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NCAA Signals A Harder Line On UNC Scandal

Fingers are pointed at several people most critically former A.D. Dick Baddour.

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NCAA Men's Final Four - National Championship - Villanova v North Carolina
UNC mascot Ramsese holds a sign of UNC’s NCAA basketball titles, including the retroactively awarded 1924 Helms Foundation title. It’s not the only questionable one on the list.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the more recent things we’ve seen about the UNC scandal, the university appeared cocky if not dismissive of the NCAA’s case and for its part, the NCAA seemed to be backing off a bit. Could we have gotten a false impression?

Judging by the preliminary skirmishing reported by the N&O’s Dan Kane, yes.

In recent correspondence the NCAA used phrases like “willful violations” and “blatant disregard” and pointed fingers at particular people, most notably former A.D. Dick Baddour: “Because of Dick Baddour’s, former athletics director’s, hands-off management approach, [former head of UNC’s athletic tutoring program Robert] Mercer and [former senior associate athletic director, John ]Blanchard also did not receive support from the athletics department on this issue,” the response said. “Institutional leaders chose not to act.”

The NCAA also maintains this: “It is now clear that the institution did not provide the (NCAA) enforcement staff with the entire body of pertinent information at that time, and the NCAA relied to its detriment on the thoroughness of the institution’s production.”

The infractions committee still has to decide to proceed with the case, but whatever else they might argue, the NCAA is clearly building a major case around the dread phrase “lack of institutional control.”