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 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.
One-time Wisconsin commit Marvin Robinson lands at Kentucky
Robinson had been a verbal commitment to Wisconsin and was set to sign with the Badgers in February of 2015. However, the Fort Lauderdale product failed to qualify academically at UW.
The 6-4, 175-pounder sat out the 2015 season, so he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016. Whether seeing the field actually comes to fruition remains to be seen as the Wildcats return five wide receivers who caught at least 10 passes in 2015, including the top four on the team in receptions and receiving yards — Dorian Baker (55-608), Garrett Johnson (46-694), Jeff Badet (29-430) and Blake Bone (20-210). Ryan Timmons (12-114) is the fifth, with those five also accounting for nine of the team’s 10 touchdown receptions on the season.
Wisconsin will need all hands on deck if they hope to contain LSU’s Leonard Fournette in the 2016 opener at Lambeau field. Unfortunately for the Badgers, a key hand may be unavailable.
A report emerged late last week that T.J. Edwards would be sidelined indefinitely because of a foot injury. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that “Edwards was seen wearing a walking boot this week and a source confirmed the redshirt sophomore is out” for the foreseeable future.
During the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, head coach Paul Chryst somewhat addressed the linebacker’s status.
Paul Chryst said in local media session that there isn’t a timetable for ILB T.J. Edwards’ return from an injured foot. #Badgers
Leidner was one of the Gophers’ player representatives at the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, and decided he’d share a post-operation picture of his surgically-repaired foot. Again, if your squeamish, look away.
Here’s what Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner endured this offseason. It’s amazing he’s healthy. This photo is likely NSFW. pic.twitter.com/3HmVyb9f0x
As if the photo doesn’t paint this picture, head coach Tracy Claeys acknowledged that the starter was worse off health-wise than the football program let on last year.
“We hid his injuries pretty good a year ago,” Claeys said according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He was banged up pretty good. The foot injury he had was tough and really limited him.”
Now, though, Leidner proclaims himself, “[p]hysically, I’m in the best shape of my life, by far.” The fifth-year senior, projected by some to be a first-round quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL draft, added that he feels “like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have before.”
VIDEO: Body cam footage shows Iowa football player’s encounter with police
The story of an Iowa football player, Pokemon Go and Iowa City police now has some visuals to go along with the oral narrative.
Over the weekend, officers in that police department were searching for a suspect in a bank robbery. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (pictured, No. 56) just happened to be in a park in that area and seemingly matched the description of the suspect — black man in black clothing wearing something on his head — prompting the officers to approach the lineman. When Ekakitie failed to respond to the officers’ commands, because he was wearing headphones, weapons were drawn.
Because of the national attention the incident has received, the ICPD on Tuesday released two body cam videos that shows exactly how the encounter between their officers and Ekakitie went down.
“I think it’s critical we get the information out so people can actually see the events as they actually occurred in real time,” says ICPD Sgt. Scott Gaarde in regards to releasing the videos.
In his social media missive, Ekakitie thanked the police officers involved for how they handled the situation.
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a situation very professionally,” the lineman wrote. “I would also urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I wasn’t.
“Lastly, I would urge us all to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”