North Carolina avoids penalties from NCAA

North Carolina avoids penalties from NCAA

More than years later, the NCAA determined that its investigation into academics at the University of North Carolina was much ado about nothing.

North Carolina has avoided major penalties after an NCAA infractions committee panel "could not conclude" there were academic violations in the multi-year case focused on irregular courses. This portion of the case took 3 1/2 years to complete.

"The panel concluded that while student-athletes and athletics programs may have benefitted from utilizing the courses, the general student body also benefitted", a release from the NCAA said.

The independent study-style courses came in the Department of African and Afro-American studies and often required no attendance, grade changes, forged faculty signatures and just one paper at the conclusion of the semester.

The university had challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction in the matter, saying it was an academic issue.

"Based on the general availability and the lack of specific examples, the panel can not conclude a systemic effort to impermissibly benefit student-athletes", it said.

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The report said fraternity members may have another incentive to take the courses besides a normal student desire for easy As.

Sankey asked the enforcement staff to look at new information in November of 2016 - and a third notice of allegations in December of 2016 included both men's basketball and football once again and had UNC facing five top-level charges - including a lack of institutional control and the initial extra benefit charge.

North Carolina had a two-day hearing in mid-April in Nashville in front of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions. The NCAA built its case not on allegations of academic fraud, though, but of impermissible benefits - the alleged special access to the courses, and not the courses themselves, central to the NCAA's case.

The case has been of particular interest to Syracuse fans, largely due to the NCAA investigation that the SU basketball program endured.

According to investigator Kenneth Wainstein's report, the "paper courses" were "hardly a secret" on campus and predominantly spread by word-of-mouth among undergraduates.

Former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired office administrator Deborah Crowder were charged with refusing to co-operate with the NCAA probe.

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