CHAPEL HILL – Julius Nyang’oro, the former UNC African studies chairman and central figure of the UNC academic fraud scandal, held a close relationship with the student athlete tutoring program— according to a report Saturday by the News and Observer.

Writer Dan Kane says that members of the academic support staff offered Nyang’oro football tickets and the chance to watch a game from the sidelines. Kane says this information was obtained through newly released emails as part of a public records request filed a year ago.

Kane says that none of the details within the correspondence surfaced in the university’s investigations of the African and Afro-American Studies Department, or the NCAA investigation that resulted in the firing of UNC’s head football coach, Butch Davis, and multiple athletic department resignations—including for Athletic Director Dick Baddour.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp and other university officials have said the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes did not collaborate with Nyang’oro or department manager, Debbie Crowder, to create fraudulent classes to help maintain student athlete eligibility.

The university has stood by its own investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin, which concluded the fraud was not intended to benefit athletes because non-athletes were also enrolled in the classes and received the same high grades.