UNC-Chapel Hill faces five NCAA charges for student-athlete cheating

Responses, fall hearing will determine final infractions

The NCAA has charged the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill with five "Level 1" violations—or "severe breaches of contract"—for the student-athlete cheating scandal that came to light in the fall.
In October, UNC-Chapel Hill released findings from an internal investigation into a nearly 20-year-long scheme that involved about 3,000 students—most of whom were also athletes.

The school found faculty members were directing student-athletes to sham classes within the African and Afro-American studies department and giving suggestions as to what grades they should earn.

In December, the school announced it is seeking to fire at least four staff members and discipline at least another five. They have also implemented about 70 "reforms and initiatives to ensure and enhance academic integrity."

UNC-Chapel Hill identifies four employees connected with cheating scheme

"We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of those measures and, wherever needed, put additional safeguards in place," said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham in a statement.

According to the NCAA:

  • An athletic academic counselor and philosophy professor provided "impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements";
  • The head and another member of the African and Afro-American studies department did not cooperate with NCAA enforcement staff and UNC officials during the investigation.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill failed to monitor academic departments, staff, and faculty involved as the sham classes were able to exist for 18 years.

Once UNC-Chapel Hill responds to the notice of violations, NCAA has 60 days to send its own. A hearing will take place in the fall, followed six to eight weeks later with final infractions.

"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 added in their statement (Sanders, "The Two-Way," NPR, 6/4).

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