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It’s been a rough year for the University of North Carolina, as it has been forced to pay out millions in fines and settlements after the NCAA’s Office of Civil Rights slapped the Tar Heels with sanctions for the NCAA cheating scandal.
Now, the NCAA is facing a lawsuit from the University, and the lawsuit is looking to bring the NCAA to court.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York today and was brought by two professors who say they were fired after they tried to tell the NCAA that their university had failed to abide by its own rules.
The professors are former UNC professor James “Jimmy” Gebhart and former professor Michael R. Gebhard, both of whom were hired by the university as part of a tenure-track position in 1998.
The professors claim they were terminated because of their efforts to inform the NCAA and the NCAA had failed in its obligation to disclose the violations to the UNC administration.
They say the NCAA was aware of the violations for months before they were disclosed to the university.
They say the violations occurred because of a “gross failure to disclose” by the UNC system.
This is the third time the UNC System has been under NCAA investigation.
The first two times were over improper payments by the athletic department to student-athletes.
The NCAA says those violations were serious enough to require sanctions.
In its lawsuit, the professors are asking for a jury trial in which it can prove the NCAA failed to disclose its own knowledge of the NCAA violations to its own members, as required by federal law.
According to the lawsuit, the university’s NCAA office did not alert the NCAA of the cheating until March 2, 1998, after it had been discovered by an independent researcher.
The UNC system was not notified until September 30, 1998.
The lawsuit says the university violated the federal “knowing and willfully disregarding” rule when it failed to notify the NCAA.
Gebhart, Gebhardt’s wife and co-author of a book about the scandal, told The Associated Press that they were aware of what was going on when they worked for the university in the early 2000s.
“We knew about the NCAA violation of the 1998-99 academic year,” Gebrey said.
“But we never thought we would have to go to court.”
Gembard said the university has a “long history of trying to cover up its wrongdoing.”
The UNC system also has a history of paying out millions of dollars in monetary sanctions to individuals who have committed NCAA violations, the lawsuit says.
The system has a $40 million contract with the University to pay $40,000 to an individual who committed NCAA-related violations.
UNC’s NCAA compliance director, Gary H. Gentry, told the AP that the university was not aware of any violations of NCAA rules until after the university had already paid its NCAA fines and settled its lawsuits with the NCAA, the University and the two professors.
He said the school’s compliance director had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by the institution prior to receiving a written report of the university’s compliance.
Hentry said in an email that the NCAA has the authority to penalize universities in violation of its rules, but it does not have the authority “to compel compliance.”
He also said that he did not have knowledge of a letter that was sent to UNC’s compliance department by NCAA president Mark Emmert on May 18, 1999.
As part of the agreement with the UNC and NCAA, Emmerts letter said that the school would pay $25 million to the two former professors, and $10 million to a third professor.
Emerts letters said that “any such financial relief will be limited to the value of the benefits that UNC will derive from this settlement and will not be used to settle any claims against the university.”
UNCI President Michael W. McNeill and President James L. Thomas said in a statement today that the UNC Board of Governors will consider a request for a judicial review.
McNeill said that it was “unacceptable that the University has taken a taxpayer-funded position of trust with an institution that has been convicted of multiple and grave NCAA violations and has not disclosed the fact to the NCAA.”
“I believe the University will be vindicated if the Court will rule in our favor and the University agrees to provide meaningful monetary relief,” McNeill said.
After the NCAA sanctions were handed down, UNC and its athletic department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.