College Sports

Women’s basketball, women’s soccer among UNC teams mentioned in NCAA notice of allegations

The notice of allegations the NCAA sent to North Carolina was largely short on specifics with regards to potential penalties for individual sports.

But it did present a mountain of evidence that suggests the women’s basketball team is in serious trouble as the case approaches the disciplinary phase.

No team was more directly linked to wrongdoing than the women’s basketball team, with the actions of its academic counselor, Jan Boxill, being cited for the lack of institutional control, the most serious charge against UNC.

“The institution violated the NCAA principles of institutional control and rules compliance when it failed to monitor the activities of Jan Boxill, then philosophy instructor, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, women’s basketball athletics academic counselor in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) and chair of the faculty,” the notice reads. “Although employed by ASPSA, Boxill conducted her athletics academic advising activities largely within the philosophy department. Despite concerns by some at the institution that Boxill’s relationship with the women’s basketball student-athletes may have been too close, the institution did not monitor Boxill or determine whether her conduct violated institutional rules or NCAA bylaws.”

The NCAA had access to emails Boxill sent to Deborah Crowder, the former student services manager in the African and Afro-American Studies department who was largely responsible for assigning grades in the paper classes. One, from September 2008, includes her asking Crowder to give an unmentioned player a D because “that’s all she needs.”

Crowder sent Boxill an email asking for confirmation: “Did you say a D will do for [the basketball player]? I’m only asking because 1. no sources, 2, it has absolutely nothing to do with the assignments for that class and 3. it seems to me to be a recycled paper. She took [another class] in spring of 2007 and that was likely for that class.”

“I didn’t look at the paper but figured it was a recycled one as well, but I couldn’t figure out from where,” Boxill wrote back, indicating that “Yes, a D will be fine.”

There are 26 mentions of a women’s basketball student-athlete – for privacy reasons, all names were redacted – in the notice of allegations, ranging from Boxill adding content to papers they wrote to turning in and recommending grades for their papers.

Boxill resigned in February 2015 after the university took action to fire her.

“I’ve always run my program with integrity,” UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell said in a statement. “That’s why reading some of the allegations are so disappointing. I’m confident that Bubba Cunningham and the university will work with the NCAA to get through this process and bring closure to this matter, so our current and future student-athletes can have the best experience possible.”

Other mentions of non-revenue student-athletes include baseball (three times), women’s soccer (three), softball (two) and one apiece for field hockey, women’s track and women’s tennis.

The NCAA only singled out the email correspondence of two coaches in the notice of allegations: women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance and assistant women’s soccer coach Chris Ducar. Both were asking academic counselor Brent Blanton about independent study courses.

Dorrance specifically requested independent studies for players. According to Kenneth Wainstein’s investigative report released in October, Dorrance sought out independent studies for players who travel with national teams.

The university received the notice of allegations on May 20 and has 90 days to respond to the NCAA, agreeing with or contesting the charges.