UNC receives notice of allegations from NCAA


North Carolina has received a new document from the NCAA outlining violations connected to the school’s long-running academic fraud scandal, a person with knowledge of the investigation said Monday.

The arrival of the new Notice of Allegations jumpstarts a case that has been stalled in a procedural limbo since August.

The person spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because UNC hasn’t made a formal statement about the second notice’s arrival. The person declined to comment on changes contained in this document compared to the notice sent last May.

UNC’s academic case centers on independent study-style courses that required no class time and one or two research papers in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department. Run largely by an office administrator — not a faculty member — the courses featured GPA-boosting grades and significant athlete enrollments across numerous sports, while poor oversight throughout the university allowed them to run unchecked for years.

The first document hit the school with five potential top-level violations, including lack of institutional control. UNC had 90 days to respond, but that process paused in August when the school reported additional information to the NCAA for review.

It’s unclear exactly when the school will release a copy of the latest NOA. UNC took two weeks to redact information to comply with privacy laws before releasing the first one.

UNC officials had previously hoped for a spring resolution in the academic case, an offshoot of a 2010 probe into the football program. But the arrival of the new notice is just a step in a process with months still ahead.

UNC again has 90 days to respond — which is often the point when schools self-impose penalties if they choose to do so — then the enforcement staff would have 60 days to respond to UNC’s filing. That would ultimately lead to a hearing with the infractions committee and a ruling weeks to months afterward.

In the original football case, the NCAA issued sanctions in March 2012 roughly nine months after an NOA arrived. A similar timeline would carry this case through January, approaching seven years since NCAA investigators first arrived on campus.

A 2014 investigation by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes making up roughly half the enrollments in problem African and Afro-American Studies courses.

The case also led to trouble for UNC with its accreditation agency, which put the school on a year of probation last June. There have also been three lawsuits filed by ex-UNC athletes, two of which are in pending in federal court.

NCAA spokeswoman Emily James didn’t immediately return an email for comment Monday.

Related: The David Glenn Show breaks down what NOT to expect when North Carolina makes its notice of allegations public.