North Carolina avoids major sanctions in academics fraud case

Associated Press

Associated Press

Sankey said the panel was "troubled" by the University's shifting opinions on whether the classes constituted academic fraud - but that NCAA policy defers this determination to member schools.

Since 2014, investigators have been looking into a course, which was formerly called African and Afro-American Studies. There was a second NOA in April of 2016 in which there was still a lack of institutional control, but no mention of men's basketball or football and also no impermissible benefits charge. UNC's argument, which will likely be the crux of their appeal, is that the NCAA is overstepping their jurisdiction.

Syracuse's case was bothersome to critics of college sports because it touched on one of the core problems with amateurism. They've been covering Carolina athletics for two decades and will have all of the fallout, including recruiting impact and what's coming next.

The only violation the committee saw was the lack of cooperation from a former department chair and a former secretary - and two breaches of confidentiality that will not be penalized. The NCAA's enforcement unit first began investigating academic impropriety at North Carolina as far back as June 2010.

The NCAA was unable to determine whether or not academic fraud occurred at North Carolina due to an NCAA principle that states that individual member schools are responsible for policing themselves.

At UNC - much like athletes need a certain minimum GPA to remain eligible to compete - each Greek house needs to achieve an overall minimum GPA among its members to maintain university recognition and stay on campus.

Still, the problems were well chronicled by Kane and in reports issued by the University of North Carolina previously, describing 18 years of sub-standard classes which required no attendance and, in many cases, relatively little work.

In its report issued Friday morning, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions determined that it could not conclude that UNC had violated its academic rules because the so-called "paper courses" in the AFAM program were made available to the general student body, as well as athletes.

"The panel can not conclude that extra benefit violations occurred surrounding the offering or managing of the courses as alleged".

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