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North Carolina faces five major allegations after NCAA probe

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North Carolina released the NCAA's "Notice of Allegations" on Thursday, and the school is accused of five Level I allegations, which are considered "severe" breaches of conduct by the NCAA.

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Examples of a Level I violation include lack of institutional control, academic fraud and individual unethical or dishonest conduct. The investigation of UNC centers on academic fraud.

The school received the notice May 21 and has 90 days to respond. That means it's likely that a ruling will come down early next year. Given the scope and length of the fraud, UNC likely faces major penalties, though how each separate program will be treated is the big question.

An independent investigation conducted for the school and released last October showed that between 1993 and 2011, there was a "shadow curriculum" in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies and that about 1,900 athletes were involved with the classes. A bit more than 50 percent of the athletes involved were football players.

Two earlier investigations turned up no significant wrongdoing; after this one, though, the NCAA decided to investigate.

The school was punished in 2012 after football players received improper benefits from sports agents. Those sanctions included a one-year postseason ban, vacated wins and reduced scholarships.

Current football coach Larry Fedora is not mentioned in the NCAA's notice. The football coaches mentioned in the most recent investigation were John Bunting (who was at UNC from 2001-06) and Butch Davis (2007-10).

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The five major allegations are that UNC provided impermissible benefits to athletes that weren't generally available to the student body; that an administrator knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to athletes; that a former administrator failed to furnish relevant information to the NCAA and to the school; that the chairman of the African and Afro-American Studies department failed to furnish relevant information to the NCAA and to the school; and that the school lacked institutional control.

"We believe the University has done everything possible to address the academic irregularities that ended in 2011 and prevent them from recurring," UNC chancellor Carol L. Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a joint statement from the school. "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."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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