UNC addresses alleged hazing incident

Aug. 26, 2014 @ 10:54 PM

North Carolina is dealing with yet another off-the-field issue.

A spokesman for the football team said that the school is investigating what Yahoo Sports called a “training camp hazing incident” that escalated into a “group assault” on walk-on wide receiver Jackson Boyer, a redshirt freshman from Chapel Hill.

“We are aware of an incident involving members of the UNC football team that took place earlier this month,” team spokesman Kevin Best said. “We take this allegation seriously and the University is conducting a thorough review.”

UNC coach Larry Fedora didn’t mention the allegation during his hour-long radio show Tuesday night, and declined to comment to reporters afterward. Boyer’s mother, Kimber, did not return a cell phone message seeking comment.

Boyer reportedly suffered a concussion because of the altercation, which took place at Aloft Chapel Hill, the team’s hotel during training camp. Boyer has continued to practice with the team since the incident.

The school’s policy states that “UNC expressly prohibits hazing or any activity that puts a student's physical, emotional or psychological health and safety at risk,” though it doesn’t specify any punishments.

Boyer (6-3, 195) joined the Tar Heels as a walk-on in 2013. At East Chapel Hill High, he was a two-time all-conference receiver, a three-time all-conference lacrosse player and finished fifth in a state diving meet.

The 23rd-ranked Tar Heels start their season Saturday against Liberty at Kenan Stadium, where they hope to continue the positive momentum from last season’s 6-1 finish.

Fedora was brought in after an NCAA investigation found that football players and an assistant coach received impermissible cash and gifts from sports agents and that other players committed academic fraud. That led to the firing of then-coach Butch Davis, the resignation of athletic director Dick Baddour and penalties that included a postseason ban in 2012.

The NCAA turned to the basketball team last season. Leading scorer and eventual first-round NBA Draft pick P.J. Hairston lost his eligibility and senior Leslie McDonald missed nine games when both players were caught accepting extra benefits.

In June, the NCAA announced that it was reopening its investigation into academic improprieties at UNC. The probe is believed to center around the African and Afro-American Studies Department, in which athletes comprised roughly half of the students enrolled in the hundreds of suspicious courses that did not meet.

Federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein was asked by UNC in February to conduct another investigation into the AFAM Department and to share any relevant information with the NCAA. Wainstein is expected to deliver a public report next month.