CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina has formally broken ties with the tutor linked to the ongoing NCAA investigation of its football program.
In a letter dated Nov. 5 and released Thursday, athletic director Dick Baddour informed Jennifer Wiley of Chapel Hill that the university had learned she provided "impermissible extra benefits'' to players, including about $2,000 in travel expenses this year. It also states she "provided impermissible academic assistance'' to some student-athletes in 2009 and 2010.
"As a result of your actions, the eligibility status of several of our student-athletes has been adversely affected,'' it states.
The letter insisted she have no contact with any student-athlete for five years. It bars her from the Kenan Football Center and other campus athletic facilities in any role outside that of as a member of the general public during that time.
Wiley didn't respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment Thursday, but Raleigh attorney Joe Cheshire issued a statement on her behalf saying she "acknowledges her role'' in the investigation. Cheshire said Wiley allowed a player to use a credit card for a transaction, then was "immediately repaid'' for that amount and "never knew this type of transaction was impermissible.''
"She gave several years of her life trying to uplift, educate and enhance the lives of student-athletes that she worked with and befriended,'' Cheshire said. "All of these young men were of the highest caliber. She did not intend for her work to 'provide impermissible academic assistance' and to the extent it did, she is deeply saddened, particularly as it has affected the young men she cared so much about.''
The NCAA began looking into agent-related benefits in the program over the summer before expanding the investigation to include possible academic violations involving Wiley, who also had worked as a tutor for coach Butch Davis' teenage son.
The school also said five people - including former UNC player and current New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks - provided "impermissible gifts of cash and jewelry and impermissible assistance'' with travel and entertainment expenses. Nicks, who left Chapel Hill for the NFL after his junior season in 2008, provided $3,300 in benefits, while former UNC players Omar Brown ($1,865) and Mahlon Carey ($140) also were listed.
The news release also mentions San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis ($20) and "a person from Miami whose full name is not known ($323).''
The school identified all five people in reinstatement requests sent to the NCAA as part of the process to clear players in the probe.
Brown previously was linked to the investigation when the NCAA suspended cornerback Kendric Burney for six games and safety Deunta Williams for four games. The two players had traveled to California to visit the former UNC safety, who Williams said they had befriended a few years earlier.
The school said the amount - totaling $5,648 between the five people - also includes the estimated value of lodging at their homes during visits. Some of those benefits were repaid by the players or hosts before they knew they had broken NCAA rules.
The school also said that while Nicks, Carey and Brown thought they were helping friends and former Tar Heels, "there is no evidence that links them to inappropriate relationships with agents, prospective agents or runners.''
Thirteen players sat out the opener against LSU due to the investigation, with six players sitting out the entire season. Three of those were either dismissed from the team or declared "permanently ineligible'' by the NCAA.
Five players have returned to game action, while a sixth - tailback Ryan Houston - was cleared to return after missing the first five games and had planned to redshirt. But Davis said this week Houston might return for the final three regular-season games after the Tar Heels lost leading rusher Johnny White to a broken collarbone and Shaun Draughn sprained an ankle.
Defensive lineman Michael McAdoo is the only player from the LSU group whose status is still in question. He hasn't played this season. Fullback Devon Ramsay played four games before the school decided to hold him out. He hasn't played since.
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