NCAA sets Oct. 28 hearing date for UNC in academic case

BY foxsports • September 30, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina is scheduled to appear before an NCAA infractions committee panel Oct. 28 in the case tied to its long-running academic fraud scandal.

The hearing will focus on procedural arguments made by the school in its response to five serious charges instead of whether violations occurred in the multi-year case. The school released correspondence Friday from the NCAA that set the hearing date in Indianapolis.

''The panel will not discuss the underlying facts or allegations for the purpose of finding facts, concluding whether violations occurred or prescribing penalties,'' the letter states.

The hearing date is five years to the day of the school's previous meeting with an infractions committee panel, which handled a probe launched in 2010 focused on improper benefits and academic misconduct within the football program. The academic case grew as an offshoot of that probe starting in fall 2011.

The case centers on irregularities in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department, most notably lecture classes that didn't meet and operated as independent study. An independent 2014 probe by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein said athletes represented about half of the enrollments in problematic courses, while estimating that about 3,100 students were affected during an 18-year period that ended in 2011.

In its August response, UNC challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction to pursue charges, saying its accreditation agency was the proper authority to handle the matter among several procedural arguments. The school didn't self-impose penalties.

The NCAA enforcement staff had 60 days to respond to UNC's response, a timeline that expires this week. The process would eventually lead to a hearing with an infractions committee panel to discuss the charges with a ruling coming weeks to months afterward.

That timeline is certain to carry the case into 2017, approaching seven years since NCAA investigators first arrived on campus in the football case.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap


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