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Saturday October 16th

NCAA issues lengthy notice of allegations to UNC

UNC officials have received the findings of the NCAA's yearlong investigation into the athletic and academic fraud that spanned almost two decades

The NCAA released a notification of allegations, including allegations UNC admitted to in the Wainstein report, to UNC on Thursday following the reopening of its investigation into UNC's athletics department in June 2014. 

"The NCAA has taken the facts reported by UNC in the Wainstein report, and they will make a determination as to whether UNC or UNC officials have violated their laws," Robert Orr, former N.C. Supreme Court justice, said.

The University has 90 days to respond to the allegations. 

"We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA's 90-day deadline," said Chancellor Carol Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham in a joint statement on Friday.

University officials chose not to release the notice of allegations until public records officials redact information to comply with federal and state privacy laws. 

"The University will publicly release the NCAA's notice as soon as possible," said Folt and Cunningham in their statement. "The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law. When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA's allegations, we will follow this same release process."

University spokesman Jim Gregory said he could not say when the notice will be released, but he confirmed the notice is lengthy and will take time to review. 

Orr said the report will likely still have the names of implicated academic and athletic personnel. 

"UNC has consistently been overly sensitive to FERPA considerations in regard to protection of student names, but I have a feeling the names of anybody who is not a student will not be redacted," Orr said. 

UNC retained former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein in February of 2014 after student-athlete tutor Mary Willingham claimed 60 percent of football and basketball players between 2004 and 2012 read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. In June of that year, the NCAA reopened their investigation into UNC's athletics department. 

"Historically, it is considered a collaborative investigation, which the NCAA expects UNC to comply with," Orr said.

When the NCAA originally released a notice of allegations to UNC in 2011, the infractions included improper academic assistance from former tutor Jennifer Wiley

The Wainstein report's findings resulted in nine employees facing disciplinary action for violations that include directing student-athletes to paper classes and fabricating grades to maintain student-athlete's eligibility. 

"The sum total of academic fraud was this one former tutor having given too much assistance on papers to a small number of football players, and that was found to constitute academic fraud and unethical conduct in violation of NCAA rules. So if you compare that with the facts that we know from the Wainstein report, it will be interesting to see what the NCAA will do about this," Orr said.

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