No UNC players likely to be kicked off team


Baddour spoke with ABC11's Shae Crisson by phone.

UNC has spent the summer mired in twin NCAA investigations of its football program. The problems led to the team leaving 13 players at home this past weekend when it travelled to Atlanta to play LSU.

The NCAA and UNC are looking into possible academic misconduct involving a tutor who may have inappropriately helped players write papers. The NCAA is also investigating whether defensive lineman Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little received improper benefits from agents.

Coach Blake is a longtime friend of California-based agent Gary Wichard, and Blake - who was in his fourth season working with Head Coach Butch Davis - said in a statement issued by the school Sunday that he stepped down because "my presence has become a distraction" to the university.

"We felt like it was in the best interest of the university and Carolina football, if we were to accept his resignation and that's the reason why we did," said Baddour by phone Monday.

Though Blake resigned, the university is paying him nearly $75,000. Baddour says he felt it was the right thing to do and the money will come from football revenue.

ABC11 asked if Baddour has any knowledge that Blake participated in, or led any players to have any inappropriate communication with an agent, given his history with Wichard.

"I'm limited in my response to that kind of question, as to what I can say at this point. All I can do today is recognize his resignation," said Baddour.

While saying he does not expect any players to be kicked off the team, Baddour did not know when the NCAA might wrap up its probes.

"Now the investigations are driven by individual circumstances, and so we might expect some resolution in a case, or two cases, or whatever, in a short time period. Others are more complicated and hard to predict as to when we might bring those to resolution," said Baddour. "But it's not reasonable to expect that it'll all happen at one time."

UNC's next game is September 18 at home versus Georgia Tech. Baddour couldn't say if some players will have to sit out that game as well.

"We're in the process now of looking at each case on an individual basis, and if and when we are allowed to remedy those players, then we'll seek those," said Baddour. "It's just not possible to say at this time how many, if any, of those students will be able to return. We are working hard to put them in a position so that they can."

With the team apparently gutted by the loss of all the starting players it had to leave at home this weekend, most expected the game against LSU to be a rout. And LSU appeared headed for an easy win after scoring 23 straight points over the final eight minutes of the first half. But the Heels showed heart in the fourth quarter - rallying to come back to within a touchdown in the final seconds - only to be denied a win just six yards from the LSU goal line.

Baddour said Monday that performance shows that despite the investigations, there's still the potential for a good season.

"It'll be a great season," said Baddour. "I would hope as much focus as there is on who's not on the field, I would hope there would be as much focus on those who are on the field who came ready to play in Atlanta who did an outstanding job representing the university."

"While so much of this is disappointing, there's also a tremendous amount of good that's happening around Carolina football," he continued.

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