North Carolina will vacate all 16 football victories from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, reduce three scholarships in each of the next three academic years, and put its program on two years of probation as self-imposed penalties following an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct.
It's a good start, but it's unlikely the end of sanctions for North Carolina. Until the NCAA weighs in at the hearing on Oct. 28, this story isn't over.
The NCAA accused North Carolina of nine major violations in a case which heightened the awareness of the involvement of agents in college football. The lengthy duration of this case hasn't diminished the severity of these allegations. North Carolina didn't include any postseason bans, but it would be surprising if the NCAA didn't tack that on. By comparison, keep in mind that the NCAA reduced USC's scholarships by 10 for three years. Georgia Tech, which had violations that paled in comparison, is on four years probation.
The vacation of the wins is fair, but it's not like we're talking about bowl wins or championships. North Carolina beat four ranked teams over those two respectable seasons, but the Tar Heels did not win a bowl game or play for the ACC title.
North Carolina was diligent in its lengthy, detailed response to the NCAA, but it probably wasn't harsh enough in its response to its own transgressions.