is one of the best schools in the country with high standards of academic and athletic excellence. In so many ways, Carolina has exceeded my expectations.

My only regret is for the current players, especially the seniors, who will not have the opportunity to compete for an ACC championship and go through the experience of a bowl game in 2012.

We will do all we can to make every game this year a special experience for our seniors and fans.”

UNC President Tom Ross:

“The NCAA’s investigation of the football program at UNC-Chapel Hill began nearly two years ago. This has been a long and arduous process. The Chapel Hill campuscooperated fully with the NCAA from the beginning of this matter and has accepted responsibility for mistakes made. While I believe that the self-imposed penalties announced by the campus in September 2011 are fair and reasonable and am personally disappointed bytoday’s decision, the NCAA had complete discretion to impose additional sanctions and saw fit to do so. Nonetheless, we can now close this chapter and move forward.”

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