Probe reveals scope of academic fraud at UNC

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Probe reveals scope of academic fraud at UNC
Kenneth Wainstein, left, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and investigative team member Joseph Jay prepare to release results following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, right, speaks with attendees prior to a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina President Tom Ross is greeted prior to a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses members of the media during a press conference following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds a copy of his findings following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The findings revealed academic fraud involving more than 3,100 students. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, left, and Chancellor Carol Folt listen during a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Kenneth Wainstein, left, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses the media following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Listening from second left are, University President Tom Ross, Chancellor Carol Folt and Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham listen at right. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt, left, and President Tom Ross prepare to address members of the media with results of an investigation into academic irregularities following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, left, and Chancellor Carol Folt talk during a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
UNC coach Larry Fedora directs his team during the third quarter of their game against Notre Dame on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's Romar Morris (21) and Travis Hughes (9) celebrate following an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. North Carolina won 48-43. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise (20) drops UNC's Ryan Switzer (3) for a loss on a punt return during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo (43) reacts as teammate Leslie McDonald fouls out of the game against Pittsburgh in the second half during the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday, March 14, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C. Pitt advanced, 80-75. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
UNC quarterback Marquise Williams (12) reacts after throwing an interception in the fourth quarter that allowed Notre Dame to secure a victory on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina senior A.J. Blue (15) celebrates the Tar Heels' 27-19 victory over N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, November 2, 2013. (Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina associate head Andrew Calder argues a call with the officials during the second half. The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Michigan State Spartans, 62-53, during the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina Tar Heels' James Michael McAdoo (43) reacts after a dunk over Landry Nnoko (35) for two of his game high 22 points in the second half against the Clemson Tigers at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's Quinshad Davos (14) races away from N.C. State's Brian Walker (28) on a pass for a touchdown at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, November 2, 2013. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's Quinshad Davos (14) celebrates a touchdown against N.C. State during the second quarter at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, November 2, 2013. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 18: (L to R) Marcus Paige #5, J.P. Tokoto #13, James Michael McAdoo #43, Leslie McDonald #2 and Jackson Simmons #21 of the North Carolina Tar Heels huddle a game against the Boston College Eagles on January 18, 2014 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 82-71. (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
North Carolina's Marcus Paige (5) and UNC's J.P. Tokoto (13) celebrates as time runs out in the Tar Heels' 85-84 overtime victory against N.C. State on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina players Joey Mangili (23), Thomas Moore (18), Tommy Hibbard (30), Conor Fry (61) and Jessie Rogers (90) check the scoreboard in the third quarter after East Carolina scored to increase its lead to 42-17 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Saturday September 28, 2013. ECU defeated UNC, 55-31. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's Khris Francis (1) rushes for eight yards in the fourth quarter against Middle Tennessee State at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Saturday, September 7, 2013. UNC defeated Middle Tennessee, 40-20. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
The University of North Carolina student section wait for the kickoff against Virginia Tech at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Saturday, October 6, 2012. UNC defeated Virginia Tech, 48-34. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Carolina's Erik Highsmith (88) pulls down a pass from UNC quarterback Bryn Renner (2) for a 31-yard gain in the fourth quarter against Miami at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Saturday, October 15, 2011. The University of Miami Hurricanes defeated the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, 30-24. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
North Caorlina tight ends coach Allen Mogridge reacts after the Tar Heels were unable to recover a bobbled punt return by Georgia Tech's Zach Laskey (37) late in the fourth quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Georgia Tech defeated UNC, 35-28. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
FILE - in this Sept. 5, 2009, file photo, then-North Carolina coach Butch Davis speaks to his team between plays during an NCAA college football game against the Citadel in Chapel Hill, N.C. Davis has posted a video on YouTube defending himself from allegations following an NCAA investigation into the UNC football program, saying he is "absolutely committed to a clean program." In the 9 1/2-minute clip, Davis says his philosophy has always been to succeed academically and on the field. "Those who have implied my ethics were different at the University of North Carolina couldn't be more wrong," Davis said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 18: Mack Hollins #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during their game at Kenan Stadium on October 18, 2014 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 48-43. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
University of North Carolina president Tom Ross addresses members of the media regarding an investigation into academic irregularities at the University following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt addresses members of the media regarding an investigation into academic irregularities at the University during a press conference following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses members of the media during a press conference following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
University of North Carolina President Tom Ross listens during a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Board members convene gather for a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Board members gather for a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The board gathered to discuss the results of an independent investigation of past academic irregularities. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - More than 3,100 students - nearly half of them athletes - enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for and received artificially inflated grades in what an investigator called a "shadow curriculum" that lasted nearly two decades at the University of North Carolina.

The report released Wednesday by former high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein found more far-reaching academic fraud than previous investigations by the school and the NCAA.

Many at the university hoped Wainstein's investigation would bring some closure to the long-running scandal, which is rooted in an NCAA investigation focused on improper benefits within the football program in 2010. Instead, findings of a systemic problem in the former African and Afro-American Studies department could lead to NCAA sanctions and possible dismissal of additional UNC staff.

"I think it's very clear that this is an academic, an athletic and a university problem," chancellor Carol Folt said.

The report outlined courses in the former African and Afro-American Studies department that required only a research paper that was often scanned quickly and given an A or B regardless of the quality of work.

The school's board of trustees and the panel that oversees the state's university system reviewed Wainstein's findings during a closed-door meeting earlier Wednesday. A half-dozen officials and UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham declined to say whether anyone would lose their job.

The NCAA hit the football program in 2012 with scholarship reductions and a postseason ban, though the academic violations focused mainly on a tutor providing improper help to players on papers. The NCAA said it reopened its investigation in June because new information was available.

Wainstein's staff has briefed NCAA investigators at least three times, plans another briefing on the final report and has "enjoyed a strong cooperative relationship," according to the report.

The report outlined how the fraud ran unchecked for so long, as well as how faculty and administration officials missed or looked past red flags such as unusually high numbers of independent study course enrollments.

It said athletics staffers steered athletes to classes that also became popular with fraternities and other everyday students looking for an easy grade.

"By the mid-2000s, these classes had become a primary - if not the primary - way that struggling athletes kept themselves from having eligibility problems," the report said.

The school hired Wainstein in February. Unlike previous inquiries by former Gov. Jim Martin and the school, Wainstein had the cooperation of former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and retired office administrator Deborah Crowder - the two people blamed for the irregularities.

Nyang'oro was indicted in December on a felony fraud charge, though it was dropped after he agreed to cooperate with Wainstein's probe. Crowder was never charged.

It was Crowder who started the paper classes as a way to help struggling students with "watered-down requirements" not long after Nyang'oro became chairman of the curriculum in 1992, according to the report. Though not a faculty member, she managed the courses by registering students, assigning them topics and then handing out high grades regardless of the work.

By 1999, in an apparent effort to work around the number of independent studies students could take, Crowder began offering lecture classes that didn't meet and were instead paper classes.

After her retirement in 2009, Nyang'oro graded papers "with an eye to boosting" a student's grade-point average, even asking Crowder's successor to look up GPAs before he'd issue a grade for a course, according to the report.

Nyang'oro stepped down in 2011 as chairman after accusations of undetected plagiarism surfaced against a former football player.

In all, athletes made up about 47 percent of the enrollments in the 188 lecture-classified paper classes. Of that group, 51 percent were football players.

Wainstein's staff reviewed records dating to the 1980s and interviewed 126 people, including men's basketball coach Roy Williams, who said he trusted the school "to put on legitimate classes," according to the report.

Former basketball player Rashad McCants, who told ESPN in June that tutors wrote research papers for him and that Williams was aware that of no-show classes, didn't respond to numerous requests for interviews, according to the report.

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