After a years-long investigation and back-and-forth with the NCAA, the organization announced Friday that it could not determine UNC's "paper courses" constituted an NCAA violation.
"While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called "paper courses" offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were exclusively created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes", SEC commissioner and Committee on Infractions chairman said in a statement.
This ruling by the COI comes as the committee's final judgement in an unprecedented case. This ruling is the COI's final decision in the third formal investigative stage. The allegations also included tutors writing papers for student athletes for class credit and having others complete "take home tests".
We will be updating this story with more information.
The focus of the investigation were independent study-style courses in the African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department.
The only violation the committee saw was the lack of cooperation from a former department chair and a former secretary - and two breaches of confidentiality that will not be penalized.
Beyond that, the NCAA also determined that the paper classes were not impermissible benefits.
A 2014 report commissioned by UNC said that some non-athletes benefited from the fraud. "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".
In the end, the NCAA agreed with UNC - though reluctantly - that the matter was out of governing body's jurisdiction.
That's not all the Tar Heels and their fans have to celebrate.
The school had been alleged to have been cycling football and basketball players through non-existent courses in African American studies. The football program received a one-year postseason ban, lost 15 scholarships over a three-year period and also was forced to vacate 15 wins in March of 2012.
If the NCAA's investigation into North Carolina were a college student, it would have graduated a semester early. They were identified as lecture classes, but the classes didn't actually meet. Crowder left the university in 2009.