The Atlantic Coast Conference membership last month came up one vote short of fining North Carolina $100,000 for the NCAA violations committed during the tenure of former coach Butch Davis.
Instead, the league's Infractions and Penalties Committee issued a public reprimand of the university.
The vote of 7-4 in favor of the fine (North Carolina did not vote) fell one vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to approve the penalty, according to two sources within the league. However, the failed vote indicates that a significant majority of North Carolina's fellow members took a dimmer view of the school's behavior than the issuing of a reprimand would indicate.
"We do not comment on actions not taken by the committee," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in an email Wednesday night.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced in March that it found North Carolina had committed academic fraud, allowed impermissible agent benefits, played ineligible players and failed to monitor the program. The NCAA placed the North Carolina football program on probation for three years, banned it from the postseason this fall, and penalized the Tar Heels five scholarships per year for each of the next three years.
North Carolina football never had been found guilty of committing NCAA violations before this case.
The reprimand is the first additional penalty the ACC has meted out in a probation case since 1990, when the league forced Maryland to repay television revenue for men's basketball games after the NCAA banned the Terps from television.
North Carolina released the results Friday of an internal investigation showing widespread academic fraud, including forged signatures on grade documents, in the university's department of African and Afro-American studies from 2007 to 2009.
The university on Monday released to the Raleigh News and Observer figures showing that 36 percent of the enrolled students in the questionable classes played football. However, the student-athletes received no favorable treatment nor did they receive grades without submitting written work.