UNC athletics director Dick Baddour spoke for 18 minutes Monday about the ongoing NCAA investigation---providing new insights into the current situation and the news that three players, Marvin Austin, Greg Little, and Robert Quinn, were done as Tar Heel football players.
"What should be a day of focus on who is playing and how well they played in the recent game, I'm afraid is just the opposite. I apologize to the University community for that," said Baddour.
"It is my responsibility to bring all these issues to a close, and I assure you that the University staff is working tirelessly to make that happen," he added.
Baddour says that the University found out about the NCAA's ruling on declaring Little and Quinn 'permanently ineligible' late last week, but needed a few days to sort out the situation with the parties involved before making it public.
"We learned late Thursday afternoon that the NCAA was going to give us a decision (on Quinn and Little)," Baddour said. "We learned a little about that decision and we got the details on Friday. We needed some time to work with our student-athletes, our families, and some of them are represented by legal counsel."
The University has elected to dismiss Austin from the football program despite the NCAA having not yet made a ruling on him. Based on the evidence in play, however, it appears that Austin has received gifts of a considerably higher sum than the others.
"Just last week we got some findings from the NCAA along with the notion that there could be some potential ethical conduct issues for him (Austin)," Baddour said.
"The amounts involved with Marvin were in excess of what the other student-athletes had, and we felt that it was appropriate---in the best interests of the University---to take that action (of dismissing him) immediately," Baddour said.
"There's still some uncertainty there (as to how much in extra benefits he received), but in the $10,000 to $13,000 range," he added.
Although the NCAA hasn't come down with an official ruling yet specifically on Austin, Baddour made it sound as though the University's unilateral decision to dismiss him from the football program will help wrap up that particular situation.
"I can't speak for the NCAA (but) we are not involved with them right now in the discovery or any ongoing things with Marvin," he said. "I don't want to rule out that could happen, but there is not anything ongoing right now with Marvin and the NCAA in that we have declared him ineligible."
While the players will no longer be involved at all with the UNC football program, they will keep their scholarships and be given a good-faith chance to graduate.
"None of them will be involved with the program," Baddour said. "We will honor the scholarships of these students and we will of course put stipulations on those scholarships, and that is that they make advancement in their academic work, make advancement towards graduation, to do what is expected of them in the classroom and outside the classroom."
The decisions laid down on Little and Quinn will not be appealed by the University.
"No, we will not appeal," he said.
It appears that these decisions laid down by the NCAA and by UNC on these three players brings the school much closer to finality on the 'Agent' aspect of the investigation.
"With this announcement we move much closer to closure---especially on the 'Agent/Extra Benefits' side of things, and we expect more movement this week," Baddour said. "There are no academic issues with respect to the two prongs (of the investigation) with these students (Austin, Little, and Quinn)."
Baddour tipped his hat to the remaining UNC players and coaches for the way they've handled themselves through this trying situation.
"I want to acknowledge this team and how well they have represented the University, this coaching staff and how well they have prepared this team, and especially to Coach Davis for his cooperation," Baddour said. "Butch is absolutely committing, committed to finding solutions for all of these issues, and he has my complete support in doing so."
Baddour expressed disappointment in these players from the standpoint that they could have helped themselves---and perhaps the University could have helped them---had they been more upfront in their initial interviews with the NCAA.
"It's particularly disappointing because at the very beginning of this process, Coach Davis, myself, and all of the compliance people were in front of our student-athletes driving home the message of how important it is that you be honest and forthright---that you give us an opportunity to help you, and the way you give us an opportunity to help you is by being honest in your descriptions," Baddour said.
"Of course I'm disappointed that these things occurred prior to our knowledge, but I'm more disappointed that once the process started, as it turns out we didn't get from them in the beginning what you would want to get," he added.
Baddour and Davis broke the news to the players on Monday morning.
The UNC athletic director said he saw what appeared to be legitimate contriteness from the players.
"I definitely felt remorse, and I think for letting their families down, their teammates down and their University down. What I saw with them was some genuine remorse and I accepted it as so," Baddour said.
"Trying to represent someone else is difficult to do (but) I have great concern for them," he added. Obviously they're disappointed. This would be my expression---they should speak for themselves---is in letting their families down and their teammates down and in letting the University. Certainly that was something we heard from all three."
"I think they were understanding, and Coach (Davis) did just a fantastic job of laying out for them---and this may seem trite---but this is the first day of the rest of their lives," Baddour continued.
"They have a chance to establish for themselves a career, whether it be in football or not, and he (Davis) especially stressed to them the importance of the educational side. Whether they're going to play football or not, this is an important element---that the University was going to give them this opportunity."
"He (Davis) even described to them that NFL teams would be watching how they handle this, and especially whether or not they would pursue their educational opportunities. I feel that message came through loud and clear."
Although the players did give some explanation for exactly what happened after the fact, Baddour uncomfortably avoided the idea of trying to speak to those explanations.
"Some did (give a reason), and it varies. I feel a little uncomfortable trying to represent them, but I think they got caught up in some things. It's unfortunate, so we'll just leave it at that," he said.