College Sports

NCAA cites emails that deal with UNC women’s soccer in notice of allegations

The NCAA notice of allegations, which UNC released to the public Thursday, extended beyond the marquee sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball.

Several emails cited by the NCAA deal with the UNC women’s soccer program, which has won 21 NCAA and 20 ACC championships in 36 seasons under head coach Anson Dorrance, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Seven items of factual information among the 318 noted by NCAA were emails regarding Dorrance’s program. Three of the emails listed Dorrance as sender or recipient, and one was sent by longtime assistant coach Chris Ducar.

The names of any student-athletes in the emails were redacted by UNC, along with the dates on six of the seven emails regarding women’s soccer.

The one email, FI193, with the date unredacted is dated Oct. 7, 2005 and was sent by Dorrance to Brent Blanton, the current associate director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA), and copied to Ducar and Tom Sander, director of women’s soccer operations. In that email, Dorrance requests independent study courses for an athlete whose name is redacted.

Dorrance’s name appears as recipient in a second email, FI194, where Blanton provides a possible academic schedule for a prospective student-athlete that includes independent study courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

The first of five allegations made by the NCAA cites impermissible extra benefits to athletes from 2002-2011. The allegation claims that athletics academic counselors in ASPSA “leveraged their relationships with faculty and staff members in the African and Afro-American Studies department” by requesting course offerings on behalf of student-athletes, contacting individuals in the department to register student-athletes in courses, obtaining assignments on behalf of student-athletes, suggesting assignments for student-athletes, turning in papers for student-athletes and recommending grades.

Additionally, the NCAA charged in the allegation that the independent study courses were misleadingly designated as lecture courses “with little, if any, attendance requirements, minimal to no faculty interaction, lax paper writing standards and artificially high final grades.”

Efforts to reach Dorrance were not immediately successful.

Deborah Crowder, the student services manager of the department, and Julius Nyang’oro, former chairman of the African studies department, have been identified as overseeing the independent study classes over an 18-year period. Crowder and Nyang’oro refused to cooperate with the NCAA during its investigation.

In another email, FI95, a women’s soccer athlete requests that Blanton turn in her independent study paper to Crowder, and in FI96 Crowder informs a women’s soccer player that Blanton has enrolled her in an AFAM course.

An email (FI29) from Nyang’oro to a women’s soccer player discusses a time to confer about an independent study assignment. And an email from Crowder (FI38), copied to Nyang’oro and Blanton, gives Crowder’s response to a women’s soccer player who wishes to set up a meeting with Nyang’oro.

Ducar, who has been Dorrance’s goalkeeper coach and recruiting coordinator for 20 years, sent one of the emails, FI192, to Dorrance and Blanton in which Blanton says there are no more independent study courses.

Ducar was recognized in 2006 as the national assistant coach of the year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.