CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina has received a third Notice of Allegations from the NCAA outlining violations connected to its multi-year academic fraud scandal.
UNC spokesman Rick White said in statement Wednesday that the university will publicly release the document but didn’t specify when. The statement didn’t comment on any changes compared to two earlier versions, both of which included five serious charges centered around years of irregular courses featuring significant athlete enrollments offered by a department.
The NCAA first filed charges in May 2015, then sent a revised notice in April. Both versions charged UNC with lack of institutional control in a case that grew as an offshoot of a 2010 probe into the football program.
Inside Carolina first reported the arrival of a third NOA, further slowing a case already crawling toward resolution. For the third time, UNC will face a 90-day deadline to file a response before eventually having a hearing with an infractions committee panel and later a ruling or potential penalties.
In October, the school appeared before an infractions committee panel for a hearing focused on its procedural arguments in response to the charges from the most recent NOA. Among them, UNC had challenged the NCAA’s jurisdiction by saying its accreditation agency was the proper authority for academic questions.
The school had also argued a March 2012 ruling in the original football case should have precluded some current charges, saying the NCAA was aware of key issues in 2011 but had determined no violations occurred at various points in the following years before reopening an investigation in 2014.
In documents released in October, the NCAA enforcement staff had said those arguments “without merit.” The NCAA has regarded findings from the 2014 independent investigation by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein as new information that triggered the second look.
Wainstein’s report focused on courses in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department requiring only a research paper or two while offering GPA-boosting grades. Many were misidentified as lecture courses that didn’t meet.
Wainstein estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across numerous sports accounting for roughly half the enrollments.
UNC had also argued some material from Wainstein’s report shouldn’t be used because interviews weren’t performed to NCAA protocols while also pointing to an expired four-year statute of limitations.
The charges had focused on failures in oversight along with the conduct by a former women’s basketball academic counselor and two former AFAM staffers most directly linked to the irregularities.