After seeing the final score flash up on the TV screen: Duke 93 UNC 57, I had to take a few minutes to reflect back on the horrific 2015-16 basketball season that will finally be over in a few days for the Lady Heels at the ACC tournament.
I recalled back in January during an appearance at the Raleigh Sports Club (NC), UNC head women's basketball coach, Sylvia Hatchell stated: Source: Raleigh News and Observer
“There are no allegations against the women’s basketball program, it’s against the academic counselors that were counseling the players. But there’s no allegations against any of the coaches or any recruiting or anything with the program. So if there’s no allegations, how can there be penalties without allegations?" (I'm assuming Mr. Carter quoted based on the sound of Coach Hatchell's word)
Keep in mind, last spring, the NCAA sent The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) a Notice of Allegations (NOA) that charges the university with five violations. One of the allegations is specifically against Jan Boxill, the former women’s basketball academic counselor. The investigation concluded that Boxill, “knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes.”
In August, UNC self-reported two new NCAA violations involving women's basketball and men's soccer, these revelations delayed the university's response to a previous Notice of Allegations that found the university lacked institutional control. Many felt that this was a tactical maneuver to buy the university more time to figure out how to save the storied men's basketball program from major sanctions.
Due to the enormous amount of revenue generated by the men's basketball program, some including myself, have already come to the conclusion that the UNC women's basketball program will ultimately become the scapegoat and bear the brunt of the major sanctions imposed by the NCAA. Hatchell seems to disagree with that conclusion in front of the cameras, but she may clearly have a change of heart after finishing the 2015-16 regular season with a (14-17, 4-12 ACC) record.
Although both the UNC men and women's basketball programs have suffered recruiting wise due to these allegations, it's the women's basketball program that has suffered the most.
Amid the uncertainty surrounding the future of UNC women's basketball program, several of their best players transferred after the 2014-15 season. In fact, every member of the 4-player 2013 recruiting class, regarded as the best in the nation, left the program. The departures have left Hatchell with just 7 scholarship players.
Even though Hatchell and Roy Williams may very well indeed be telling the truth about what they did or didn't know, using the plausible deniability card is no longer an acceptable excuse.
Coach Hatchell has been the head women's basketball coach at UNC since 1986 and as much as I have grown to love and respect her, I feel that this should be her last season as the coach for the Lady Heels. I'm not insinuating that she could no longer be effective as a head basketball coach, but in my opinion, just no longer at UNC. That was clearly evident on Sunday.