Prospects were braced for the worst, but they barely flinched when the NCAA announced that North Carolina would lose 15 scholarships over three years, face a one-year postseason ban and be on probation for three years for extra benefits provided to players under former head coach Butch Davis.
“I'm glad it doesn't affect me and I'm still solid on my commitment,” said receiver Jordan Fieulleteau from Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield, who committed to the Tar Heels in February. “I just feel bad that coach [Larry] Fedora and everyone else has to suffer from someone else's selfish mistakes.
“[They are] less harsh than I thought it would be,” he said. “I'm glad it's only a one year thing.”
Fieulleteau is one of four UNC commits and they are all in-state prospects. It's clearly a good start for Fedora, who is in his first year at North Carolina and must keep local talent close to home to be successful in Chapel Hill. The state is known for producing top prospects who often end up elsewhere.
Now, Fedora and staff should be able to keep that momentum going since the sanctions will have little effect on the prospects in the 2013 signing class and beyond.
“I really feel for the upperclassmen because even if they had a breakout season, you know there's nothing that can be done,” said Albemarle (N.C.) High School OT R.J. Prince. “Even though it won't affect me, you have to be a little worried. But you know we could have gotten worse.”
Tar Heel commitments have dubbed themselves the “2013 Dream Team” in order to generate excitement with Fedora's first full class. While in-state talent will be key, North Carolina's class will also have to land some out-of-state talent to truly be worthy of their moniker.
Ryan Switzer from Charleston (W.V.) George Washington is a prime target. The ESPNU Watch List athlete prospect has offers from all over the country, but has shown strong interest in North Carolina because he has family nearby. He is set to visit North Carolina later this month and the Tar Heels are clearly in good position and that hasn’t changed despite the sanctions.
“That was the old UNC I feel like,” he said. “The new coaches they have and ones they kept I feel have the program on the right track.”
Fedora and the Tar Heel coaches are working to make sure other 2013 prospects feel the same way.