NCAA "could not conclude North Carolina violated NCAA rules"

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From left, in August 16, 2017, file photos, University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, University of North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham, University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, University of North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora and University of North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell arrive at an NCAA hearing in Nashville, Tenn.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Friday it could not find North Carolina violated NCAA rules involving years-long academic scandal involving athletes across multiple sports.

Former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired office administrator Deborah Crowder were charged with refusing to co-operate with the NCAA probe.

"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 exclusively created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes", said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, the panel's chief hearing officer.

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.

The investigation centered on a system in which a significant percentage of student-athletes took classes that had academic irregularities - and whether that resulted in those athletes receiving an impermissible benefit.

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The parties that breached confidentiality, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham for taking a case-related interview and a former secretary and her counsel, both apologized at the hearing.

At UNC - much like athletes need a certain minimum GPA to remain eligible to compete - each Greek house needs to achieve an overall minimum GPA among its members to maintain university recognition and stay on campus.

"As with any course that offers an easy path to a high grade, word of these classes got around", the report states.

A few hours earlier, UNC scored a major and unexpected victory when the NCAA ended its seven-year investigation into the university's African and Afro-American Studies program without issuing any sanctions.

"While student-athletes certainly benefited from the courses and ASPSA assistance, the record indicates that similar assistance was generally available to all students", the NCAA report says. "Since 2014, the NCAA membership has acknowledged the question whether academic fraud occurred is one appropriately answered by institutions based on their own academic policies".

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