Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

North Carolina avoids penalties from NCAA

North Carolina avoids penalties from NCAA

In a report released on Friday morning, UNC was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA in an academic scandal that lasted more than 18 years, with more than 3,100 students enrolling in bogus classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department.

If the NCAA's investigation into North Carolina were a college student, it would have graduated a semester early.

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.

"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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UNC fans cheer at a Tar Heels basketball game.

It was alleged that at least 50% of the student athletes in those two sports were given credit for "paper courses", that did not really exist.

"The courses were generally available to the student body, and non-student-athletes took the courses", according to the NCAA report. North Carolina also won a national championship this past season, but that title was never in question.

The university faced five Level I charges from the NCAA, including lack of institutional control, in a case that grew as an offshoot of a probe launched in 2010 into the football program. The NCAA enforcement staff countered in a July filing: "The issues at the heart of this case are clearly the NCAA's business". Syracuse's focused a handful of academic issues and some other relatively small violations, while North Carolina's involved a swath of academic problems over two decades. Men's basketball coach Roy Williams, women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and football coach Larry Fedora, in addition to athletic director Bubba Cunningham and chancellor Carol Folt - were all in attendance. There was then another review from former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin who found the sham classes went back to 1997. "In fact, they recalled that a number of their non-athlete fraternity members took so many AFAM classes that they inadvertently ended up with AFAM minors by the time they graduated". Crowder left the university in 2009.

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