UNC escapes penalties in surprise decision by NCAA

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Friday it could not find North Carolina violated NCAA rules involving years-long academic scandal involving athletes across multiple sports.

One of the largest referrers to these fake courses run by the African and Afro-American Studies department was UNC's fraternity system.

Sankey said the panel was "troubled" by the University's shifting opinions on whether the classes constituted academic fraud - but that NCAA policy defers this determination to member schools. The NCAA responded that since the academics in question involved student athletes, it had full authority in the matter.

"The courses were generally available to the student body, and non-student-athletes took the courses", according to the NCAA report. The allegations also included tutors writing papers for student athletes for class credit and having others complete "take home tests". 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. "Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student-athletes".

"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.

The NCAA charged North Carolina with five Level I violations, including a lack of institutional control, although none of the coaches at the school - including Roy Williams - were charged with any wrongdoing.

The case has been of particular interest to Syracuse fans, largely due to the NCAA investigation that the SU basketball program endured.

North Carolina had a two-day hearing in mid-April in Nashville in front of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions. The athletes were reportedly guided into the classes to help remain academically eligible.

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.

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. Crowder left the university in 2009.

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