UNC announced today that the receipt of a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA to "reopen its 2011 examination of academic irregularities."
Here is the full statement from Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA that it will reopen its 2011 examination of academic irregularities. 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 has conducted and commissioned numerous reviews of this matter and provided the NCAA with updates. In February, the University retained former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein to conduct an independent investigation and instructed him to share relevant information directly and confidentially with the NCAA.
The University has instituted numerous academic reforms based on findings from earlier reports that can be found at http://carolinacommitment.unc.edu/ We remain committed to learning from our past so that we can move forward to building a stronger University.
Consistent with NCAA protocols, we will have no further comment on this matter until the process is complete.
The NCAA confirms they are reopening their probe into UNC based on the possibility of new information from previously uncooperative individuals.
"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."
Translation? The NCAA wants to talk to Crowder and Nyang'oro which means what they say will determine where this goes. If one or both of them reveal a link between AFAM and athletics then this could turn into an NCAA violations case of epic proportions given the length of time involved. If not then the NCAA can close the case again but with the "we will continue to monitor" caveat.
On one level this could be a PR move to ease the pressure the NCAA has been getting for not having responded to hyperbolic headlines and rantings of Willingham/Smith. Still, this is clearly an official look at the academic scandal versus UNC simply keeping the NCAA updated on the various findings. In that respect, UNC has lost some control of how this unfolds not to mention it seems unlikely the NCAA goes this route and walks away without doing something.
At any rate, a banner day no doubt for Dan Kane, Pack Pride and the stable of national writers who were begging for this to happen.