Local/State

UNC players racked up thousands in tickets

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The ABC11 I-Team began poring over a new batch of documents related to the NCAA investigation of UNC's football program Thursday and learned players racked up thousands in parking tickets during a 3-year period prior to August 2010.

There were 395 total parking tickets issued to the students by campus police. The penalties ranged from $15 to $250 and totaled more than $13,000. The car makes included at least one BMW, Range Rover, and Acura. Many cars were ticketed multiple times.

ABC11 requested records for 11 players: Charles Brown, Kendric Burney, Bruce Carter, Ryan Houston, Dwight Jones, Donte Paige-Moss, Robert Quinn, Kevin Reddick, Greg Little, Johnny White, and Deunta Williams.

Click here to read the records (.pdf)

UNC said the information it released shows each car receiving a ticket was registered either to the student, a parent, grandparent, or a fellow student. It said not all 11 players got tickets, but was not specific.

The school said student-athletes at Carolina do not receive special treatment when it comes to parking.

"The student-athletes are expected to pay their parking fines, just like any other student, faculty, staff member or visitor. If a student accrues too many unpaid tickets, the University puts them on a payment plan. If they don’t meet the payment plan, the University puts a 'hold' on his or her account, and the student cannot register for class," it said in a statement.

The school gave the documents to the media after the North Carolina Court of Appeals denied a petition Wednesday to delay the release.

ABC11 and other media organizations sued for access to the records - including un-redacted phone records of UNC's athletic director Dick Baddour, head football coach Butch Davis and former assistant coach John Blake.

A lower court judge ordered the records released in May, but UNC appealed. The university claimed the records were protected by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

It all relates to the investigation of the university's football program for allegations of inappropriate benefits and gifts from agents, along with academic misconduct.

Former assistant coach John Blake stepped down from his UNC job in September, 2010 after his relationship with pro agent Gary Wichard came to light.

Records released Thursday show roughly 490 phone calls between Blake's cell phone and Wichard from 2009 to 2010.

Blake's lawyers have denied that the former Tar Heels coach acted as a recruiter for Wichard, and said money he took from the agent was loans and gifts. Blake said he stepped down because he "was becoming a distraction."

Tar Heels head coach Butch Davis denied any knowledge of Blake's contacts with Wichard in statements and interviews last year.

Wichard, the prominent sports agent who was the inspiration for the movie, "Jerry Maguire," died in March after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 60.

Fourteen players missed at least one game last season due to the investigation - including Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Robert Quinn. Seven were ruled out for the entire year, while an eighth was cleared at midseason but decided to redshirt.

Earlier this month, the NCAA sent the school a formal notice of inquiry for issues related to the football program.

A second part of the NCAA investigation looked into whether players got improper support from a tutor to complete their coursework.

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