Thursday, 19 October, 2017

NCAA's verdict in North Carolina academic case: No violations, penalties for UNC

Marvin Austin's Tweets in May 2010 Toothless NCAA Couldn't Find Academic Violations at North Carolina, Tar Heels Get No Punishment
Kristopher Love | 13 October, 2017, 19:40

"The panel concluded that while student-athletes and athletics programs may have benefitted from utilizing the courses, the general student body also benefitted", a release from the NCAA said. The classes were taken by more than 3,100 students - almost half of them athletes - from 1993 to 2011. The irregularities are focused on independent study-style courses misidentified as lecture classes that didn't meet and required a research paper or two while featuring significant athlete enrollments.

Sometimes, members of the school's academic services even suggested grades that would keep athletes eligible. At its core, the case aimed to find it North Carolina provided student-athletes with extra benefits through special access and course assistance.

"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. North Carolina also won a national championship this past season, but that title was never in question. The allegations included five top level infractions, including "lack of institutional control", which usually brings severe multi-year penalties. 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.

The NCAA announced Friday that it "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules" in what is widely considered the worst academic scandal in college sports history.

The football program was sanctioned in March of 2012 in the NCAA's initial case, but in the summer of 2014, the investigation was reopened. The school conducted an internal faculty investigation in which it was found that there were issues with 54 classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies taught from 2007 to 2011.

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. "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".