UNC Chapel Hill Gets a Pass from NCAA on Academic Scandal

October 13, 2017, 2:27 PM UTC

Rest easy, Tar Heels. Your championships are staying at UNC Chapel Hill.

The NCAA has released the results of its long-running investigation into an academic scandal at the school saying it could not conclude the school had violated any NCAA rules.

Athletics are of tremendous importance to Chapel Hill. In 2015, the UNC athletics generated almost $90 million for the university. And after winning the 2017 men’s college basketball championship, it’s poised to earn even more.

Since 2014, investigators have been looking into a course, which was formerly called African and Afro-American Studies. Although it was described a lecture course, the class failed to meet regularly and all that was required for a high grade was an occasional research paper. At its core, the case aimed to find it North Carolina provided student-athletes with extra benefits through special access and course assistance.

Ultimately, the NCAA found that there were only two violations – two former staff members failed to cooperate during the investigation.

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” said Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. “The panel is troubled by the university’s shifting positions about whether academic fraud occurred on its campus and the credibility of the Cadwalader report, which it distanced itself from after initially supporting the findings. However, NCAA policy is clear. The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership.”