UNC receives "notice of allegations" from NCAA in academic fraud scandal

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Friday, May 22, 2015
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UNC received a notice of allegations on Friday from the NCAA

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- UNC Chapel Hill announced Friday that it has received a "notice of allegations" from the NCAA in the investigation of academic irregularities and possible bylaw infractions involving student athletes.

The school did not reveal exactly what the notice says.

"We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA's 90-day deadline," said Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham in a joint statement. "The University will publicly release the NCAA's notice as soon as possible. The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law. When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA's allegations, we will follow this same release process."

It's been just under a year since UNC and the NCAA said a 2010 investigation of the school's athletic program had been reopened.

The school said back then that 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 players got perks from professional sports agents.

At the conclusion of its first investigation, 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, a reduction of 15 football scholarships, vacation of records, and three years' probation.

Despite the NCAA investigation, internal investigations, and a report from former Governor Jim Martin, UNC's problems did not go away. Then, in October, 2014, UNC released the report of former federal prosecutors Kenneth Wainstein - who it commissioned to re-investigate the allegations of academic irregularities.

The more than 130-page report uncovered 18 years of academic fraud at the school. It showed 3,100 students were enrolled in so-called paper classes, many of them were athletes. Those classes required little to no work. Over the span of almost two decades, the report showed student athletes were steered toward those classes to boost their grades and eligibility. The problems centered on the academic department formerly named African and Afro-American Studies.

The Wainstein report was shared with NCAA investigators, and now the school is learning the results of the NCAA re-investigation. It could mean the school will face new sanctions.

The threat of looming sanctions has been hanging over UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams, who said earlier this week it's affected recruitment.

"...it's been a hard process and there's been quite a bit of negative recruiting going on and all those kind of things that make you not be very happy. But at the same time, we made some mistakes at our university, mistakes we're not proud of and yet it's been so sensationalized," he offered.

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