University of Maryland President Wallace Loh says he thinks the NCAA's current investigation into former conference rival North Carolina would lead to a shutdown of athletic programs at the university.
Loh made the comments last week during a Maryland senate meeting last week.
"As president, I sit over a number of dormant volcanoes," Loh said last week, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. "One of them is an athletic scandal. It blows up, it blows up the university, its reputation, it blows up the president.
"For the things that happened in North Carolina, it's abysmal. I would think that this would lead to the implementation of the death penalty by the NCAA. But I'm not in charge of that."
Brian Ullmann, a University of Maryland spokesperson, said that Loh’s comments about North Carolina were “not a reflection of personal beliefs about the university or its leadership.”
North Carolina has been under investigation at one time or another since 2010, when the NCAA started looking into academic fraud concerning as many as 3,100 athletes in various sports over a two-decade period.
“We were surprised that a sitting university president with no direct knowledge of our case would choose to offer such uninformed and highly speculative opinions,” Joel Curran, UNC's Vice Chancellor of Communications wrote to the News & Observer. “Clearly, Dr. Loh misunderstands the facts of the case, and how NCAA bylaws apply to those facts. We are now preparing our response to a third Notice of Allegations and suggest he read it fully once it has been submitted to the NCAA and made public.”
Since sending North Carolina a Notice of Allegations in May 2015, the NCAA has revised it twice, with a third version of the notice coming last December.
The NCAA has implemented the "death penalty" only five times, with last Division I team being SMU's football program in 1987, after being repeat offenders for paying cash and giving other gifts to football players.
- Scooby Axson