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The NCAA will reopen its investigation of academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the school said Monday, adding another layer to the ongoing investigation of Carolina in wake of the problems with the football program.
UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said Monday that the school has received “a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA” that its investigation will continue.
“The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff,” Cunningham said in a statement.
The new probe by the NCAA comes after Carolina hired former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein in February to investigate the UNC academic irregularities. Wainstein told the UNC system Board of Governors June 20 that his team had the cooperation of Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair of key people in the African and Afro-American Studies program, and Deborah Crowder, the former department manager.
Wainstein said he expects his committee to have a report in the fall.
The problems at UNC have been focused on the football program, but former Tar Heel star Rashad McCants told ESPN he was steered to classes where athletes didn’t have to show up.
“I didn’t write any papers. But I know that the tutors did help guys write papers,” McCants told ESPN. “But for the premier players, we didn’t write our papers.”
McCants said Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams knew about the practice. Williams has vehemently denied he had any knowledge that McCants or other players were steered to improper classes.
In March of 2012, the NCAA banned Carolina from postseason play in football for the 2012 season and put the football program on probation for three years. Carolina lost five football scholarships each year. The NCAA ruled that defensive coordinator John Blake, who had been fired by the school, could not be hired by an NCAA school for three years without that school showing why they shouldn't be punished for hiring him.