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Report: Suspect UNC classes date back to 1997

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A months-long investigation of academic fraud at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill finds the problems go back a decade earlier than an earlier probe uncovered.

The investigation by former Gov. Jim Martin unveiled Thursday said the African studies department at the school remained at the heart of the two-year athletic and academic scandal that has seen the departure of football coach Butch Davis and resignation of campus chancellor Holden Thorp.

Martin’s probe did not find other university academic departments allowed students to cheat, but found the problems in African studies began in 1997.

An earlier probe found irregularities dating from 2007 in more than 50 courses where instructors did not teach, grades were changed and faculty signatures were faked on grade reports.

According to WTVD, Martin’s report, which is around 80 pages, details the results of an investigation into irregular independent study classes within the university’s African and Afro-American studies program.

The classes featured no classroom instruction. Instead, students were expected to do research on their own and submit a paper at the end of the semester.

Many of the students that took the classes were athletes, however Martin said his investigation reveals “this was not an athletic scandal, but an academic scandal, which is worse,” he said.

Martin interviewed 86 people, including students, faculty, coaches and parents.

During the investigation, Martin said he found 54 department classes that had little or no indication of instruction. He also found at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes for students who “did not do all the work.”

Read the full report from WTVD.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.