North Carolina

UNC releases its response to NCAA’s third notice of allegations in academic scandal case

UNC academic scandal explained

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was extensively investigated by the NCAA for a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades.
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was extensively investigated by the NCAA for a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades.

UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday released a public version of its most recent response to the NCAA, which the university submitted on May 16. The NCAA’s enforcement staff will have an opportunity to review and address issues UNC raises over the next 60 days, with the case then expected to proceed to an infractions committee hearing in August.

Here are the highlights of UNC’s response:

▪ The university is arguing, as it has in the past, that the problems related to the African Studies courses at the heart of the NCAA investigation are not subject to NCAA bylaws. UNC’s accrediting agency found those courses to be fraudulent, but the university maintains that the classes don’t constitute a violation of NCAA rules.

▪ UNC summarizes its basic argument in the first paragraph of the response, which is 102 pages: “The public narrative for the last six years, popularized by media accounts, is that the Department of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the “University”) took advantage of “fake classes” in the Department of African and African-American Studies (the “Department”) to keep student-athletes eligible. That narrative is wrong and contradicted by the facts in the record.”

▪ UNC argues that the classes in question were equally available to all students, athletes and non-athletes, and that those who took the classes worked for their grades: “No special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation … student-athletes were not treated differently than other students who took the Courses. All students who took the Courses were required to write one or more research papers.”

▪ UNC maintains that no one in the athletic department took “improper advantage” of the classes. The university reiterates that there is no NCAA allegation against any coach of athletic department employee.

Dan Kane contributed.

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