Report: Greg Sankey refuses to step aside from North Carolina NCAA case
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is the head of the NCAA infractions committee investigating North Carolina for academic fraud, and that’s a major conflict in the eyes of one UNC lawyer. Despite the potential ACC-SEC conflict, Sankey has refused the lawyer’s request to step aside, according to the Associated Press.
In a letter to North Carolina’s representation obtained by the AP, Sankey wrote, “The panel, including me, will hear and decide this case based on the case record and the membership’s bylaws.”
Sankey’s potential bias in the matter was the source of the UNC lawyer’s complaint.
Raleigh, N.C. attorney Elliot Abrams wrote to the NCAA that Sankey had a “personal, professional and institutional interest” in the outcome as SEC commissioner and compared it to “refereeing a championship game between an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team and an SEC team,” per the report. Abrams also noted Sankey’s potential impartiality due to his former status as SEC associate commissioner in 2005-06 when Auburn was being investigated for similar academic allegations.
Abrams is representing a member of the UNC faculty who graded papers in what were identified as “problem classes” in the case surrounding alleged academic fraud. The case centers around independent study-style courses misidentified as lecture classes in UNC’s then African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. The classes featured high enrollments from athletes and noticeably high grades.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions told the AP that the “committee composition is appropriate.”
The North Carolina case stems from an NCAA probe into the Tar Heels’ football program back in 2010. The specefic look into the AFAM department began when the case was reopened in summer 2014.
The full AP report can be read here.