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NCAA: No violations found in University of North Carolina sham-class probe

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Friday said it "could not conclude academic violations" at the University of North Carolina, which had been accused of running sham classes for years for some of its scholarship athletes.

The University of North Carolina was found to have committed two minor infractions and it avoided harsh penalties that could have included barring its powerhouse men's basketball team from playing in the national championship tournament.

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by NorthCarolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” said Greg Sankey, chief hearing officer for the NCAA panel that looked into the charges.

The probe centered on allegations that the university based in Chapel Hill gave athletes extra benefits, including offering them easy courses not available to non-athlete students.

Women and men athletes were alleged to have benefited from the courses.

The men's basketball team is the reigning NCAA champion.