NCAA Committee ‘could not conclude’ academic violations in UNC case

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After a one-week delay, the NCAA Committee on Infractions has released its report on the long-running investigation into academic misconduct at the University of North Carolina.

According to the report, the infractions panel could not conclude academic violations in the North Carolina case.

Greg Sankey, the panel's chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference released a statement on the 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. 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. 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.”

The report has been the subject of controversy for the university for some time.

At the heart of the matter was whether athletes were given extra benefits and if the school failed to monitor personnel within the athletic department who provided those extra benefits.

This case was not about those so-called "paper classes" being easy, but about if athletes got special treatment not available to other students.

Prior to the report's release, speculation on possible penalties included:

  • The NCAA could force the school to vacate wins, including at least one of the national championships in men's basketball that happened between 1993 and 2011, which is the 18-year period that the NCAA has been investigating.
  • Both football and basketball could receive postseason bans and the loss of scholarships.
  • The school could be placed on probation and fined a certain amount of money.