Will UNC's academic integrity be restored?


Following months of investigations, an accreditation team will be on UNC's campus until Friday to see if academic integrity at the university has been restored.

If it hasn't, UNC could be put on probation or even get its accreditation taken away.

The university's problems began in 2010 when the school announced it was looking into allegations of plagiarism, tutors who violated rules, faculty who failed to provide oversight, alleged unethical conduct by an assistant coach, and allegations that student-athletes got perks from professional sports agents.

In January, the school was put on notice with a strongly worded letter. It advised UNC to take immediate actions to pull itself into compliance accreditation standards.

The notice stemmed from an investigation that reported the academic fraud was confined to the school's Department of African and Afro-American Studies and were the result of wrongdoing by the former chairman and a department administrator for over more than a decade.

The probe was launched after the disclosure of the academic transcript of former UNC-Chapel Hill football star and basketball player Julius Peppers. Peppers, who left the university in 2002 to enter the NFL, earned Bs or better in African studies classes but poor grades in many of his other classes. An earlier probe found irregularities in the department dating from 2007.

The NCAA said the school was "responsible for multiple violations, including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, ineligible participation, and a failure to monitor its football program."

Penalties imposed by the association included a one-year postseason ban, reduction of 15 football scholarships, vacation of records, and three years probation.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp, who later announced he was stepping down following the scandal at the school, said he and other administrators took it for granted that things were being done the right way.

State Bureau of Investigation agents are continuing their criminal investigation in consultation with a local prosecutor who wants to know whether the university was defrauded for teaching that wasn't delivered.

In addition to Thorp stepping down, UNC fired former head football coach Butch Davis and former athletics director Dick Baddour resigned.

Both men have said they were not aware of - or were involved - in any of the irregularities.

Meanwhile, the accreditation review is expected to be finalized, and a decision rendered, in June.

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