-- The NCAA has reopened its investigation into the academic scandal that has rocked North Carolina over the past three years.
"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."
In 2012, the NCAA sanctioned the North Carolina football program with a postseason ban and scholarship losses after finding impermissible benefits and academic fraud under then-coach Butch Davis.
Since 2011, the university has conducted several reviews related to the academics scandal and provided the NCAA with updates. North Carolina announced in 2012 that it had found problems with 54 classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) taught from summer 2007 to summer 2011, including grade changes, forged faculty signatures on grade rolls and limited or no class time.
North Carolina forwarded the results of that investigation to the NCAA, which ruled the university did not break any rules related to the AFAM scandal.
In February, the university hired former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein to conduct an independent investigation and instructed him to share relevant information directly with the NCAA.
Former faculty member Julius Nyang'oro is on trial for felony criminal fraud as a result of the scandal, though the judge in his case is considering dropping the charges because he has been cooperating with the Wainstein investigation.
Earlier this month, former North Carolina basketball player Rashad McCants made headlines when he alleged academic fraud to "Outside the Lines," saying he had papers written for him and that no-show classes helped keep him eligible. A copy of his transcript obtained by "Outside the Lines" showed that in his African-American Studies classes he had 10 A's, six B's, one C and one D. In his other classes, McCants got six C's, one D and three F's.
McCants, who played on the Tar Heels' 2004-05 national championship team, told ESPN's Steve Delsohn in an email exchange Monday that the NCAA has not contacted him yet.
"The University of North Carolina serves as an example of America's education system for the future leaders and icons in sports," McCants' email said. "Free education no compensation has proven over time to be a criminal cover up to exploit teenagers and their families through the national letter of intent. If we as athletes were being paid to work for these universities like unc proper education in career fields would come at the result of the athletes performance academically.
"There are resolutions I have created that could rid any further academic fraudulent activity amongst any university in the future," the email continued. "But until there is a sit down meeting amongst the players and the ncaa there will never be any resolution. I'm calling all college student athletes to stand up and demand resolution demand a sit down. #defendstudentathletes."
North Carolina coach Roy Williams denied the charges, telling ESPN he was in "shock" and "disbelief" over the allegations. However, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported that McCants was not the only member of the 2005 team who was enrolled in no-show classes to stay eligible.
The newspaper gathered data that showed "five members of that team ... accounted for a combined 39 enrollments in classes that have been identified as confirmed or suspected lecture classes that never met."
In the wake of the scandal, the university has instituted several academic reforms based on findings from earlier reports.
"We remain committed to learning from our past so that we can move forward to building a stronger university," athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement.