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NCAA reopens investigation in academic-athletic scandal


Julius Nyang'oro arrived at the Orange County courthouse in HIllsborough Tuesday after being indicted Monday by a grand jury.
Indictments Julius Nyang'oro arrived at the Orange County courthouse in HIllsborough Tuesday after being indicted Monday by a grand jury.

On Monday, the NCAA released a statement announcing its intention to reopen the 2011 investigation into academic misconduct at UNC.

The NCAA said in a statement that the decision to reopen the investigation was the result of newfound information coming to the attention of the NCAA enforcement staff.

“After determining that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might be willing to speak with the enforcement staff, the NCAA has reopened its investigation,” the statement said.

The UNC football program was sanctioned with a one-year postseason ban and scholarship deductions in 2012 after the NCAA discovered evidence of impermissible benefits and academic fraud under former coach Butch Davis.

The investigation also sparked several University reviews of the academic scandal, including further investigation into the formerly-named Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM).

In 2012, UNC announced the investigation into the AFAM department, which implicated former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former department administrator Deborah Crowder for setting up “paper classes” that rarely or never met and only required an end-of-the-semester paper.

Nyang’oro is currently on trial for felony criminal fraud, but Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said last week he is considering dropping the charges because of Nyang’oro’s cooperation in the investigation being conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein.

Wainstein was hired by the University in February to investigate academic misconduct in the AFAM department.

When asked if he considered dropping Nyang’oro’s charges due to prior knowledge of the NCAA reopening the case, Woodall said he hadn’t been in contact with the NCAA.

Deborah Stroman, the director of sport entrepreneurship at UNC and a member of the Faculty Athletics Committee, said the reopening of the investigation and the Wainstein report present opportunities for the University to move on from its muddled past.

“We want to heal — we want to continue to move forward. But also, we want to speak the truth, because many of us weren’t here during that time period,” Stroman said. “And I think until we get the full truth, we’re always going to have something to question.”

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