Q&A: Lee Roberts Addresses Realignment, Potential House Settlement

North Carolina's interim chancellor spoke to reporters at Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting in Chapel Hill.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina interim chancellor Lee Roberts caught up with reporters on Thursday at UNC's Board of Trustees meeting and discussed the state of the school's athletics.

Within UNC's program, discussions about the budget as it pertains to athletics became a topic of discussion earlier in the week. In the greater landscape of college athletics, talks about realignment and NIL continue to run rampant. Also looming large is a potential settlement in the House vs. NCAA case surrounding the NIL activity of student-athletes.

Roberts — who replaced former UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz in December — took some time to speak with attending media at the Spangler Center. Here's what Roberts had to say (click here watch the video footage from WRAL):

*On the athletic budget*

"Trustees obviously have a right to the information. It's obviously a time of significant upheaval in college athletics. I'd be very surprised if there was any mismanagement, let alone malfeasance, in our athletics department. They're audited routinely. They've been audited 10 times in the last five years. They're audited every year by the NCAA.

"And I would just add that our athletic director is one of the most senior, well respected, well regarded, admired athletic directors in the country. He has broad respect from his peers and we don't have a more capable, more experienced, more talented senior administrator here at Carolina."

Do you think Carolina remaining in the ACC in the future is the wise thing to do with the chaos you've talked about?

"There's a lot up in the air, and my job and the athletic director's job and the job of everyone in a leadership position here is to make sure that when the dust settles, Carolina is better off."

Senator Phil Berger was talking about having patience with the question of realignment, but some of the trustees are saying the administration isn’t doing enough to pursue realignment. Where do you stand on that?

"We're obviously very much aware of the conference realignment dynamics. We have an ACC board meeting next week. There's just a lot in flux. We have litigation pending against the ACC by two member schools. The ESPN television contract has a renewal period coming up in February of next year.

"There's a lot of discussion about settlement of these NIL cases across the country, which would have significant financial implications for all Power Five schools. And so given how much is in flux, how much is changing, we just need to stay abreast of these dynamics and make sure that we're doing that with the best interest of Carolina in mind."

Given the academic relationships with Duke and Wake Forest, how much do you value maintaining the athletic relationships that have made them the school’s leading rivals on the field for decades?

"I think our fans value those historic rivalries. I think people here value those historic rivalries. Those are an important consideration, among many considerations, as we think about Carolina's future."

An important consideration among many doesn't suggest that there are any sort of priorities.

"Well, we have multiple priorities."

Have you studied the outlines of the House settlement? And you may be counted on to vote on whether or not to accept the terms of that settlement here in the next week. Do you have any idea which way you might be leaning?

"I don't think I can say very much about settling pending litigation. There's obviously been a lot of discussion about that among the ACC presidents and chancellors and, of course, around the country more broadly. I do believe that most folks think settling the litigation is going to be better than taking it through to a trial."

And you would be okay with Carolina then sharing revenue with student-athletes moving forward as part of the settlement?

"I haven't heard any possible settlement that doesn't involve some kind of revenue sharing."

Have you gotten any indication on how that would impact Title IX?

"Title IX is an important wild card in all of these settlement conversations. In the discussions that I've heard, there's a lot of uncertainty about how any settlement would affect Title IX. Obviously, it's an important legal obligation of ours. It's also an important obligation, an important commitment of ours away from our legal commitments. We have some of the best women's sports teams in the country here at Carolina. And so our obligations under Title IX are crucial to us."

One of the things you do well at Carolina is sponsor a broad number of sports. Are you concerned that some sports could be cut?

"I think it's too early to say. I've certainly heard that speculation, but I would have to see what the final settlement would look like, if there is a settlement."

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