10 key quotes about the NCAA letting UNC off the hook for academic misconduct

The near-decade long investigation by the NCAA into the University of North Carolina and its alleged academic misconduct came to a cessation on Friday.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions released its findings and "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules when it made available deficient Department of African and Afro-American Studies 'paper courses' to the general student body, including student-athletes," according to the NCAA's release.

In summation, the NCAA's finding deemed that both student-athletes and non-student-athletes benefited from the 'paper courses.' And while there was mountains of evidence of academic wrongdoing by the school in the case, UNC prevailed in the argument that both students and athletes benefited from these bogus classes, meaning the classes shouldn't be considered extra benefits for athletes.

The only two violations found by the NCAA in the case were that the former department chair and the former curriculum secretary failed to cooperate with the investigation.

Here's what some key figures had to say:

"While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body. 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." 
— SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, the NCAA panel's chief hearing officer

"The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership."
— Sankey

"We didn't find instances where the assignment wasn't done, the work wasn't done, and the work wasn't turned in for a grade. When the work wasn't turned in, the grades weren't given. These classes had characteristics of independent study courses."
— UNC Vice Chancellor Mark Merritt

"The fact that courses didn't meet our expectations, doesn't make them fraudulent .. I think the facts came out on these courses in a way that put them in context that just haven't been put in context before.
— Merritt

"We've established very robust processes to prevent [academic irregularities] from recurring. And we continue to devote resources to monitoring and refining these reforms and initiatives that have already had such a profound impact on our university."
— UNC Chancellor Carol Folt

"The NCAA staff did not charge us with academic fraud with respect to these classes. The committee looked into that issue and found that the record didn't support. I believe we properly characterized the classes for how they were."
— Merritt

"I appreciated the real scrutiny that the NCAA put forward, but this is what I expected to be the outcome."
— Folt

"We're not proud of the behavior, but we didn't feel it violated a bylaw. Today ... (the NCAA) revealed to us that they came to the same conclusion."
— UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham

"I thank Chancellor Folt and Bubba for their leadership. This is my alma mater and I love it deeply. We've all learned to be a better university from this case."
— UNC basketball coach Roy Williams

"I am glad that we will be able to put this behind us and move forward as a university and football program."
— UNC football coach Larry Fedora

Get the latest on this developing story from insiders on the ground at Chapel Hill. They've been covering Carolina athletics for two decades and will have all of the fallout, including recruiting impact and what's coming next. Visit InsideCarolina.com right now.

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