UNC women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell suspended for two games

Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network
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Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network
Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell will serve a two-game suspension as announced by the UNC Athletics Department on Friday.

Hatchell will serve a one-game University-issued suspension from coaching against N.C. State on Sunday as a result of making contact with an official during the Tar Heels’ 71-55 loss against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium back on Jan. 24th.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) also suspended Hatchell for a separate game for a Level III violation of rules pertaining to activities that simulated game day introductions of prospects during an official visit.

Assistant women’s basketball coach Tracey Williams-Johnson will serve a one-game NCAA suspension for that same violation of rules pertaining to an official visit.

Hatchell will not be on the sidelines when the Tar Heels play at N.C. State on Jan. 31st and at Boston College on February 7th.

Williams-Johnson will not coach during UNC’s game against Louisville on February 4th.

Associate head coach Andrew Calder will lead the team during Hatchell’s absence.

“I place a high value on sportsmanship for myself, my team and the University,” Hatchell stated in the departmental release.

“My actions at Duke were out of character and do not reflect the deep respect for our sport and its officials. And we unintentionally broke a rule during a recruiting visit, a mistake we will not make again. I accept responsibility for these mistakes and look forward to returning for the remainder of the year to coach this incredible group of women.”

The University imposed the one-game suspension of Hatchell for making contact with an official which resulted in a technical foul after consultation with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The suspension is consistent with previous disciplinary measures taken by member institutions for unsportsmanlike behavior.

As per the departmental release, “the NCAA suspensions relate to Bylaw which states schools are not permitted to arrange a game day simulation for prospects at an event associated with an official visit. The specific violation occurred in the manner in which prospects were introduced at a team function, which simulated pregame introductions.”

“We have tremendous respect for Coach Hatchell, but it’s important that we hold ourselves accountable for issues involving sportsmanship and compliance, even when mistakes are made inadvertently,” director of athletics Bubba Cunningham stated in the release.

“Each of us in the athletic department will learn valuable lessons from these situations and hopefully avoid missteps such as these in the future.”