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UNC Admits Wrongdoing, Questions NCAA’s Jurisdiction In Ongoing Academic Fraud Case

The old well at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Tim Schleicher
flickr, Creative Commons

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has filed its latest response to the NCAA in an ongoing case over academic fraud involving athletes.

The University's response to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations admits certain infractions, but questions the NCAA's jurisdiction over some of the academic problems that began in the African and African-American Studies department.

The most damaging allegation by the NCAA is that there was a lack of institutional control.

"I am responding to the potential underlying violations, and (whether) those violations constitute lack of institutional control," said Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. "And in our institutional opinion, it does not."

The six-year academic scandal began in the African and African-American Studies department and involved athletes in football and men’s basketball - among other sports – getting high grades in no-show classes.

Many of the NCAA’s most recent allegations center on Jan Boxill, a former member of the philosophy department and director of the Parr Center For Ethics. Boxill also tutored women’s basketball players.

In a response obtained by the News & Observer, Boxill’s attorney said: "It did not happen. Not one of the Allegations against Jan Boxill is true."

Boxill's reaction, as well as the response from UNC-Chapel Hill and the NCAA, could lead to a contentious meeting with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

"We feel that we've had two individuals in an academic unit who operated out of the norm," said Cunningham. "We have one counselor who has been accused of providing too much academic support. All of this transpired over a 20-year period. That's three individuals over a long period of time. We don't believe that constitutes a lack of institutional control."

The Committee on Infractions hearing is expected to take place later this fall. A final decision on possible penalties is not likely to come before early next year.

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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