NCAA reopens probe of academic misconduct at North Carolina


The NCAA said Monday it's reopening the investigation of academic misconduct at the University of North Carolina that shook up the school's football program in recent years.

The NCAA's announcement comes just weeks after a former Tar Heels men's basketball player came out with additional allegations into academic misconduct at the school.

"The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was cited by the Division I Committee on Infractions in 2012 for violations in its athletics program, including academic misconduct," the NCAA said in a statement. "As with any case, the NCAA enforcement staff makes clear it will revisit the matter if additional information becomes available. After determining that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might be willing to speak with the enforcement staff, the NCAA has reopened its investigation.

"The enforcement staff is exploring this new information to ensure an exhaustive investigation is conducted based on all available information. The NCAA will not comment further to protect the integrity of the investigation."

Former Tar Heels guard Rashad McCants told ESPN's Outside the Lines earlier this month that he took several phony classes in order to remain eligible during the basketball team's run to a national title in 2005. He was the latest in a long line of stories that have accused the university of looking the other way about academic fraud.

At the center of the scandal are African-American Studies classes that many athletes, including a large number of football players, enrolled in -- the school announced in 2012 it found issues with 54 African-American Studies classes taught from 2007-11, includes classes that never took place or were taught irregularly.

The football program was cited by the NCAA for improper benefits from agents and academic misconduct involving a tutor, but investigators encountered roadblocks in the case as some witnesses were not cooperative. The Tar Heels were docked 15 scholarships by the Committee on Infractions and were banned from going to a bowl game for one year in 2012.

The university hired a former federal prosecutor, Kenneth Wainstein, to look into all of the allegations and conduct an independent investigation.

"The university has received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA that it will reopen its 2011 examination of academic irregularities," the school said Monday in a statement. "Consistent with NCAA protocols, we will have no further comment on this matter until the process is complete."

The reopening of the investigation has the potential for significant trouble for the Tar Heels' prized basketball program, but it's clear based on Monday's news that the football program isn't out of the woods yet, either.

*Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter **@BryanDFischer.*

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