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UNC finally set to learn ruling in NCAA academic case Friday

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Associated Press

UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday morning received its long-awaited judgment from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which "could not conclude academic violations" in the case, according to a statement the NCAA released along with its findings. This portion of the case took 3 1/2 years to complete.

The NCAA panel could also not find that "paper classes" benefited only student-athletes, as opposed to the entire student body.

In its latest notice of allegations, which is the NCAA equivalent of a lawsuit or indictment, the NCAA's enforcement staff pointed to the high enrollment of athletes in the classes - almost half, according to the university-commissioned investigation led by Kenneth L. Wainstein - and emails in which advisers requested spots for athletes. The athletes were reportedly guided into the classes to help remain academically eligible.

In the end, the NCAA agreed with UNC - though reluctantly - that the matter was out of governing body's jurisdiction. "Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student-athletes".

The report said fraternity members may have another incentive to take the courses besides a normal student desire for easy As. There was a second NOA in April of 2016 in which there was still a lack of institutional control, but no mention of men's basketball or football and also no impermissible benefits charge.

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"The panel can not conclude that extra benefit violations occurred surrounding the offering or managing of the courses as alleged".

The case has been of particular interest to Syracuse fans, largely due to the NCAA investigation that the SU basketball program endured. Still, Syracuse and head coach Jim Boeheim were punished significantly, at least by NCAA standards, while North Carolina got off free on a jurisdictional argument. The panel said it found only two violations out of five charges the school originally faced: a failure-to-co-operate charge against two people tied to the problem courses in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department. The NCAA's enforcement unit first began investigating academic impropriety at North Carolina as far back as June 2010.

North Carolina hired Kenneth Wainstein in February of 2014 to work on an independent investigation into the scandal.

Former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired office administrator Deborah Crowder were charged with refusing to co-operate with the NCAA probe.

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