Football Player's Lawsuit Against UNC Dismissed

A Superior Court judge has dismissed football player Michael McAdoo’s lawsuit against the University and the NCAA, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh.

McAdoo, who sat out the 2010 season as part of the NCAA investigation into the UNC program, has accused both parties of “gross negligence” and sought unspecified damages. He claimed he had been punished unfairly for receiving academic assistance from a former tutor in the athletics department who is at the center of some of the NCAA allegations. The lawsuit said that McAdoo went before the Honor Court on three separate charges of receiving improper help with academics. It said the Honor Court ruled in October that there was not enough evidence to bring charges in the first case and that McAdoo was not guilty in the second. In the third case, the suit said, the court ruled McAdoo had received improper assistance.

Last summer, McAdoo sought an injunction to enable him to play his senior season while the suit proceeded. That motion was denied in July.

On Tuesday, the newspaper reported, Judge Orlando Hudson ’75 (’78 JD) dismissed the suit. UNC had claimed that a player has no constitutionally protected right to participate in college athletics and further pointed out that McAdoo had given up his college eligibility when he was drafted by and played briefly for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League this fall.

The N&O reported that McAdoo’s lawyer, Noah Huffstetler ’73 (’76 JD), expected McAdoo to appeal the dismissal.

McAdoo had been assigned to work with Jennifer Wiley ’09 as his tutor. According to the suit, this relationship continued after Wiley had graduated from UNC; McAdoo had been assigned a new tutor, but he liked working with Wiley, and she agreed to continue working with him.

An attorney for the NCAA asserted that McAdoo wanted to continue working with Wiley because he knew Wiley would do things for him that other tutors would not.

Huffstetler claimed that McAdoo didn’t know that what Wiley was doing for him crossed over the line into improper assistance.

McAdoo’s suit led to the public release of a paper he had submitted for a class that appeared to show multiple instances of plagiarism. In published comparisons of excerpts from the paper alongside the text of multiple original sources, the two matched word for word.

At the start of the 2010 season, McAdoo was held out by the football program after it was determined he received $110 in improper benefits related to a trip he took with two teammates, both of whom later were dismissed from the program for violating NCAA rules on improper benefits. The suit said McAdoo repaid that amount to charity; it also stated that the typical NCAA punishment for such a violation is a two-game suspension.

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