Correction: Little was a walk-on for the basketball team during the 2007-08 season, not '08-09. He played in 10 games.
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little’s NCAA violations – which resulted in the senior being dubbed permanently ineligible this morning – occurred after his stint as a walk-on for North Carolina’s basketball team during the 2007-08 Final Four season, athletic director Dick Baddour said today.
Little and defensive end Robert Quinn were declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA for violations of agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct issues. The school will not appeal. Meanwhile, senior defensive end Marvin Austin was kicked off the team for similar issues, and UNC will not ask the NCAA to reinstate him.
Austin took extra benefits in the $10,000 to $13,000 range, Baddour said. According to the facts submitted by the university, the total value of the benefits was approximately $4,952 for Little and $5,642 for Quinn.
Addressing the media in advance of Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis' weekly news conference, Baddour addressed a variety of questions related to the NCAA investigation:
* Asked why the school opted not to appeal the cases of Quinn and Little – as they did earlier this month with defensive backs Deunta Williams and Kendric Burney, who were suspended for four and six games, respectively – Baddour said “there’s no strength in the case to appeal.”
* Baddour also said he regrets that he didn’t dismiss Quinn and Little from the team two weeks ago before the reinstatement process, as he did with Austin.
“That could have been an action that I would have taken, and would have had complete support of Coach [Butch] Davis. We were certainly wrapped up in the NCAA process, and we were concerned that the students be treated fairly. But that’s an action I could have taken, just like we took with Marvin … and I think it was a mistake not to.”
* Does that mean he knew two weeks ago that Quinn and Little had lied to the NCAA – as the NCAA said the duo did, during three separate interviews?
“No," Baddour said. "[But] I think I knew enough. I won’t draw a conclusion in an absolute way. But I feel like I knew enough that I could have taken that action. But I think that it was important that the NCAA process work. And I think part of that was the fairness to those young men, that the process work. So I’m just making that comment."
* Acknowleging that “there’s a lot of smoke around here” for the NCAA to look into, Baddour said he’s going to “fight the institutional control issues” because of the systems the school had in place. Does that mean he’s now concerned that the NCAA will find a lack of institutional control?
“I'm not fearful. I acknowledge that they have to ask those questions. And we have to anticipate that they're going to ask those questions and we have to be ready for that.
"That's what stage three [of the school’s investigation] is about, so I'm not going to — we're not going to operate this program, he's not going to operate this football program, out of fear. We're going to operate this program in a first-class way, about doing things the right way and make adjustments and we will make adjustments and we'll move forward."
* The school has now finished going through all the football players for academic improprieties, Baddour said, meaning fullback Devon Ramsay — who was withheld from Saturday's game, after playing in the first four —should be the last one who has to go through an individual academic investigation.
* Baddour said they are growing closer to having the agent side of the investigation complete, although it's not over, yet.