A visibly furious N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien reacted angrily this morning to comments made about N.C. State by North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers.
During a taped segment with Joe Ovies on 99.9 The Fan that aired Wednesday, Withers took jabs at N.C. State’s academics and said recruits in the state need to know that UNC is the flagship university.
O’Brien responded by referring to UNC officials’ trip to Indianapolis last Friday to appear in front of the Committee on Infractions to answer charges of nine major violations in an ongoing NCAA investigation of impermissible benefits and academic fraud
“Here is a guy that’s on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis,” O’Brien said at his regularly scheduled post-practice media availability. “. . .If you take three things that you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff. You’re paying your players. And you have academic fraud. That’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes. So I don’t know that he has anything to talk about or they have anything to talk about. If that’s what people want in their flagship university in North Carolina, then so be it.”
He was asked what he meant by “paying your players.” He indicated that he was referring to the impermissible benefits players received.
“They had players accepting money from somebody,” O’Brien said. “I mean, money is being given from someone to somebody, that’s been documented, right? I don’t know how it got there. Maybe I’m wrong saying that. But those are no-nos as far as the NCAA goes.”
Withers had said recruits need to look at North Carolina’s graduation rates for football players compared to N.C. State’s.
“You’ll see a difference,” Withers said. “. . .If you look at the educational environment here, I think you’ll see a difference.”
According to data provided by the NCAA, North Carolina’s football team had a graduation success rate of 75 percent for the freshman class of 2004, compared to 56 percent for N.C. State.
North Carolina’s federal graduation rate, which does not count transfers or players who left early, was 58 percent compared to 50 percent for N.C. State.
O’Brien said N.C. State’s graduation rate is improving and applauded the school’s academic support program for athletes getting certified in 2010 by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
“At our school, A number one, all classes have a syllabus,” O’Brien said. “Our guys go to school. They’re not given grades, and they graduate. It’s a little tougher here, if you have to go to school and you’re expected to have a syllabus and go to class. So I think all our guys earn everything they get here. Certainly our graduates earn everything at this university.”