McAdoo Sues for Relief; NCAA to Defend Ruling

Michael McAdoo sat out the entire 2010 football season as part of the NCAA investigation into the UNC program. He was “permanently ineligible” to continue playing by the NCAA for academic misconduct; the University appealed the decision, but the NCAA upheld it.

Now McAdoo is suing the NCAA and UNC for reinstatement to the program.

The NCAA has responded that it intends “to vigorously defend the process by which penalties related to academic misconduct” are determined by the NCAA, according to media reports.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 15 in Durham Superior Court, in which McAdoo’s attorney is seeking an injunction to let him play this fall while the case proceeds. Noah Huffstetler ’73 contends in court documents that McAdoo was punished unfairly for receiving academic assistance from Jennifer Wiley ’09, a former tutor in the athletics department who is at the center of some of the NCAA allegations against the football program.

The suit accuses the NCAA and UNC of “gross negligence” and seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit says that McAdoo went before UNC’s Honor Court on three separate charges of receiving improper help with academics. The suit says the court, whose proceedings generally are not made public, ruled in October that there wasn’t 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.

McAdoo had been assigned to work with Wiley 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.

Huffstetler claims that “there’s every reason to believe that Mr. McAdoo didn’t know what the tutor was doing for him crossed over the line into improper assistance.”

The suit says that the Honor Court ruled in the third case that McAdoo was suspended for the spring 2011 semester but could be reinstated in the fall of 2011 and eligible to play football.

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 teammates Marvin Austin ’11 and Greg Little ’11 — both of whom later were dismissed from  the program for violating NCAA rules on improper benefits. The suit says McAdoo repaid that amount to charity; it also states that the typical NCAA punishment for such a violation is a two-game suspension.

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