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NCAA “couldn’t conclude academic violations” in North Carolina fake classes investigation

UNC will receive no sanctions as a result of the investigation

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Gonzaga vs North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA’s final report on the North Carolina academic scandal was released today, after three and a half years of investigation. As a refresher, North Carolina was found to be using fake African-American Studies classes to help athletes pass and float them through the university and keep them eligible to play.

Well, after all that time, the NCAA was unable to conclude that there were any academic violations and imposed no sanctions on the Tar Heels.

In the release, Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, stated:

“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. 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.”

One of the big takeaways from the investigation was that the panel didn’t find any situation in which the student-athletes had any benefits that the regular student body did not.

Said Sankey, “While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body. 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.”

The investigative panel also “...could not conclude that the university failed to monitor or lacked control over its athletics program.”

This marks the case as final, seeing as UNC is unlikely to appeal the favorable findings.