North Carolina Football Player Sues University and the NCAA

North Carolina Football Player Sues University and the NCAA

Michael McAdoo's lawsuit against the University of North Carolina and the NCAA could force changes in how universities and NCAA rule student-athletes ineligible.

Published July 6, 2011

A former University of North Carolina football player feels he was unjustly kicked off the team and declared permanently ineligible because of academic fraud so he is suing both the university and NCAA.


It’s not clear what damages defensive end Michael McAdoo is seeking, but his lawsuit is alleging libel and “gross negligence” on the parts of the school and the NCAA for ruling him ineligible based false information, according to the Associated Press.


This case has the potential to bring sweeping changes about how quickly a university declares an athlete ineligible. Last fall, the Tar Heels were hit with rash of NCAA issues ranging from academic fraud to players receiving illegal benefits from agents. The head coach and university acting by dismissing all players in question, likely without a thorough investigation into each alleged incident.


McAdoo, a junior,  does admit to committing one infraction of representing someone else’s work as his own. The school claims the academic misconduct was much more than a one-time incident, which prompted the drastic action of declaring him academically ineligible.


McAdoo also received $110 in improper benefits for a trip to Washington D.C. with teammates, for which he repaid the money and served a three-game suspension to begin last season. McAdoo claims he was under the impression that one of his teammates was handling the expenses for the trip which included a $89 hotel room and a $10 cover charge to a club, but it was an agent that took care of the expenses.


"All told, McAdoo has been declared permanently ineligible to play intercollegiate athletics because he received $110 in improper benefits (which he has since paid to charity), and because his university-assigned and trained tutor provided McAdoo with too much assistance ... for one class in the summer of 2009," McAdoo's complaint states. "This punishment is grossly disproportionate to the facts of McAdoo's case, and is inconsistent with the punishment meted out by the UNC Honor Court."


The school’s Honor Court suspended McAdoo for the spring semester, but allowed him to return to school for the summer semester and return to the football team in the fall. But the university and NCAA are taking a much harder stand.


North Carolina has been fairly silent about the lawsuit since it was filed, only offering that it is reviewing the filing. Apparently the school has said even less to McAdoo and his representative in recent months.


"We really did our best to resolve the issues without litigation," McAdoo’s attorney Noah H. Huffstetler III said. "But it became apparent that we had to file this lawsuit when we did for Mr. McAdoo to have any chance of playing this fall. ... We haven't received even the courtesy of a call back, no response whatsoever."


Contact Terrance Harris at or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

(Photo: AP Photo/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)

Written by Terrance Harris


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