The NCAA announced Friday that it "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules" in what is widely considered the worst academic scandal in college sports history. The classes were taken by more than 3,100 students - almost half of them athletes - from 1993 to 2011.
The NCAA originally treated some of the academic issues as improper benefits by saying athletes received access to the courses and other assistance generally unavailable to non-athletes.
The NCAA's investigation had focused on how those classes, which existed for 18 years, benefited athletes. The courses were misidentified as lecture classes but didn't meet and required a research paper or two for typically high grades.
In the end, the NCAA agreed with UNC - though reluctantly - that the matter was out of governing body's jurisdiction.
The report said fraternity members may have another incentive to take the courses besides a normal student desire for easy As. "Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student-athletes".
The university faced five Level I charges from the NCAA, including lack of institutional control, in a case that grew as an offshoot of a probe launched in 2010 into the football program.
"The panel can not conclude that extra benefit violations occurred surrounding the offering or managing of the courses as alleged".
North Carolina had a two-day hearing in mid-April in Nashville in front of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions. The basketball program won two NCAA championships during that time period.
Syracuse's investigation centered around academic fraud committed on Fab Melo's behalf by a former member of Boehim's coaching staff (director of basketball operations Stan Kissell) to keep him eligible, as well as three other players who the school declined to charge for academic fraud but the NCAA found had portions of mid-terms and papers written by a former basketball secretary and a member of the school's academic services on their home computers to help basketball players maintain their eligibility.
The attorney for a former professor and academic counsellor charged in North Carolina's academic case says his client is "obviously pleased" that an NCAA infractions committee panel didn't conclude she committed a violation.
Since 2014, investigators have been looking into a course, which was formerly called African and Afro-American Studies.
According to investigator Kenneth Wainstein's report, the "paper courses" were "hardly a secret" on campus and predominantly spread by word-of-mouth among undergraduates.