One of the key figures in the North Carolina academic fraud scandal was Julius Nyang’oro, the former head of the school’s department of African and Afro-American Studies. With the allegations that athletes were taking no-show classes and receiving credit for classes they didn’t take, Nyang’oro was indicted on charges of obtaining property by false pretense (receiving pay for classes he did not teach) and fraud.
Thursday, due to Nyang’oro’s cooperation with the investigation, the fraud charge was dropped by Orange County (NC) District Attorney Jim Woodall. Ken Wainstein, Partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP who conducted the independent investigation into the allegations of academic fraud, supported Woodall’s decision to drop the fraud charge.
“We understand that District Attorney Jim Woodall has dismissed the pending criminal charge against Julius Nyang’oro, in part due to the cooperation Dr. Nyang’oro has provided to our investigation into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Wainstein said in the statement.
“As DA Woodall has explained, Dr. Nyang’oro has fully cooperated with our investigation. He has met with us on multiple occasions, he has answered all of our questions regarding the academic and athletic dimensions of the irregular courses offered in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, and he has provided important insights and information we would otherwise not have received. In sum, his cooperation has contributed significantly to the progress that our investigation has made to date.”
While this development is good news for Nyang’oro, the UNC athletic department isn’t out of the woods just yet regarding its academic issues. With former player Rashad McCants going public with his academic issues in recent weeks the NCAA announced that it will reopen its investigation.
And with this being the case, would Nyang’oro be a person NCAA investigators attempted to contact? That remains to be seen.