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NCAA will reopen academic fraud investigation at North Carolina

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
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Dec 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; A North Carolina Tar Heels helmet lays on the field prior to the start of the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

The NCAA notified North Carolina Monday that it will reopen its 2011 investigation looking into “academic irregularities” at the school among Tar Heels athletes. The case had previously ended more than two years ago.

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham announced the news in a statement Monday afternoon.

“The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff. Since 2011, the University had conducted and commissioned numerous reviews of this matter and provided the NCAA with updates,” the statement said.

In February, North Carolina retained investigator and former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wanstein to “conduct an independent investigation.” According to the statement, he has been “instructed to share relevant information directly and confidentially with the NCAA.”

The NCAA also released a statement on the reopening of the investigation.

“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. 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.”

This news comes a few weeks after former UNC basketball star Rashad McCants told ESPN's Outside the Lines that academic staff advised him to take sham classes in order for him to remain eligible to compete. He even said that he made the Dean's List one semester without attending any of his four classes. 

McCants has not been the only former Tar Heel to speak about the academic situation for athletes at UNC. Former football player Michael McAdoo said that the academic environment was “a scam” and that counselors advised him to enroll in classes that required no class attendance and one paper written at the end of a semester.

Cunningham said that the school is “committed to learning from our past so that we can move forward to building a stronger university.”

The school cannot comment on the investigation further due to NCAA protocols.

For more North Carolina news, visit TarHeelIllustrated.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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