Michael McAdoo Sues UNC, NCAA To Restore Eligibility
On July 1, 2011, Michael McAdoo filed a Complaint in North Carolina against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill along with its Chancellor, H. Holden Thorp, and the NCAA. McAdoo was a football player at UNC until the NCAA ruled that he was permanently ineligible to perform in intercollegiate athletics based on McAdoo’s alleged receipt of $110 in improper benefits and improper assistance from a tutor. Specifically with regards to the improper payments, the NCAA claimed that an agent provided McAdoo with two nights stay in a hotel room in addition to $10 to pay the player’s cover charge at a nightclub, along with one hour of improper extra tutoring benefits worth $11.
Before the NCAA ruled McAdoo permanently ineligible to perform in intercollegiate athletics, UNC actually petitioned the NCAA to reinstate McAdoo’s eligibility to play college ball. But according to McAdoo, UNC made some mistakes in its petition, specifically with regards to reporting that he violated NCAA Bylaw 10.1(b) by representing another’s work as his own. NCAA Bylaw 10.1(b) forbids knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an enrolled student athlete. The claim was that McAdoo’s university-assigned tutor provided too much assistance with three classes, which was relayed to the NCAA prior to any findings by the UNC Honor Court. UNC’s Honor Court later found McAdoo not guilty of receiving impermissible assistance in one class and did not find enough evidence to charge McAdoo with regards to another one of the three classes. His tutor had also graduated from UNC. Thus, technically, her assistance was an improper benefit provided to McAdoo (worth $11, as stated above). McAdoo disputes that he ever knowingly was involved in arranging for fraudulent academic credit.
The other $99 of improper benefits relates to a financial planner named Todd Stewart, who paid for a hotel room for McAdoo, Marvin Austin, and Greg Little on an April 2010 trip to Washington D.C. According to McAdoo’s Complaint, he was told by Marvin Austin that Austin was covering the expenses, not Stewart. He believed that Austin paid the cover charge to the nightclub. This was also possibly paid for by Stewart.
UNC and McAdoo informed the NCAA that they would be appealing the NCAA’s November 12, 2010 decision to declare McAdoo permanently ineligible. However, McAdoo did not have independent counsel to represent him at the appeals hearing, and according to his Complaint, no one at UNC ever told McAdoo that UNC’s counsel could not represent his individual interest or that he should consider getting separate counsel.
McAdoo’s Complaint includes a whopping 16 claims for relief. While McAdoo would like to be compensated by the Defendants based on their actions, he is probably more concerned with the injunctive relief sought in his filed Complaint. McAdoo wants the Court to issue a mandatory injunction or writ of mandamus to compel UNC’s Chancellor to declare McAdoo eligible and reinstate him as a member of the UNC football team in addition to an injunction against the NCAA to keep it from declaring McAdoo ineligible.
UNC’s first 2011 regular season game is September 3, 2011 at home against James Madison. As of right now, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will not meet until October 28, 2011 to discuss the allegations contained in McAdoo’s Notice of Allegations. By that time, UNC football will have played 8 games, with its 9th game occurring one day later at home against Wake Forest. In order for McAdoo to prevail on his request for a preliminary injunction, he will have to prove that he will suffer irreparable harm by losing out on organized team practices and the playing of those 8 games (and potentially more games) in 2011. He should use Weslye Saunders as an example of the type of harm that a player may suffer from missing a year of college football.
For more on this story, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated provides strong commentary.