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.