UNC: NCAA to reopen probe into academic misconduct

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 05:49 PM

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said Monday that NCAA investigators will take another look into academic misconduct at the school.

In a statement, Cunningham said the NCAA has notified UNC it will reopen its 2011 investigation in a case that began as an offshoot of a 2010 probe into the football program.

"The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff," Cunningham said.

Investigations have uncovered fraud in a department with classes featuring significant athlete enrollments, including lecture classes that did not meet and were treated as independent studies requiring only a research paper at semester's end.

A 2012 investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin found problems in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department stretching back to the 1990s and assigned blame to former chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired administrator Deborah Crowder.

Nyang'oro and Crowder did not cooperate with earlier investigations but have spoken with former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein, who is conducting an independent probe into the fraud. It is unclear when he will complete his work.

Nyang'oro was indicted on a felony fraud count in December connected to the case, through Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall said last week he is considering whether to drop that charge because Nyang'oro has cooperated with Wainstein's investigation.

Cunningham said Wainstein was instructed to share information he learned with the NCAA.

"The enforcement staff is exploring this new information to ensure an exhaustive investigation is conducted based on all available information," the NCAA said in a statement. "The NCAA will not comment further to protect the integrity of the investigation."

The announcement comes less than a month after former men's basketball player Rashad McCants — a top player on the 2005 NCAA championship team — told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that he took several no-show classes in the AFAM department and that coach Roy Williams was aware of them. He also said tutors wrote research papers for him.

Williams and the remaining members of the 2005 title team have denied being involved in academic wrongdoing.

The NCAA sanctioned the school in March 2012 for violations within the football program centered on improper benefits and academic misconduct focused largely on a tutor providing too much assistance on papers to players.

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