The NCAA has charged North Carolina with five violations connected to the school's long-running academic fraud scandal, including a lack of institutional control for poor oversight of an academic department popular with athletes.
The school released a 59-page notice of allegations on Thursday that it received from the NCAA, which uses the document to specify violations uncovered during an investigation.
The charges include providing improper benefits in the form of counselors making "special arrangements" with staffers in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department to offer courses or obtain assignments for athletes, as well as a counselor working with the women's basketball program providing improper help on research papers.
All five charges are considered Level I violations, described by the NCAA as a "severe breach of conduct."
Chancellor Carol Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham issued a joint statement, saying the school takes allegations "about past conduct very seriously" and noted the school has implemented more than 70 reforms since the end of academic irregularities in the AFAM department ended in 2011. UNC has to file a response to the NCAA within 90 days of receiving the notice.
"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," the statement said.
The five charges listed in the NCAA's notice are:
-- There was a lack of institutional control in failing to "sufficiently monitor" the AFAM department as well as the academic support department for athletes, noting athletes received "preferential access" to the department's irregular courses.
-- Academic counselors leveraged relationships from the fall semester in 2002 to the summer session of 2011 with AFAM department faculty and staff to provide athletes with benefits "not generally available to the student body." Those benefits included suggesting assignments to the department, turning in papers for athletes and recommending grades.
-- Academic counselor Jan Boxill, who worked with women's basketball, provided improper assistance by sometimes adding content to athletes' papers. Also, in at least one case, she recommended a grade for submitted work.
-- Former AFAM office administrator Deborah Crowder, one of two department staffers most directly linked to irregular courses in the department, didn't cooperate with NCAA investigators.
-- Former AFAM department chairman Julius Nyang'oro, the other staffer most directly linked to the department's irregular courses, also declined to cooperate with the NCAA probe.
The NCAA reopened an investigation into academic misconduct last summer connected to the AFAM department. The focus was courses often treated as independent studies that required no class time and one or two research papers, with many operating that way despite being scheduled as lecture classes.
An eight-month investigation conducted by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein stated that Crowder -- not a faculty member -- typically handed out assignments then high grades after only a scan of the work. Wainstein's October report found problems running from 1993 to 2011 and affecting more than 3,100 students, with athletes accounting for roughly half the enrollments in the problem courses.
Both Crowder and Nyang'oro cooperated with Wainstein's probe.
The arrival of the NCAA notice will ultimately lead to a hearing for the school with the infractions committee, which would then issue a ruling and any potential sanctions within a time frame of weeks to months.
The school announced May 22 it had received the notice of allegations, but it didn't release the document publicly until Thursday to redact information to comply with privacy laws.