NCAA decision on UNC

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"While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called "paper courses" offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were exclusively created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes", said Greg Sankey, the panel's chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

It's a long-awaited step for both the school and NCAA.

U.N.C. was charged with a "lack of institutional control" resulting in violations of bylaws governing extra benefits to athletes and ethical conduct.

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When a member institution uses "special arrangement" courses to keep a significant number of student-athletes eligible, it is the NCAA's business. While the university admitted the courses failed to meet its own expectations and standards, the university maintained that the courses did not violate its policies at the time. "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 focus of the investigation was independent study-style courses in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department on the Chapel Hill campus.

The scheme involved almost 200 laxly administered and graded classes - frequently requiring no attendance and just one paper - over almost two decades. Initially, they were considered improper benefits - access to courses and assistance in those courses not available to regular students - but that charge was removed in the second NOA only to be refiled in the third. The fight has included plenty of back and forth and three different Notices of Allegations from the NCAA.

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The NCAA has vigorously argued its right to police and penalize UNC.

UNC challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction, saying its accreditation agency - which sanctioned the school with a year of probation - was the proper authority and that the NCAA was overreaching in what should be an academic matter.

This case was not about those so-called "paper classes" being easy, but about if athletes got special treatment not available to other students.

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UNC can still decide to appeal through the NCAA process or take the NCAA to court. He counted athletes who were no longer team members.

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