Four years later, after an NCAA investigation discovered troubling information at North Carolina, the school has decided to mark receiver Hakeem Nicks’ school records with an asterisk because he played while academically ineligible as a senior.
In its investigation, the NCAA found that Hakeem Nicks — now a star receiver on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants — benefited from “academic fraud.” His violation: He received improper academic help in 2008 from a tutor implicated in the scandal at North Carolina, the Raleigh News and Observer reported.
In a sweeping discovery in March, the NCAA found UNC responsible for violations including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, participation by ineligible players and a failure to monitor the football program. UNC received three years’ probation and a ban from the 2012 postseason. The school also chose to vacate all 16 wins for 2008 and 2009, reduced nine scholarships over the next three academic years and put the program on two years of probation.
It was a stinging punishment but could have been worse; the level of improper conduct and lack of control was that widespread.
The school had not specifically acknowledged Hakeems’ ineligibility by adding an asterisk by his name in school records until Thursday.
Nicks, a speedy, sure-hand receiver, holds the Tar Heels’ record for career receiving touchdowns with 21, and TDs in a season with 12 in 2008. He also holds records for receiving yards in a career with 2,840, in a season with 1,222 in 2008, as well as the career receptions record with 181 and season record with 74 in 2007.
He was a first-round pick of the Giants in 2009 and has had an outstanding NFL career so far, helped lead them to a Super Bowl champion this season.
The asterisk next to Hakeem Nicks’ name will refer to a note that says “participation later vacated due to NCAA penalty,” the News and Observer reported.