UNC to respond to 3rd NCAA NOA Tuesday, public release likely to be delayed
Posted 11:29 a.m. Tuesday
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina will respond to the NCAA’s third Notice of Allegations Tuesday on schedule, although the public release of the response may be delayed, according to the school.
Rick White, Associate Vice Chancellor of University Communications, said the plans to meet deadline for the response are on schedule, however, university officials said the public version of the redacted release “may take a few days.”
UNC faces five top-level charges, including lack of institutional control, in the long-running probe centered on irregular AFAM courses featuring significant athlete enrollments. They received their third NOA Dec. 13 in which the wording restored a reference to football and men's basketball players using problem courses to help maintain eligibility, which was removed before the second version filed in April of 2016.
The school was due in March to respond to the charges. But the case hit one of its many delays after Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams wrote the NCAA to say that former AFAM office administrator Deborah Crowder was willing to talk with investigators.
As recently as Thursday, Crowder met with NCAA investigators to tell her side of the story after years of declining to cooperate. One of the charges against UNC involves the lack of cooperation from Crowder as well as former AFAM chair Julius Nyang’oro.
Crowder, who graded many of the papers in the problem classes, also filed an affidavit defending the courses' quality. She said she didn't create courses to provide special assistance for athletes while saying athletes and non-athletes received equal treatment.
Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said in a conference call in December, "We have worked collaboratively with NCAA enforcement staff for more than two years. We believe the process has gotten off track.”
UNC has challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction of the recent allegations and has also questioned how much information should be used from a 2014 investigation conducted by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein into the problems in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department.
Wainstein's report focused on courses requiring only a research paper or two while offering GPA-boosting grades, with many misidentified as lecture courses that didn't meet. Wainstein estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across numerous sports accounting for roughly half the enrollments.
The NCAA process allows the university 90 days to respond to any notice of allegations, and then a 60-day window for the NCAA to reply to that response. After that, the university would again go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions for a hearing. Any sanctions would come after that hearing.