(CN) – The National Collegiate Athletic Association has charged the University of North Carolina with five serious violations relating to the school’s long-running academic scandal.
The university posted the 59-page notice of allegations and hundreds of pages of exhibits from the NCAA on its Carolina Commitment website on Thursday following a privacy rights review. It said received the notice on May 20, and will respond within the 90-day deadline to do so.
The five charges included in the notice accuse the university of failing to “sufficiently monitor” its African and Afro-American Studies departments and preferential treatment it accorded athletes; of academic counselors providing athletes with benefits “not generally available to the student body”; of counselors helping members of the university’s women’s basketball team with research papers and other course work; and of key staff members not cooperating with NCAA investigators.
The NCAA began looking into the issue of academic misconduct related to the African and Afro-American studies department last summer, focusing particularly on studies that required no class time and little tangible work.
The investigation was overseen by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein, who in the past has estimated that as many as 3,100 students may have been affected by these practices.
All of the charges are considered severe breaches of conduct, the NCAA said.
The NCAA violations come in the wake of several lawsuits by former student athletes who now contend they were poorly served by the university.
In March, two former student-athletes filed a class action claiming the university failed to provide them with a quality education and, instead, funneled them into sham classes that gave high grades for little or no work.
At least two similar class actions were filed in February, and in November 2014.
In a statement, Chancellor Carol Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said:
“We take the allegations the NCAA made about past conduct very seriously. This is the next step in a defined process, and we are a long way from reaching a conclusion. We will respond to the notice using facts and evidence to present a full picture of our case. Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina.
“We believe the University has done everything possible to address the academic irregularities that ended in 2011 and prevent them from recurring. We have implemented more than 70 reforms and initiatives to ensure and enhance academic integrity. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of those measures and, wherever needed, put additional safeguards in place,” the statement continued.
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