Choose a blog

UNC football team not disclosing whether Coples to be disciplined

Bookmark and Share

CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina interim football coach Everett Withers declined to say this morning whether Tar Heels defensive lineman Quinton Coples would be punished by the team for a sign-out policy mistake that eventually led to the All-ACC player being interviewed by the NCAA.

Watch video of Withers' comments about Coples.

“The sign-out sheet policy is an internal policy that we have, so anything that happens will be an internal issue in how we handle it,’’ Withers said today. “As you guys all know, Quinton was cleared by the NCAA, so that issue goes away. No, what we do is handle anything internally in the family.”

Coples said he filed a sign-out sheet in May when he left campus – a policy instituted during the spring semester to track football players' whereabouts whenever they leave campus for 24 hours or more. The team instituted the policy after UNC lost Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Greg Little for the entire 2010 season after it was determined they had accepted trips and improper, agent-related benefits.

The problem, Coples said Thursday, was that he did not inform the team that he would be attending Austin’s NFL draft party in Washington, D.C.

NCAA investigators returned to Chapel Hill to interview Coples after a Washington magazine posted pictures from the party on its website. Several of the photos depicted Coples alongside Quinn, Austin and former teammate Michael McAdoo, who was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for academic misconduct.
“I signed out, but it was an adjustment that I had to make that I didn’t make, which was to inform them that I was going to the party outside the place I was actually going,’’ Coples said. “ … I told them where I was going, which I did go to, but when I made that adjustment to go to the party, I just didn’t let anyone know. And that’s when the whole situation came up.”

The NCAA eventually told UNC that Coples did not commit any violations, but given that 14 players were held out of at least one game last season because of the NCAA investigation, it made for a stressful situation.

"I didn't think anything was going to happen,’’ Coples said. “I was just going to celebrate with my former teammates that had just gotten drafted. I felt like some people took things into a different perspective and saw something different and tried to make the situation bigger than what it was. At the end of the day, I was cleared, and I thank God for that and we're moving on.

"That was definitely a learning experience for me."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I'm saddened, but not surprised...

That out of 5 posts concerning UNC in the last two days only one dealt with the actual team's preparation on the field. I guess even if the majority of fans (UNC fans, that is) are ready to start paying attention to football this blog just will not allow it. Oh well, I guess they're working off that debt to PP for all the investigative work. hehe... that's just not right, but if it's wrong I just don't want to be right.


We have found the perfect song to represent current conflict between the academic and athletic constituencies at UNC.

Queue the Luther Ingram version with revised lyrics:

"If loving UNC football is wrong, I don't want to be right!".

I'm not familiar with that song..

but if it has a beat... I'll dance to it.


I must be just a little bit older than you are.


but I have been labeled a little childish. To be honest, that style of music is not one of my favorites. Also, I'm not one to speak directly about another school in a disparaging way. I know folks have a lot of pride. I think that's what started this. If I'm wrong I just don't want to be right!

Style of music

Not mine either, but there was a time when it was on the radio all the time. It was one of those that once you heard it, you couldn't get it out of your head. Whether you liked it or not.

Not a great start

One of the new coach's first actions is to shield a guy who violated his own team rules. This is a relatively minor thing, but it doesn't exactly scream to the heavens that UNC has reformed and is going to start respecting rules. They don't even respect their own rules, apparently.

Hate to defend UNC

But have to in this case.

It is typical for programs to take this position when team rules are violated. TOB would do (and has done), the same thing.

Just a loose, undisciplined

Just a loose, undisciplined program that Butch Davis started - now see how long it takes to clean it up.

N&O = Embittered, Back-Biting Ex-Spouse

This story confirms they are going out of their way to cast the Tar Heels in a bad light at every turn, like an embittered "ex" would do.  Not signing a sign-out sheet?  Jump all over it, N&O!

deems may

is that you?

or maybe its Eddy Landreth jumping up and down like a little kid because no one will attribute his widely available story to him.  At least now he knows how the authors might feel who get their books and lectures copied verbatim by UNC Swahili Students

N&O, Please do a better job

N&O, Please do a better job of noting what is "newsworthy" for the whole state to see, and what is simply a matter of internal discipline. Sometimes I think if  a signup sheet were posted next to the bathroom at the practice field and someone forgot to sign it, the N&O would print it.

What's wrong with Coples going to this party?

Step back for a moment...what was wrong with Coples going to this party in the first place?  Nothing.

A teammate and friend was just drafted into the NFL, and is having a party to celebrate.  What is wrong with (a) Austin having such a party, or (b) undergrads on the football team at UNC attending the party?

Take this out of the context of college football for a moment.  A fraternity brother lands a highly-sought-after job with an investment bank on Wall Street.  A college roommate is accepted into law school at Yale.  A swim teammate makes the US Olympic team.

In any of these situations, no one would even bat an eye at a party, or at attending that party.  Of course you'd want to celebrate with that friend.

Only in the NCAA does this become, somehow, a reason to launch an investigation, or to impose internal punishments.  The NCAA Bylaws stand common sense on its head.

Way out of touch

Nobody is in trouble for simply going to a party, nor should they be.  You obviously don't even know what is going on here, so let me fill you in...


The NCAA never said that going to the party was a violation.  They are concerned about players receiving improper benefits at these parties.  That's why they checked up on Coples, and apparently deemed that he did not receive any benefits and therefore was good to go.  Considering the fact that this investigation first blew up over an agent party in Miami, I think everyone should be able to understand why the NCAA checked up on Coples.

As far as internal punishment goes, that has nothing to do with the NCAA.  This is about Coples providing false information in UNC's recently created sign-out sheet system.  UNC is the one who will decide whether or not to punish Coples, and they certainly won't have to tell the public whatever they choose to do.

beeferoni:  The NCAA sent a

beeferoni:  The NCAA sent a letter to Coples warning him about pro parties and agents.  UNC was under investigation for multiple instances of agent tampering so this was a very salient point that the NCAA made.  Then he lied about where he was going to UNC officials who (should have) warned him about the same thing.  Then he got caught on camera mugging it with his friends.


I guess you're right.  There's nothing wrong with that.

But why should the NCAA care

But why should the NCAA care if Coples, or any student athlete, goes to a party?

I get the whole thing about not taking improper benefits, etc.  Fine.  Coples needs to pay his own way to the party.  If it's at a club and there's a cover charge, he needs to pay the cover charge.  If the drinks aren't free for everyone, he needs to buy his own drinks.

But this idea that the NCAA believes it can ban college football players from having any contact with their friends/teammates who have gone pro is wrong on so many levels.  On April 1, the NCAA didn't care if Coples hung out with Austin.  On April 15, it became reason for an investigation.

Because the NCAA cannot

Because the NCAA cannot trust the athletes at UNC at this point to be doing the right thing. , and so they are paying close attention.


Makes a lot of sense to anyone not drinking light blue cool aid, or basically any reasonable person.

and this sign-out policy?

And, BTW, this sign-out policy at UNC...ridiciulous.

These aren't middle school kids on a field trip.  These are adults, who are free to make their own decisions.  Indeed, college is about helping these young people learn to make good decisions, and to live with the consequences of those decisions.

The idea that the football team has to check in with the Athletic Department any time any of them leaves campus for a day is nuts...especially in the off-season.  What business is it of UNC to know where Coples was on a Sunday night in April?  Seriously...why is that UNC's business?

Liberals believe they know

Liberals believe they know what's best for you and you don't know how to run your life.  In actuality, they are really just after the money and don't want their money train ruined.

"Liberals believe they know

"Liberals believe they know what's best for you and you don't know how to run your life"

What the F....does this have to do with this comment stream. Talking about drinking the Kool Aid. This is the kind of comment that makes us true conservatives apopletic. 


Recovery from jet lag is now complete.

Welcome back!

thanks JPD Its a record jet

thanks JPD

Its a record jet lag recovery I must admit. I was really out of it, from a news point of view, while I was gone. Didn't even know about the riots in Britain, the budget debacle, Baddours resignation, and so forth. Somehow refreshing.. and so was the weather.....79 day 55 night. I had to wear a fleece one night. Amazing huh? 

Simple answer

Because UNC put this ridiculous system in place in an attempt to please the NCAA, and I'd bet the NCAA saw right through that weak attempt.  Looks like it kinda backfired on UNC anyways...perhaps another reason for some of you to be calling for Thorp's head.

Heelsforever, there is a

Heelsforever, there is a huge academic scandal at UNC-CHeat and they are doing everything they can to cover it up.

here we go again

thank you n & o---just another simple story from a simple minded newspaper

This is not news!

This is not news. Our national economy is news. The trials and tribulations of glorified athletes is a waste of time.


this is the sports section.  I would trust if you were actually worried about the economy you wouldn't be reading the section.

Back from La, le land and my

Back from La, le land and my head is spinning, not just from jet lag, but all that happened while I was gone. BD and Baddour gone! Just amazing. I am glad they chose to retain Withers and keep the staff intact for the kids. I suspect the team will be just fine. 


Sweezy's discipline was handled internally, right?

And Q Cope, son, lots of people are watching you and your teammates like hawks now hoping you will slip up. Please be smarter next time. Come January you will be able to go anywhere you please without having to ask a single soul. Just be patient!


All of the players who were caught with Performance Enhancing Weed were not only disciplined internally but had to sit out the first game.

Look we all know that game was against Western Carolina, State and any other ACC school wins that game 99.9% of the time, but the point is that they were made to sit out the game.  It was publicly humiliating regardless of opponent.

Quan Sturdivant didn't sit any games and was caught with Performance Enhancing Weed as well.

Lol nice.  Performance

Lol nice.  Performance enhancing weed...I like that.


Looks like the Heels fans couldn't resist bringing up their "non-rival", NC State, yet again.  They must be obsessed with the Wolfpack.

Not obsessed

Not obsessed with the Wolpfack, but I do take exception when people throw objects in their glass houses. Convince me that not telling your coaches that you are going to a party deserves the same punishment as someone who commits real crimes.

Come on

Come on izzy. You know that's not the point. The point is that Pack fans are already complaining that "handled internally" means nothing will happen. Well, there is a new coach in town and no one knows how he will handle it. He may in fact handle it just like Butch did...or didn't, but you don't know that yet. Would it have been fair to assume TOB was going to handle issues just like Chuckles did? No. If the first game comes and goes without Coples receiving punishment, then maybe you'll have something to complain about. However, one JR Sweezy had assault and theft charges dropped and then a short time later he had pot charges dropped on a technicality. Model citizen? I don't know, but I think you and all State fans who are honest would agree that not telling your coaches that you were going to a party is not nearly as bad as assault or any criminal charge for that matter. Coples transgression may not warrant a game suspension. That is not up to me to decide and fortunately it is not up to Pack fans to decide.

its not that

It's not that Coples went to a party.  Coples said he just happened to be in DC at the same time as this party (and didn't tell a coach he was going to the party; you'll have to forgive me if i don't believe that, nor anyone else), but it wasn't just a party.  It was a party that the NCAA had sent letters warning these same students about attending.  It was also a party with Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn, and McAdoo (I guess Greg Little was running late getting license plates), these aren't just ANY people.  They are the people, remember, WHO BROUGHT DOWN UNC FOOTBALL IN 2010; these people CAUSED THE GREATEST COACH IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO GET FIRED FOR NO REASON.  If its me, and one of my teammates ruined our season like that, it'd be all I could do to not punch them repeatedly, and at the very least, I'm not going to a party that they're holding.  Does ANYONE not see how bad it looks for Coples even if he didn't do anything wrong and went by the book?  His presence at that party condoned everything those other cheaters did.

Coples going to this party proved, beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt, that the only thing UNC is sorry for is that they got caught!

good to see they are

good to see they are learning their lesson over there. hard to believe that Coples didn't think that going to the party might raise questions - and that not following the policy that was put in place in response to the NCAA violations was even worse. "handling internally" a transgression that can easily be perceived as "nothing has changed" is NOT the correct response with the NCAA  and the public looking over your shoulder. so as an "ABCer", I'm happy to see it.

no smoking gun

I appreciate why any tidbit is "news" on this subject right now but "handling internally" IS the correct answer for this issue now.   I always realize ABCers will scream otherwise. .... so much of this kabuki dance is 100% predictable.

I don't blame you Robbie

But you've had this story tucked in your back pocket since May just waiting for a time when you had nothing else to write; a filler if you will.

I doubt we will see any kind of action taken that is publicly discussed. I'm sure he ran some stairs like Toby would do to his players for drugs and steroids.

Obsessed with NC

Obsessed with NC always.

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

Robbi Pickeral has covered ACC sports for The News & Observer since 2003. She can be reached at