"A Division I Committee on Infractions hearing panel could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules when it made available deficient Department of African and Afro-American Studies "paper courses" to the general student body, including student-athletes", the NCAA's release states. "The panel is troubled by the university's shifting positions about whether academic fraud occurred on its campus".
Some assumed the NCAA wouldn't tackle this issue because some version of that occurs at all schools, although it has never been publicly brought to light like at North Carolina.
A 2014 report commissioned by UNC said that some non-athletes benefited from the fraud.
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"The panel can not conclude that extra benefit violations occurred surrounding the offering or managing of the courses as alleged".
The allegations included a lack of institutional control, failure to monitor, and extra benefits in association with the courses.
Colleges have set up a system where they require athletes to exchange financial compensation for an education, but in many cases, that education is treated as secondary, much less important than winning games and maintaining eligibility. The irregularities are focused on independent study-style courses misidentified as lecture classes that didn't meet and required a research paper or two while featuring significant athlete enrollments.
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The Tar Heels won a pair of national titles within the span - in 2005 and 2009. Initially, they were considered improper benefits - access to courses and assistance in those courses not available to regular students - but that charge was removed in the second NOA only to be refiled in the third.
In the end, the NCAA agreed with UNC - though reluctantly - that the matter was out of governing body's jurisdiction. Still, Syracuse and head coach Jim Boeheim were punished significantly, at least by NCAA standards, while North Carolina got off free on a jurisdictional argument. The NCAA enforcement staff countered in a July filing: "The issues at the heart of this case are clearly the NCAA's business". Your championships are staying at UNC Chapel Hill. He counted athletes who were no longer team members.
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