The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

NCAA alleges lack of institutional control at UNC

NCAA investigation classifies academic assistance as improper benefit

In a notice of allegations released Thursday by UNC, the NCAA alleged multiple level one violations and cited a history of infractions that indicate a lack of institutional control at UNC. 

The notice outlined five allegations, four of which are level one infractions, which "seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model." 

The alleged violations mirror the academic irregularities Kenneth Wainstein found in October 2014. 

The NCAA investigation found classes within the Department of African and Afro-American Studies that had minimal faculty instruction, as first reported by Wainstein. The NCAA referred to the use of paper classes an "impermissible benefit" rather than using the language "academic fraud." 

Though all students had access to the paper classes, the NCAA determined that academic irregularities in the AFAM department were impermissible benefits given specifically to student-athletes. 

"The high level of involvement by athletics academic counselors in the administration of these anomalous AFRI/AFAM courses relieved student-athletes of the academic responsibilities of a general student," the notice of allegations said.

The first allegation states student-athletes received impermissible benefits that were not offered to other students from the fall semester of 2002 through the summer session of 2011. In the AFAM department, academic counselors through the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes made special arrangements for student-athletes. These arrangements included requesting course offerings within the department, obtaining assignments for student-athletes, suggesting assignments, turning in papers and recommending grades. 

In addition, the University allowed 10 student-athletes from 2006 to 2011 to graduate with more than the allotted independent study credits. 

The second allegation states that from April 2007 to July 2010, Jan Boxill, former director of the Parr Center for Ethics, faculty chairwoman and a women's basketball counselor, provided "impermissible benefits" in the form of academic assistance to women's basketball players. 

The third and fourth allegations state that former chair of the AFAM department, Julius Nyang'oro, and Deborah Crowder, an administrator in the department, engaged in unethical conduct by failing to comply with the NCAA investigation. 

Nyang'oro, Boxill and Crowder are no longer employed by the University. 

The fifth allegation outlines the NCAA's case that UNC exhibited a lack of institutional control. The notice says the University failed to monitor Boxill's activities and did not monitor the AFAM department, resulting in a lack of institutional control. 

"Schools are responsible for the quality of the degree programs offered for all students, including student-athletes," the NCAA said in a statement to The Daily Tar Heel. "Generally, academic issues are managed first and foremost by the faculty member in the classroom, second by that faculty member’s department head, next by their dean, then the provost and finally the president or chancellor. NCAA rules do not address course curriculum, rigor or content."

The University's response is due August 20. Then the NCAA enforcement staff and the University will present their cases at a committee hearing. Within three months, the committee will issue penalties to UNC.  

"We will respond to the notice using facts and evidence to present a full picture of our case," Chancellor Carol Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a joint statement. "Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina."

Cunningham said UNC will be punished under the NCAA's previous penalty structure, which was revised in 2013. 

Under the previous penalty structure, the NCAA had to prove the head coach knew about the violations for the coach to be suspended. Under the new structure, the coach is presumed knowledgable and therefore subject to suspension unless the coach proves otherwise. 

Previous consequences for level one violations include postseason bans, scholarship reductions, financial sanctions and vacated wins. UNC men's basketball won two championship titles during the time period outlined in the notice of allegations. 

The NCAA reopened their investigation into UNC's athletics department in June 2014. In the initial 2011 investigation, the NCAA found improper academic assistance from former tutor Jennifer Wiley and improper benefits from agents. 

“We believe the University has done everything possible to address the academic irregularities that ended in 2011 and prevent them from recurring," Folt and Cunningham said in a statement. "We have implemented more than 70 reforms and initiatives to ensure and enhance academic integrity. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of those measures and, wherever needed, put additional safeguards in place.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.