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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina self-reported an NCAA violation because it found that football players were selling shoes, athletics director Bubba Cunningham says.
The news of the NCAA violation was first reported by WRAL, after UNC players and Coach Larry Fedora appeared Wednesday at the ACC's annual football media days in Charlotte.
Cunningham said he didn't know offhand how many players were selling shoes.
"There were a number of students," Cunningham said. "Off the top of my head I don't have it right in front of me, but all the penalties will be determined within the next couple of weeks."
UNC's season will start Sept. 1 at California.
The news of the violation also comes less than a year after the NCAA wrapped up a multiyear investigation into whether many of UNC's athletes benefited from African American Studies courses that never met and required little work. UNC was not penalized after the conclusion of that investigation.
The most recent violation was deemed "a secondary violation," which is considered minor. But Cunningham said it was possible that players could be facing suspension.
UNC said it self-reported the violation upon learning about it in February. According to NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52, "Items Received for Participation in Intercollegiate Athletics," "An item received for participation in intercollegiate athletics may not be sold or exchanged or assigned for another item of value."
"It's disappointing," Cunningham said. "You know we do a great job. I think our compliance office does a great job with education, and students know the rules, and occasionally we make mistakes. We had a couple of students who made some mistakes, and there's obviously penalties associated with that."
Cunningham said the school found out about it through social media and immediately looked into it.
"In 24 hours we had it contained and we supplied it to the NCAA as quickly as we could," he said.
According to NCAA.org, the rule outlining possible secondary-violation penalties includes possible fines, vacation of records and scholarship reductions.
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