NCAA returns to Chapel Hill

In a statement released by the school on Monday, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham announced that the NCAA has returned to Chapel Hill to further investigate academic irregularities that were originally discovered three years ago.

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA that it will reopen its 2011 examination of academic irregularities,” Cunningham said in the statement.  “The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff.

“Since 2011, the University has conducted and commissioned numerous reviews of this matter and provided the NCAA with updates.  In February, the University retained former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein to conduct an independent investigation and instructed him to share relevant information directly and confidentially with the NCAA.”

Cunnigham also said the school will have no further comment until the process is complete.

Following the NCAA’s initial investigation, the Tar Heels’ football program was hit with penalties including scholarship reductions and a one-year bowl ban. Since then, the university hired former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin to lead an independent probe, which concluded that evidence didn’t suggest the academic scandal was created to keep athletes eligible. Most recently, however, current UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has hired former U.S. attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein to lead another independent investigation into the irregularities.

While Cunningham did not specify the names of the people now willing to cooperate, Dan Kane of the News and Observer  reported earlier this month that Julius Nyang’oro, the former head of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at North Carolina, is fully cooperating with Wainstein.