NCAA clears UNC's Devon Ramsay

Updated: February 17, 2011, 11:23 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The NCAA has reversed its ruling that North Carolina's Devon Ramsay is permanently ineligible and has cleared the fullback to return next season.

In a release, the school said Thursday night that the NCAA has determined Ramsay committed no violation of NCAA rules after receiving new information from the school.

Ramsay played the first four games before he was held out by the school after being caught up in the NCAA's investigation of possible academic misconduct within the football program. Ramsay will have one season of eligibility left.

"Devon's delighted and his mother is ecstatic," said Robert Orr, a former North Carolina Supreme Court judge who had been advising the Ramsay family. "I have to say UNC has been really good about working with us. I think they recognized from the beginning that something was wrong here."

The school hadn't specified a reason for the original ruling, though privacy laws would've prevented it from discussing any player's involvement in the academic probe. The NCAA also investigated agent-related benefits connected to several players during last season.

Orr had said previously the focus was a three-page paper written two years ago and "minor revisions" suggested by tutor Jennifer Wiley through e-mail. Orr had said Ramsay didn't remember whether he included some or any of the changes. While academic issues were mainly handled by the student judicial system in the investigation, Orr had said the student attorney general decided not to submit Ramsay's case to the honor court.

Still, the school checked with the NCAA, which eventually ruled Ramsay permanently ineligible.

"The way the process works was kind of a perfect storm so that one minute it doesn't seem like much, then the next minute there's a determination that there's a violation and it's all about reinstatement," Orr said Thursday night. "Devon just got caught in a bad process."

In a statement, athletic director Dick Baddour said school officials were "delighted" for Ramsay and that it was "the right decision."

In all, 14 players missed at least one game due to the probes. Seven missed the entire season, while an eighth was cleared to return at midseason but decided to redshirt.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press