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North Carolina avoids major sanctions in academics fraud case

13 October, 2017, 20:54 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Toothless NCAA Couldn't Find Academic Violations at North Carolina, Tar Heels Get No Punishment

UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday morning received its long-awaited judgment from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which provided a final ruling in an investigation that began 3 ½ years ago.

In its response to the case, North Carolina challenged the most serious and potentially damaging allegation, arguing that "inadequate academic oversight unrelated to the Department of Athletics" didn't constitute an issue within the NCAA's jurisdiction. "The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership". "Since 2014, the NCAA membership has acknowledged the question whether academic fraud occurred is one appropriately answered by institutions based on their own academic policies".

"While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body", said Sankey.

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"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.

The Committee on Infractions report said the University originally acknowledged what it say as "long-standing and egregious wrongdoing", only to pivot during the infractions processes.

The only penalties levied were a three-year "show cause" placed on former UNC department chair Jan Boxill and a reprimand for AFAM secretary Debra Crowder - neither of whom are affiliated with the university anymore.

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The school had been alleged to have been cycling football and basketball players through non-existent courses in African American studies.

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.

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.

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