The lawyer for the woman accused of giving North Carolina athletes grades for fake classes wants SEC commissioner Greg Sankey off the investigation.
Sankey, who serves as chairman of the NCAA infractions committee, is overseeing the case against UNC for an alleged academic fraud scandal. But the attorney for former UNC secretary Deborah Crowder believes Sankey has a “conflict of interest” since his conference competes against the ACC, according to The News & Observer’s Dan Kane.
“It is self-evident that Mr. Sankey’s position as Commissioner of the SEC creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest in this matter,” attorney Elliot Abrams said in a letter to the NCAA. “Thus, Mr. Sankey’s participation as a member of the hearing panel is improper under NCAA bylaws. He must be removed.”
UNC is under investigation for allegedly giving football and basketball players credit for fake classes in 2011. The NCAA has issued three different notices of allegations to the school. The latest notice included an allegation of unethical conduct by Crowder, and also classified the fake classes as an impermissible benefit for football and basketball players.
To back up his conflict of interest claims, Abrams pointed to the NCAA’s investigation into alleged academic misconduct at Auburn in 2006. Sankey represented the SEC in that matter, and the NCAA’s response wasn’t as severe as its actions in the UNC case.
“Because of the similarities between the allegations against Auburn and those at issue in this matter, we will likely highlight at the hearing the difference between the NCAA’s response in this case to the response in the Auburn investigation,” Abrams wrote.
Sankey has served as SEC commissioner since 2015, but served the conference in different capacities for a number of years before that.