Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 13, 2017 1:00 am

N. Carolina to get NCAA ruling today

AARON BEARD | Associated Press

The NCAA infractions committee panel handling North Carolina's multiyear academic case plans to release its ruling today, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The people said the NCAA notified parties involved in the case Thursday. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the school nor the NCAA have commented publicly on the release.

The ruling comes roughly eight weeks after UNC appeared before the infractions panel in Nashville, Tennessee, for a two-day hearing that included Chancellor Carol Folt, athletic director Bubba Cunningham, men's basketball coach Roy Williams, football coach Larry Fedora and women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell. The school faces five top-level charges, including lack of institutional control.

While a ruling could provide resolution, the delay-filled case could still linger if UNC pursues an appeal or legal action in response to potential penalties that could include fines, probation, postseason bans or vacated wins and championships.

The focus is independent study-style courses in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department on the Chapel Hill campus. The courses were misidentified as lecture classes but didn't meet and required a research paper or two for typically high grades.

In a 2014 investigation, former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across numerous sports making up roughly half the enrollments.

The NCAA has said UNC used those courses to help keep athletes eligible.

The oft-delayed case grew as an offshoot of a 2010 probe of the football program resulting in sanctions in March 2012. The NCAA reopened an investigation in summer 2014, filed charges in May 2015, revised them in April 2016 and again in December.

UNC has challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction, saying its accreditation agency – which sanctioned the school with a year of probation – was the proper authority and that the NCAA was overreaching in what should be an academic matter.