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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)

 

RALEIGH — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has spent $21 million on legal, public relations and investigative costs related to its long-running academic scandal, bills released last week show.

The bills from 2016 through this year show the university has spent more than $3.5 million on several law firms involved in successfully defending the university against NCAA allegations and individual lawsuits by former athletes. The university had previously spent nearly $18 million on legal, public relations, investigative and records production costs.

The university is not likely to spend much more. The NCAA's infractions committee, after a drawn-out case that involved three separate notices of allegations, did not sanction the university. The three athlete lawsuits were dismissed by state and federal judges.

UNC officials said the money for the various costs did not come from tuition or state appropriations.

The News & Observer made a public records request for the bills in November.

UNC in a news release said the legal bills totaled nearly $3.6 million, but the N&O's tallying of the bills came to more than $3.7 million. The reason for the discrepancy wasn't immediately clear, but the bills include payments to two law firms not mentioned in UNC's news release: $16,000 to the Charlotte office of the Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice firm for representing basketball coach Roy Williams and $71,000 to the Williams & Connolly firm in Washington that was billed to athletics director Bubba Cunningham.

The legal, public relations and investigative bills cover several aspects of the university's handling of the situation involving 18 years of classes that had no instruction and required only a term paper or two that drew high grades. Nearly 190 of those classes were listed as lecture-style classes in university publications; hundreds more were listed as independent studies.

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August 14, 2018
 
 
 

 

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