North Carolina University admitted on Thursday that New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was ineligible when he played his final season at the school in 2008, The Raleigh News and Observer reported.
According to NCAA documents, Nicks received improper academic help in spring 2008 from a tutor. The NCAA characterized what happened as "academic fraud" and placed the school on probation in March. The football team is barred from postseason play for the upcoming season, the university is losing scholarships for players, and 16 wins from 2008 and 2009 are being vacated.
"Regarding student-athlete 1 (Nicks), a review of email communications revealed that on April 21, 2008, the former tutor wrote conclusion paragraphs for five of student-athlete 1âs writing assignments in an education course," the NCAA infractions report says. "By the time the violations were discovered, student-athlete 1 was no longer enrolled at the institution, so no further action was taken."
Nicks, one of the stars of the Giants' Super Bowl run last season, could not be reached for comment, but his agent, Peter Schaffer, told the newspaper, "We have no knowledge of that whatsoever. Itâs low on the totem pole of relevant issues."
The Tar Heels will place asterisks beside Nicks' records in media guides and other university publications that note Nicks' "participation later vacated due to NCAA penalty."
It wasn't the first time Nicks' name has come up in a story about NCAA violations at North Carolina. In 2010, he was accused by his alma mater of providing $3,300 in improper benefits to North Carolina players.