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UNC report: ‘not an athletic scandal… it was an academic one’

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And cue the Lt. Frank Drebin clip… now.

In the culmination of a three-month “independent investigation” into allegations of academic fraud at North Carolina, former governor Jim Martin released his group’s report Thursday morning to the school’s Board of Trustees.  The report concluded that students — including non-athletes as well as athletes such as football players — benefited from questionable practices within the African and Afro-American Studies Department, including what ESPN.com classified as “unauthorized grade changes, forged faculty signatures on grade rolls and limited or no class time.”

The academic fraud extended back as far as 1997, much further than the 2007 time frame uncovered in the school’s original investigation.  Martin, though, was adamant on multiple occasions in the sentiment that “[t]he athletics department, coaches, players didn’t create this. It was not in their jurisdiction.  Did student-athletes take advantage of it?… I think so, but same with the non-athletes.”

The biggest take away from Martin’s report to the trustees?

“This was not an athletic scandal. It was an academic scandal, which is worse.”

In a June Raleigh New & Observer report, however, the paper wrote that “records show that in the summer of 2011, 19 students enrolled in AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina, 18 of them players on the football team, the other a former player.”  A month later, the News & Observer reported that “athletes made up a majority of enrollments in the more than 40 ‘no-show’ classes.”

In March of this year, the UNC football program was slapped with multiple NCAA sanctions, including a bowl ban for the 2012 season, stemming from an impermissible benefits scandal that bled into the academic side in the form of a former tutor.  In late August and months after the completion of an internal investigation, UNC released a statement in which it announced that “the NCAA staff reaffirmed to university officials that no NCAA rules appeared to have been broken.”

Martin’s report has been forwarded to the NCAA.  Whether any further action on the part of The Association will come out of this report remains to be seen.

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12 Responses to “UNC report: ‘not an athletic scandal… it was an academic one’”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 20, 2012 1:40 PM

    Grade-flation or Grade-fraud, non attendance at classes though counted as present and other questionable practices in the African and Afro American Studies Department since 1997? Sounds like UNC needs to make wholesale changes to the department, establish much better oversight and accountability, and pink slip all involved.

    “…the News & Observer reported that “athletes made up a majority of enrollments in the more than 40 ‘no-show’ classes.” Well, that sure advances the stereotypes (of many) of college football players and athletes not getting an education. For that, it is sad.

  2. jimbo75025 says: Dec 20, 2012 1:58 PM

    The most amusing part of this-the banner add above this story as I was reading was for the UNC Flagler School of Business. The proclamation was that it was “the online MBA that I probably cannot get into.” Sad, sad, sad. Perhaps I went to too many classes in my previous studies and therefore I am disqualified?

  3. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 20, 2012 2:13 PM

    Pathetic! Where is the NCAA outrage? Where is ESPN calling for heads on a platter? Where is the cries for the Death Penalty? Hippocrates!! If this was Penn State, ESPN/TMZ would have reporter after reporter calling for the university to close. This is B.S.!

  4. kozbee says: Dec 20, 2012 2:45 PM

    Since 1997 imo this is unforgivable for the school and the NCAA to not have interacted within 15 years lol.Maybe everyone working for the NCAA went to UNC at one point in time.I see the death penalty due to this being a 15 yr run at changing grades for the school and all wins loss from the point the fraud started taking place.Something is wrong in the NCAA somewhere to keep this under the carpet and never investigating this issue.Shame on you NCAA,lets start doing your job as you have been doing in other schools.NCAA reminds me of some refs in the game,they choose to see what they want but not throwing a flag at UNC is just plain not doing their jobs.Shame Shame (NC`AA)

  5. roundup5 says: Dec 20, 2012 2:46 PM

    Don’t you folks realize that it would be “racist”, to criticize an
    African studies department. My goodness, we don’t want Jesse and
    Al to descend on the NC campus. Just keep cheating!!

  6. ukeone says: Dec 20, 2012 3:04 PM

    It is sad and frustrating that “scholarships” are handed-out to student-athletes who have “no idea” what is behind the REAL responsibilities associated with it. The problem is that high school kids who aspire playing for their ‘school of choice, receive their scholarship offers based on their ‘performance on the field’ and NOT their ‘performance in the classroom.’ Once such a student lands at his/her school, attention and focus is immediately placed on familiarity of the campus facilities, coaches, trainers, dietitians, and finally, further investing and ensuring that student’s physical & mental formation into the type of ‘athlete’ who will ‘win games’ for the team. Sadly, the rest is left to the tutors! THAT’S THE TRUTH: PLAIN & SIMPLE! Does anyone honestly believe that any college-recruiter is consciously looking for the serious ‘honor student’ when he is out scouting athletes for his team? Paint it-up any color you want…as ‘most’ (if not all) university athletic departments around the NCAA (aka: football programs) have disguised and misrepresented themselves for decades regarding the priorities surrounding giving scholarships to student-athletes. What a waste of money and resources (many times coming right-out from the coffers of their respective states, and ultimately, the tax-payers). To say that these students have had “their grades altered, teacher-signatures forged and athletes purposely & intentionally missing their classes” and then say that “no NCAA rules have been violated” is mind-boggling, completely unacceptable and contrary to the core principles of receiving an education in this country. RIP-AWAY these scholarships from the athletes who don’t take their education seriously & give it to those prospective ‘students’ who are ready to learn and ultimately make serious contributions to our ailing society. “This was not an athletic scandal. It was an academic scandal,…” PLEASE, GIVE ME BREAK!!! UNC and other institutions with this same, lax attitude toward education should have their athletic departments shut-down (at least until they can get their university’s core principles and priorities straightened-out). UNC (and others like you): GET REAL as you are an ‘embarrassment’ to what you have contributed to the good name of higher education!

  7. nrh1225 says: Dec 20, 2012 3:58 PM

    Sounds like a lack of institutional control if you ask me.

    Scholarship reductions, bowl band, and Butch Davis losing his 4 wins during the time period.

  8. dalucks says: Dec 20, 2012 5:04 PM

    When will the white guys who make money off of these scandals get punished? Then again, the entire NCAA is a scandal. More like a ponzi scheme.
    How come it is a lack of institutional control because the white guys (school presidents) are not able to make every dollar possible as the athletes earn a degree that might help them make 60K per year when the athletes generate millions of dollars for the school?
    School presidents sounds alot like Republicians.

  9. truetarheelfan says: Dec 20, 2012 6:16 PM

    Ahem… according to ncaa bylaws if it is deemed to be academic and not athletic then lack of institutional control can not be used as it is used when players run amuck getting paid agents and all if said coach isnt involved…. thats when lack of institutional control is used… now UNC. Was punished. Was it big enough? In my opinion no… and I am a unc fan I feel the football program cast a dsrk shadow on rhe whole sports dept… do I think butch dsvis was the fall man…. ABSOLUTELY! Btw he was 8-5 in all three of his seasons at unc and the third season would have possibly been an undefeated season if not for those players and the assistant head coach… rhis is sad it started with usc came all the way east ro unc went down south 2 times to miam… (can u say death penalty back to the midwest to the ohio state and now back south to auborn…. when will the ncaa get a clue? When will the presidents and heads of athletic depts get a clue… they line their pockets with millions exploiting young athletes… u csnt tell me that a player doesnt see a jersey with the number he wore and no name and doesnt realise that its his jersey replica on said fans back… average cost of replica jersey? $60.00 smh not saying we should pay the players they are amateours. Just saykng that people shoild get real prison time if found to be st the head of cheating im looking at all of u athletic dept heads… presidents boosters and trustees stop muddying up our college sports.

  10. tg1896 says: Dec 20, 2012 8:10 PM

    Haters gonna hate……

  11. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 20, 2012 8:41 PM

    Butch Davis had John Blake on his staff. Here in Texas, Blake was known as Black Santa during his OU recruiting days. If it quacks like a duck…

  12. dmcgrann says: Dec 21, 2012 12:08 AM

    So, say it was really an “academic” versus an “athletic” scandal? Why aren’t we clamoring for UNC to be kicked out of the Association of American Universities? Or does the AAU care?

    How about accreditation? Doesn’t seem to matter too much. UVA just got put on an accreditation warning and the response was, “Hey, we’ve taken care of it. No worries.”

    The truth seems to be that the only way a large, prestigious university can ever be punished significantly for egregious violations and errors is by the NCAA. You want a “death penalty”? Accreditation denial does it for sure. AAU membership is a big one. NCAA? Well, you get over that.

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