There will be no delay this time. UNC-Chapel Hill is set to submit its response to the amended Notice of Allegations a week from Monday, athletic director Bubba Cunningham said.
The university received the amended NOA from the NCAA on April 25. NCAA protocol mandates that schools have 90 days to respond once they receive an NOA. For UNC, the 90th day falls on July 24, a Sunday, which means it has until Monday, July 25 to submit its response.
Cunningham said UNC is on schedule to respond by the Monday deadline. It’s unclear when a public version of the response will be available.
UNC’s response will be another step toward closure amid a long-running NCAA investigation into a scheme of suspect African Studies courses that required little to no work and often resulted in high grades. A disproportionate number of athletes, especially football and men’s basketball players, filled the classes for nearly two decades, from 1993 through 2011.
The NCAA Enforcement Staff, though, didn’t judge the veracity of the courses in the allegations it levied against UNC. The university faces a broad charge of lack of institutional control, which is the most damning charge against UNC, but the NCAA hasn’t characterized the courses as fraudulent.
In addition to the lack of institutional control charge, UNC faces four others:
▪ That Jan Boxill, the former women’s basketball academic counselor, philosophy instructor and director of the Parr Center for Ethics, provided extra benefits and impermissible academic assistance to women’s basketball players.
▪ That Deborah Crowder, the former administrative assistant in the African and Afro-American Studies Department, violated NCAA principles of ethical conduct when she failed to provide information to the NCAA about possible NCAA violations.
▪ That like Crowder, Julius Nyang’oro, the former AFAM chairman, also violated NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he failed to provide information and failed to cooperate in an NCAA investigation.
▪ That UNC violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when “individuals in the athletics and academic administrations” failed to monitor the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) and AFAM department.
UNC was days away from its deadline to respond to the original NOA it received in May 2015. In August 2015, however, the university submitted new information to the NCAA, some of it additional evidence of wrongdoing related to Boxill.
The submission of new information by UNC pushed back the time line of the case. After a long delay, the NCAA sent an amended NOA to UNC in April.
The amended NOA is believed to be a softer, less punitive version of the original. Neither football nor men’s basketball were mentioned in the amended NOA, which decreases the likelihood that those teams will face specific sanctions related to the wrongdoing.
UNC’s response represents another step in the formal process of an NCAA investigation. The NCAA will then review the response. In the fall, UNC will appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which is the ruling body in an NCAA violations case.
A final ruling in the case isn’t likely to come before early 2017.