No penalties for University of North Carolina in academic scandal: NCAA

No penalties for University of North Carolina in academic scandal: NCAA

"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, chief hearing officer for the NCAA panel that looked into the charges.

UNC also argued that athletes did not receive special treatment since the classes were open to the public while challenging the number of athlete enrollments Wainstein came up with.

The academic fraud allegations involved classes taken by athletes in the African and Afro-American studies department between 2002 and 2011 that helped many retain their eligibility.

According to a university-commissioned investigation, North Carolina had for almost two decades offered a "shadow curriculum" of fake classes into which athletes were steered.

"A singular principle allowed UNC room to make its claims and, ultimately, limits the panel's ability to conclude that academic fraud occurred", the Public Infractions Decision said.

The only violation the committee saw was the lack of cooperation from a former department chair and a former secretary - and two breaches of confidentiality that will not be penalized.

"While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body", said Sankey. This portion of the case took 3 1/2 years to complete. The basketball program won two NCAA championships during that time period.

Sankey asked the enforcement staff to look at new information in November of 2016 - and a third notice of allegations in December of 2016 included both men's basketball and football once again and had UNC facing five top-level charges - including a lack of institutional control and the initial extra benefit charge.

The NCAA's Committee on Infractions announced Friday morning that the University of North Carolina will not be punished for any academic misconduct.

Colleges have set up a system where they require athletes to exchange financial compensation for an education, but in many cases, that education is treated as secondary, much less important than winning games and maintaining eligibility.