The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provided impermissible academic benefits to its athletes and demonstrated a lack of institutional control when it allowed athletes to participate in years worth of phony "paper courses," according to a notice of allegations sent to UNC last week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. UNC released the redacted notice on Thursday. The allegations are of the level 1 variety, the most serious breach of conduct in the NCAA.
The NCAA's findings mirror those of Kenneth Wainstein, a former official with the U.S. Department of Justice, whom UNC hired last year to investigate the allegations. In October, he released a detailed report about widespread and long-lasting academic fraud at the university. For 20 years, some employees at the university knowingly steered about 1,500 athletes toward no-show courses that never met and were not taught by any faculty members, and in which the only work required was a single research paper that received a high grade no matter the content, according to the report.
The university has 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations, and the NCAA's enforcement staff has 60 days to send its own response. A hearing before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions would not take place until at least this fall. The committee then may take up to eight weeks to issue its final report, which would include any sanctions for the university.