Two days after North Carolina head coach Roy Williams lamented the fact that the school had yet to receive a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding an academic fraud scandal and its impact on recruiting, the school announced on Friday that it has received the notice.
No details as to what the allegations are were provided in the release, with the school stating that it is still reviewing the Notice of Allegations and will make the release publicly available “as soon as possible.”
“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA’s 90-day deadline,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a joint statement released by North Carolina. “The University will publicly release the NCAA’s notice as soon as possible. The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law.
“When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA’s allegations, we will follow this same release process.
“Consistent with NCAA protocols, the University cannot comment on details of the investigation until it is completed.”
The receipt of the Notice of Allegations is an important step forward in the investigation for both the NCAA and North Carolina. As mentioned in the statement released by North Carolina, the school now has 90 days to respond to the allegations in the report.
An issue for North Carolina on the recruiting trail has been the lack of concrete allegations, which has negatively impacted their efforts with high-level recruits. While Friday’s announcement means that UNC is one step closer to having clarity on the situation, it doesn’t mean that they’re free from the investigation having a negative effect on recruiting.
The only way to do that is to have this investigation completed without any major sanctions being levied by the NCAA, and it’s impossible to predict how this will all turn out for North Carolina.
While the academic scandal involving the University of North Carolina athletic department has drifted into the background in recent months, there has yet to be any action taken by the NCAA (and who knows if the governing body will deem it necessary to take action). Thursday afternoon it was reported by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today that two former UNC student-athletes, football player Devon Ramsay and women’s basketball player Rashonda McCants have filed a lawsuit against the university and the NCAA.
The lawyers in the case, who are also representing the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, would like to see the case given class action status. Among the allegations made in the lawsuit are that North Carolina failed to provide “academically sound classes with legitimate educational instruction,” and that the NCAA was negligent in its work to prohibit academic fraud from occurring.
The suit seeks unspecified damages and asks for “the formation of an independent commission to review, audit, assess, and report on academic integrity in NCAA-member athletic programs and certify member-school curricula as providing comparable educations and educational opportunities to athletes and non-athletes alike.”
Yesterday it was reported by The Chronicle for Higher Education that the NCAA is currently investigating allegations of academic fraud at 20 schools with 18 of those being Division I members.
McCants is the sister of former North Carolina men’s basketball player Rashad McCants, who last June claimed that while at the school he was steered into phony courses in order to remain eligible. An investigation revealed multiple phony courses within the school’s African and African-American Studies department.
North Carolina is in the midst of academic fraud scandal involving bogus, paper-classes, that according to an independent investigation involved 3,100 student-athletes during an 18-year span.
To help manage the fallout, the university hired Edelman, a public relations firm, several months ago. And it has been a costly hire, according to a report on Thursday from the News & Observer, as the university is set to pay the firm $1.65 million.
From Dan Kane of the News & Observer:
A copy of the contract provided under a public records request shows Edelman will receive more than $1.65 million for public relations services over the period of a year, ending April 30, 2015. The contract is not specific as to what kinds of services the firm will provide, but UNC officials confirmed last month that at least 14 employees from the firm worked on the public release of former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein’s report on the scandal.
Wainstein released his findings from his investigation on Oct. 22. The report stated that student-athletes, many of them football and basketball players, were steered into classes that required no attendance, only a paper at the end of the semester.
This scandal remerged over the summer when Rashad McCants, a member of the North Carolina team that won the 2005 national championship, told Outside the Lines in June that he took four African and African-American Studies courses, a department that was revealed to have many of these paper classes, in the second semester of his junior year in order to remain academically eligible.
A UNC spokersperson told Kane that the public relation will not be covered by state funds or tuition dollars.