On Thursday, June 4, the NCAA brought five charges against the University of North Carolina as a result of approximately 3,000 students having had their grades inflated through faulty courses. The charges were broad, rather than sport-specific, and dealt with the improper benefits that student athletes received through the formerly named African and Afro-American (AFAM) Studies department. The five charges are considered potential Level I violations, and the athletic director stated that it is too early in the process to speculate on potential sanctions the university could face.
Former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein stated that an office administrator typically handed out assignments and high grades after simply scanning the students’ work. Additionally, his October report found that from 1993 to 2011, student athletes accounted for roughly half of the enrollments in the AFAM courses that had these academic issues. The focus of the investigation centered around courses that essentially operated as independent studies, requiring no class time and one or two research papers while still being scheduled as lecture classes.
The five charges listed in the NCAA’s notice are that there was a lack of institutional control, that academic counselors leveraged relationships with AFAM faculty and staff to provide athletes with benefits, that women’s basketball counselor Jan Boxill provided improper assistance, that one of the two most directly linked AFAM staffers did not cooperate with NCAA investigators, and that the former AFAM department chairman, the other staffer most directly linked with the courses, also failed to cooperate with the investigation. A hearing will take place sometime this fall, with final infractions expected to occur six to eight weeks later.