North Carolina won a men's basketball championship in April.
Its biggest victory this year, however, came Friday when the NCAA announced it could not conclude the school violated rules for a years-long academic scandal involving athletes across multiple sports.
Five things the decision means for North Carolina:
Championship banners stay in rafters
April's defeat of Gonzaga earned Roy Williams his third national championship at North Carolina. The first two (in 2005 and 2009) came during the time when athletes were enrolled in the African and Afro-American studies courses that helped many retain their eligibility between 2002 and 2011.
Unlike Louisville, which is having to appeal the stripping of its 2013 championship for rules violations, North Carolina will have no such concern now that the NCAA decided not to punish the school.
Roy Williams career might be greater than Dean Smith
Dean Smith made North Carolina. His former assistant now arguably is having a greater career than his mentor.
With his three national championships secure, Williams has one more title than Smith. He also accomplished the feat in just 14 years in Chapel Hill. Smith was at North Carolina for 36 seasons.
Williams also won't have any of his 815 career victories vacated, putting him just 64 behind Smith's mark of 879 that at one time was the most among major college coaches. Williams, who won 418 games at Kansas, could pass Smith in 2019 with two strong seasons.
Recruiting picking up in Chapel Hill
North Carolina continued to recruit with the best programs even with the school under NCAA investigation for the past several years.
Now with the cloud of potential NCAA tournament bans or scholarship reductions lifted, the Tar Heels could have even more success with top players knowing their college careers won't be impacted by the fallout.
Not known as a one-and-done program, North Carolina has had one during Williams' tenure, the could open doors to those prospects that
The Tar Heels have darn good lawyers
The NCAA attempted to treat the issue as improper benefits to athletes, but UNC challenged the NCAA's jurisdiction. And won.
“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 solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer.
UNC 1, NCAA 0
In the end -- and this is the way the members themselves want it -- the schools determine what are legitimate classes, not the that small group of people who work in an office in Indianapolis.
Football, yes, football gets a boost
North Carolina is a basketball school. But its football program has been nationally competitive as recently as 2015, when it was in contention for a possible College Football Playoff berth before a narrow loss to Clemson in the ACC title game.
Larry Fedora's team is struggling this season; however, he will feel much better about the program's future with no sanctions coming his way.
Often mentioned for other jobs, Fedora has a good reason to stay, and that is a good thing for both sides.