After a two-year long investigation into academic fraud within the University of North Carolina athletic department, the NCAA announced Friday that it could not come to any definitive conclusions in the matter.
NCAA Lets UNC Off The Hook
The school had been alleged to have been cycling football and basketball players through non-existent courses in African American studies. There were also allegations of tutors writing term papers and taking tests for student athletes at the Chapel Hill campus. The allegations went as far back as 1993, but the investigation honed in on the 2002-2011 time frame for basketball and football. The basketball program won two NCAA championships during that time period.
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 allegations also included tutors writing papers for student athletes for class credit and having others complete “take home tests.” The allegations included five top level infractions, including “lack of institutional control,” which usually brings severe multi-year penalties.
The university had challenged the NCAA’s jurisdiction in the matter, saying it was an academic issue. The NCAA responded that since the academics in question involved student athletes, it had full authority in the matter. The NCAA report concluded that since other students at the university were privy to the classes, there were no special benefits given to student athletes.
The chief hearing officer on the panel, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, issued the following statement.
“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes.”
The university had paid more than $18 million in legal fees defending itself against the NCAA over the last two years.
The basketball team begins official workouts tonight at a special “Late Night with Roy,” practice at midnight.