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UNC reviews possible post of Julius Pepper’s college transcript

 Bears defensive end Julius Peppers  | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 13, 2012 4:19PM

North Carolina is investigating how what appears to be a transcript for former football star Julius Peppers surfaced on the university’s website.

In a statement Monday, the school said it has removed the link and that it wouldn’t discuss confidential student information covered by federal privacy laws. The school didn’t confirm the authenticity of the transcript, which lists Peppers’ name at the top.

The link, which surfaced late Sunday, showed Peppers received some of his highest grades in classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM). A school investigation has since found fraud and poor oversight in 54 AFAM classes between summer 2007 and summer 2011, with football players making up more than a third of the enrollments and student-athletes making up 58 percent of the overall enrollments in those suspect classes.

Nine of the 10 classes in which Peppers earned a B-plus, B or B-minus came in the AFAM department, according to the possible transcript.

Peppers also played two seasons for the men’s basketball team under Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty, serving as a reserve on the team that reached the Final Four in 2000.

Peppers was the No. 2 pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft and spent eight seasons there. He signed with the Chicago Bears in 2010 and is a six-time Pro Bowl defensive end.

The school’s investigation of the AFAM department began as an offshoot of the NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct in the football program, which began in June 2010. That probe ultimately led to the firing of coach Butch Davis last July, though Davis wasn’t cited for a violation when the NCAA penalized the program in March with a one-year bowl ban and 15 scholarship reductions over three years.

Davis, who has denied knowledge of wrongdoing, has said he never steered players to take AFAM classes nor met the department chairman — whose name was linked to the majority of the suspect classes listed in the school’s AFAM probe.

The NCAA investigation also led to the resignation of longtime athletic director Dick Baddour. The school hired Tulsa’s Bubba Cunningham as athletic director and Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora as football coach.

The UNC board of governors — who oversee the 17-campus public university system — has appointed a four-member panel to review the school’s investigation of the AFAM irregularities.

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