Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 9
Dan Kane and Andrew Carter of the newsobserver.com report that the UNC police report about a possible Jackson Boyer assault contained misleading info:
UNC-Chapel Hill’s police chief Jeff McCracken now acknowledges the report was inaccurate, but he said the mistakes were inadvertent. The department has filed a corrected report and updated the crime log.
“If there was some effort to cover this up,” McCracken said in an interview this week, “a report never would have been filed.”
Jonathan Jones, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition at Elon University and a former state prosecutor, said he accepts the chief’s explanation for the erroneous reporting. But he said the report still failed in fulfilling the police department’s obligations under state and federal law to accurately report a possible crime.
“It’s still inadequate,” Jones said of the report, “and it certainly feeds into that perception that when it comes to athletics at the University of North Carolina, the university is not going to be forthcoming when problems arise.”
Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
Inside Carolina's Greg Barnes has more details on the incident:
The UNC football team stayed at the hotel for training camp from July 31 until the start of the fall semester on Aug. 19.
On the evening of Aug. 4, four defensive backs – sophomores Des Lawrence and Brian Walker and freshmen Donnie Miles and M.J. Stewart – entered the hotel room of redshirt freshman walk-on receiver Jackson Boyer and his roommate with the intent to douse them, according to a source.
Boyer reacted strongly to the attempt, an altercation ensued and he suffered an eye injury and possibly a concussion, according to sources. Boyer returned to practice the following day.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28
Harold Guttman of the Herald Sun provides comments from Cole Boyer's brother, who spoke about the UNC investigation:
UNC coach Larry Fedora announced Wednesday evening that four players will be suspended for the first game of the season for “a violation of team rules.”
Fedora’s announcement came one day after a Yahoo report described a group assault on redshirt freshman wide receiver Jackson Boyer at the team’s hotel, Aloft Chapel Hill.
“UNC Football is actively covering up both players involved and the extent of the violence that occurred on 8/4/14,” Cole Boyer, Jackson’s older brother, wrote on Twitter. “4 players isn’t even 25% of group that assaulted my brother, leaving him unconscious and badly concussed.”
A source close to the family said that the Boyers have hired an attorney. Boyer, who graduated from East Chapel Hill, is still practicing with the team.
The North Carolina Tar Heels football program is under internal investigation for a reported hazing occurrence, which then allegedly culminated in a physical confrontation.
Eric Adelson and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported news of the alleged fall training camp event on Tuesday. Assistant athletic director for communications Kevin Best addressed the hazing issue through a statement that was included in Yahoo Sports' exclusive story.
"We are aware of an incident involving members of the UNC football team that took place earlier this month. We take this allegation seriously and the University is conducting a thorough review," said Best in the statement.
It is unclear which members of the team were allegedly involved in inflicting the assault, but the one who reportedly caught the brunt of it was walk-on receiver Jackson Boyer.
Head coach Larry Fedora was asked about the investigation according to Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer:
Asked Fedora if there was a reason he couldn't comment. "Yes." Which is? "I just can't comment."— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) August 27, 2014
Sources told Adelson and Forde that the redshirt freshman suffered a concussion in an altercation at Chapel Hill's A-Loft hotel in the first week of August.
Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer offered his take on the matter:
Feel bad for the freshman walk-on. He's going to get blamed by people for all this for getting concussed.— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) August 26, 2014
This Tar Heels program has undergone adversity outside of this severe case in recent years. UNC had its wins from 2008 and 2009 vacated, along with three years' probation and a 2012 postseason ban as part of NCAA sanctions for various rules violations.
The UNC athletic department has been under fire as much as any in the country—for its more highly regarded basketball program, too. An investigation into academic fraud was reopened this summer.
Former Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin brought to light a bullying saga that shook the franchise and raised awareness about the concept. Player safety, particularly with regard to head injuries, has been an emphatic area of focus at all levels of football to make the game safer.
Boyer's case encompasses the worst of both worlds. Not only was there an apparent negligence to Boyer's well-being with regard to his alleged injury, but this report documents a nightmare scenario of alleged hazing that was not addressed at all, by the team or an alternative party.
While it is a positive development for North Carolina to look into this matter, there appears to have been some deference, delay and a dereliction of duty for the alleged events to unfold this way.