Accrediting agency won't reopen investigation into UNC 'paper classes'

Posted October 16, 2017 6:07 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting body for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told WRAL News Monday that it had reviewed the NCAA's findings against UNC and did not find anything there that would prompt another investigation.

In announcing on Friday that the NCAA would not sanction UNC's athletic department for the 18 years of no-show classes and changed grades that he said "more likely than not" helped keep student-athletes eligible, Greg Sankey, commissioner of the SEC and the chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, referred the matter of academic fraud to the accrediting agency.

On Monday, Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, SACS president, told WRAL News, "I have read the report and I find nothing in it to cause use to reopen the investigation."

During the course of the seven-year NCAA/UNC inquiry, SACS put the university on 12 months of probation, requiring proof that reforms – to independent studies, course content and academic support services – instituted by Chancellor Carol Folt were correcting the problems identified in a series of internal reviews that showed academic advisers at UNC-Chapel Hill steered student-athletes for 18 years toward classes that never met and required only a short paper to pass.

"This issue was bigger than anything with which we’ve ever dealt, and it went on for longer than anything else," Wheelan said in 2015. "This is the first one I can recall in the 10 years I’ve been here that we put an institution on probation for academic fraud or academic integrity."