May 29, 2010: North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin tweets a line from Rick Ross’s “Ten Jesus Pieces.” At the time, it’s highly doubtful Austin was actually at LIV.
Oct. 13, 2017: The NCAA announces it won’t sanction UNC for academic concerns it probably wouldn’t know about if not for Austin’s tweet about Rick Ross’s bottles at Club LIV.
It’s a long and winding road between these two events, but yep, they’re related.
The full, enormous, bloated UNC vs. NCAA timeline is here, but here’s how we jumped from there to here:
- The NCAA interviews Austin a month later about his alleged residence in one of the world’s most prominent nightclubs.
- A month after that, UNC’s own investigation into the matter uncovers football academic infractions. A tutor was allegedly writing papers for players, including Austin.
- Assistant football coach John Blake is found to have had improper dealings with agents (again involving Austin), several players are suspended, Austin is booted, pro Heels are alleged to have given thousands of dollars to current Heels, we learn Austin really was making some well-financed travel (albeit probably not into Rick Ross’s private suite), and so on.
- June 2011, 13 months after the LIV tweet, the NCAA announces its found violations! Specifically, lots of academic fraud, along with several thousand in impermissible benefits.
- A month later, UNC fires football head coach Butch Davis, reportedly over the academic stuff.
- Sept. 2011: UNC sanctions its football program, vacating its 2008 and 2009 seasons, among other punishments that lasted through 2014 — years before the NCAA got around to wrapping this whole thing up.
- March 2012: The NCAA tacks on a bowl ban and probation status through 2015, which was two years ago.
- June 2012: More than two years after Austin’s tweet, we finally learn about the alleged sham classes being attended by athletes. And this is how we eventually jump to basketball!
- June 2014: More than four years after Austin’s tweet, the NCAA re-opens its investigation, reportedly due to some folks finally being willing to talk. A former Heels basketball player claims he took fake classes, for example.
- Oct. 2014: UNC releases one of its several third-party investigations, this one saying hundreds of athletes took the “shadow curriculum,” including 1,189 football and basketball players.
- Nov. 2014: Attention turns to the Heels’ 2005 national championship basketball team, whose players were enrolled in 35 of the classes in question.
- Aug. 2015: More than five years after Austin’s tweet, UNC announces it’s found unspecified women’s basketball and men’s soccer violations. This delays the NCAA’s final round of sanctions.
- Oct. 2017: More than seven years after Austin’s tweet, the NCAA says it can’t prove the fraud classes were only meant for athletes, meaning this isn’t really a sports concern. Seven years! Not really a sports thing!
And now, someone in Chapel Hill is probably popping a bottle, meaning the deadly cycle can start anew.