North Carolina again faces an NCAA charge for providing improper extra benefits tied to its multi-year academic fraud scandal.
The school on Thursday released a third Notice of Allegations from the NCAA that outlines rules violations. The notice, dated Dec. 13, includes rewording a charge that had been removed from the first version filed in May 2015 that was tied to athletes’ access to the irregular courses on the Chapel Hill campus.
It also restores a reference to football and men’s basketball players using problem courses to help maintain eligibility. That was removed before the second version filed in April.
UNC still faces five charges, including lack of institutional control.
In a statement, athletic director Bubba Cunningham said UNC has “serious concerns about the process” leading to the third notice.
The other four allegations are essentially the same as they’ve been, with lack of institutional control remaining the most serious of those.
— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) December 22, 2016
NCAA’s new notice against UNC covers the period of fall 2002-summer 2011. FB MBB specifically mentioned.
— Dan Kane (@dankanenando) December 22, 2016
The second NOA included a lack of institutional control for poor oversight of an African and Afro-American Studies and the counselors who advised them and four other rules violations. The academic improprieties took place between 1993 and 2011 and involved athletes from numerous sports, according to an investigation conducted by a former U.S. Justice Department official.
This new notice will reset the timetable. The response will be due March 13, 2017, 90 days from Dec. 13, when the document was received.
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.
Contributing: The Associated Press