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Fourth and Long

The news that North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo was suing both the NCAA and the University of North Carolina was music to my ears.

This may surprise many of you given that I am apparently in support of a lawsuit against an institution I have admired all of my life. If it does, I understand your shock, however I think McAdoo’s lawsuit against UNC may actually help them in the long run and I will explain why.

First, however, let me give you the “readers digest” version of the facts as we know them. In 2008 McAdoo was assigned a tutor. This tutor worked with McAdoo for an extended period of time during which she apparently helped McAdoo with “in-text citations and a works cited page” for one paper and later changed the format of citations on another paper.

Last year, McAdoo joined teammate Marvin Austin and Greg Little on a trip to Washington D.C., Austin’s hometown. McAdoo did not pay for his hotel stay nor did he pay a cover charge while visiting a club.

Those are just some of the facts. Long story short it appears McAdoo got too much help reformatting and correcting some papers he had written and accepted a total of $110 dollars in improper benefits.

McAdoo claims he was not guilty of all the accusations regarding his work with a tutor and the UNC Honor Court agreed, dropping all but one charge against him for which he has already been punished.

McAdoo also claims that Austin told him that he would be paying McAdoo’s portion of the hotel and club cover charge. This would not have been a violation except that apparently the money Austin had actually come from a prospective agent. The total portion McAdoo was responsible for was $99.

The other $11 of improper benefits came from the tutor having helped McAdoo with a paper despite the fact that she had already graduated. McAdoo claims he was unaware of her graduation and the NCAA values her help that day at $11.

McAdoo has since donated $110 to charity and sat out an entire football season. Despite this the NCAA has ruled him permanently ineligible to play college football.

The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime does it?

McAdoo didn’t cheat on a test or have someone write a paper for him, he got some help formatting citations for papers he wrote. McAdoo didn’t get a free car or an envelope full of cash, he let his teammate foot the bill on the hotel and club cover charge costs on a trip to his hometown.

For all this he gets the equivalent of the death penalty. If you ever wonder why I tell anyone that will listen that I despise the NCAA and the way they do business then wonder no more, this is why.

I will be excited to see what happens when the NCAA is forced to explain their path to such a harsh decision in front of a real judge. My hope is that the lawsuit against the university will prevent or deter the NCAA from taking their frustration with McAdoo out on North Carolina.

The last thing UNC wants is to appear in cahoots with McAdoo, despite the fact that they have publicly called his punishment far too severe and have appealed on his behalf.

The university may feel like it has to accept whatever punishment the NCAA hands down to them, however, McAdoo apparently does not and I say good for him. I look forward to seeing how the NCAA’s “because I said so” defense holds up in court.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at dave@gate811.net.