NCAA infractions panel could not conclude violations in UNC case

A week after its initial release date, the NCAA has put forth its conclusive report into the academic scandal at North Carolina.

The report, which was scheduled to come out last Friday, now arrives about eight weeks after UNC meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Nashville, Tennessee. This should provide some closure to an investigation that’s taken many turns over the course of seven-plus years.

The last three-and-a-half years have included three notices of allegations. North Carolina faced five Level I violation; that included a lack of institutional control. Men’s basketball and football were both named in third Notice of Allegations.


Here’s how things broke down

On Friday, the NCAA said that its infractions panel could not conclude violations in the UNC case. The only penalty laid out in the report is a show-cause penalty for former department chair Julius Nyang’oro.

During the period of Oct. 13, 2017 to Oct. 12, 2022, any NCAA member school employing the former chair must show cause why Nyang’oro should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.

That’s about it.


According to the NCAA Report

“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,” said Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. “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.”

Sankey continued: “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.”


Composition of the Committee

There were five other individuals that joined Greg Sankey on the case:

  • Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State and Bowling Green
  • Alberto Gonzales, dean of the law school at Belmont and former attorney general of the United States
  • Eleanor W. Myers, associate professor of law emerita and former faculty athletics representative at Temple
  • Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois
  • Jill Pilgrim, attorney in private practice


What’s next?

The University of North Carolina has 15 days to decide if it wants to appeal the the NCAA’s ruling, per NCAA bylaws. The appeals process could take up to 110 days.

However, all of that seems wildly unnecessary at this point. After three years of concern, UNC athletics are positioned to go forward sans penalties.


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