The NCAA’s investigation into UNC-Chapel Hill, which has been beset by delays and restarts, has been delayed once again.
The university has not yet responded to the NCAA Enforcement Staff’s third notice of allegations, a UNC spokeswoman wrote in an email on Wednesday, and now the university is “awaiting guidance from the committee on infractions on a new schedule.”
UNC’s 90-day deadline to respond to its latest notice of allegations (NOA) came and went on Monday without an update from the university about the status of its response. Joanne Peters, UNC’s media relations director, wrote on Wednesday that “in consultation” with the NCAA, UNC had not responded.
The latest delay in the case comes less than a week after the release of an affidavit from Deborah Crowder, a former department manager in the African and Afro-American Studies department. In the affidavit, Crowder said that the AFAM classes at the heart of the investigation were legitimate.
She described the classes as “customized educational opportunities for students to solve problems created by the institutional bureaucracy,” and she said they were not designed to help athletes. The NCAA investigation, meanwhile, has focused on how those classes, which never met and required little work, benefited athletes over a range of years.
The NCAA reopened its investigation at UNC in June 2014. The university received its first NOA in this case on May 20, 2015. Days away from its deadline to respond, the university in August 2015 submitted new information to the NCAA Enforcement Staff, which then amended the NOA.
UNC received a second, amended NOA on April 25, 2016. The case appeared headed for a hearing before NCAA Committee on Infractions – the judge and jury in major NCAA investigations – but then, after a procedural hearing with that committee, the Enforcement Staff changed the NOA again.
UNC received a third NOA on December 13, 2016. That NOA, which is considered the most damning of all of notices, included references to football and men’s basketball – sports that had been included in the first notice but removed in the second.
The most recent NOA has increased the likelihood that UNC faces severe sanctions. UNC’s legal team has argued, among other things, that the problems with the AFAM courses in question don’t constitute a violation of NCAA rules.