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UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by pirc1, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    I wonder how many other schools are doing similar things.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/us/unc-report-academic-fraud/index.html


    Chapel Hill, North Carolina (CNN) -- For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
    "These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report.
    He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.
    Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.
    Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light in recent years.
    Ex-UNC star: Fake classes helped me play UNC report: Thousands took fake classes
    In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but the figure "very likely falls far short of the true number."
    For the first time since the scandal first came to light five years ago, UNC admitted that the wrongdoing went further than academics and involved its athletic programs.
    Gerald Gurney, president of the Drake Group, whose mission is "to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports," said the findings should provide fodder for the NCAA to levy one of its most severe charges against UNC: lack of institutional control.
    "I can safely say that the scope of the 20-year UNC fraud scandal easily takes the prize for the largest and most nefarious scandal in the history of NCAA enforcement. The depth and breadth of the scheme -- involving counselors, coaches, academic administrators, faculty, athletic administrators, etc. -- eclipses any previous case," Gurney said.
    By comparison, in 2009, Florida State had an academic scandal that was considered huge. Sixty athletes were involved, a far cry from the numbers involved at UNC, he said.
    A stellar reputation comes crashing down
    UNC has long been a place where it was believed that athletics and academics went hand in hand. It has enjoyed a stellar reputation, producing basketball greats such as coach Dean Smith and player Michael Jordan.
    Now, that reputation has been stained.
    According to the report, one former head football coach, John Bunting, admitted to knowing of the paper classes and his successor, Butch Davis, also admitted some knowledge. Current men's basketball coach Roy Williams is steadfast that he did not know, Wainstein said.
    The detailed 131-page report is being shared with the NCAA and could have huge implications for the university.
    UNC has won three national championships for college basketball -- in 1993, 2005 and 2009 -- that could be in jeopardy along with countless wins.
    And it wasn't just the revenue-generating sports that benefited.
    The report says that athletes in a wide range of sports were involved, and it notes a noticeable spike of enrollment of Olympic-sport athletes between 2003 and 2005.
    UNC in January: We failed students 'for years'
    Report spreads the blame around
    For five years, UNC has insisted the paper classes were the doing of one rogue professor: the department chair of the African-American studies program, Julius Nyang'oro. Wainstein's report spread the blame much further.
    It also revealed that it was Nyang'oro's assistant, Debbie Crowder, who actually created the paper classes out of sympathy for athletes and other students who were not "the best and the brightest." Nyang'oro went along with them when he figured them out.
    Crowder was such a fan of UNC sports, particularly basketball, that she would sometimes miss work after a loss, the report says.
    It was well-known on campus that Crowder was a lax grader and gave high grades without regard for content, Wainstein said, emphasizing that she never gave a grade unless a student submitted a paper and did not change grades that were already given.
    Wainstein did find that five counselors actively used paper classes, calling them "GPA boosters," and that at least two counselors, one in football, suggested to Crowder the grade an athlete needed to receive to be able to continue to play.
    Nyang'oro was more hands off. He had initially held legitimate independent studies classes, Wainstein said, but was accused of "being an ass" by counselors who felt he was too hard on athletes. Crowder then took it upon herself to create the first paper classes, naming Nyang'oro as the instructor even though she was managing all aspects of them: Sending out paper topics, giving grades and assigning no meeting times.
    "It is not clear whether Crowder ever got Nyang'oro's explicit approval to arrange these irregular independent studies. It is clear, however, that he ultimately learned about these classes and acquiesced in them by taking no action to put a halt to them."
    When Crowder announced she was retiring, there was a spike in enrollment in the last year of her classes, because football counselors urged student athletes to sign up. Crowder actively tried to cover her activities, according to the report.
    Jan Boxill, the former women's basketball academic adviser, is also implicated in the report, which says she suggested grades to Crowder and helped athletes write papers.
    When the scandal was first reported, on a much smaller scale, Boxill came under fire for writing an email obtained by The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh that suggested the removal of Crowder's name from an internal report on the fraud.
    Boxill, who was also chairwoman of the faculty and director of the university's center for ethics, wrote that it would raise "further NCAA issues," the paper reported.
    It's not known if she was one of the nine people disciplined for her role. When CNN requested emails from Boxill and other staff members who were named in the Wainstein report, the university did not respond.
    Jim Woodall, the Orange County District Attorney, who had charged and then withdrew prosecution of Nyang'oro, told CNN today that it is "very, very unlikely" any charges will come of the Wainstein revelations.
    Though unethical and highly improper, Woodall said there was nothing criminal about the actions of the staff involved in paper classes at UNC.
    Nyang'oro had been charged with fraud for accepting money for classes he didn't teach. But that charge was dropped after Nyang'oro cooperated with the Wainstein investigation.
    UNC fake class scandal and NCAA's response wind their way to Washington
    A strategy to keep players eligible
    Bunting, the former head football coach, admitted that he knew of the paper classes and said Cynthia Reynolds, the former director of football, told him they were part of her strategy to keep players eligible. Reynolds, who is now an academic program coordinator at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, was one of four employees who refused to cooperate with Wainstein's investigation.
    The report shows that during Bunting's years as head coach, there was a steady rise of enrollment of football players in the paper classes.
    Davis, who succeeded Bunting as coach and was eventually fired in the wake of the scandal in 2011, also admitted to knowing there were "easy classes," Wainstein said.
    Basketball coach Roy Williams maintained he had no knowledge of the fraud, Wainstein said, which was supported by a drop in enrollment in the suspect classes by basketball players during his tenure.
    There were no findings regarding Smith, the renowned coach who is ill with dementia. For health reasons, the Wainstein team was also unable to interview his longtime No. 2 and eventual successor, Bill Guthridge.
    The report does say that Smith's longtime academic adviser, the late Burgess McSwain, and her successor, Wayne Walden, knew about the paper classes.
    McSwain, who died of cancer in 2004, was a very close friend to Crowder, the report says.
    During the Smith years, 1961 to 1997, the report says there were 54 basketball players enrolled in paper classes, although the paper classes started in the spring of 1993, the year of Smith's final championship.
    A whistleblower's saga
    Many of the academic-athletic staff who were named and implicated by Wainstein were also named by university learning specialist Mary Willingham, who went public with detailed allegations about paper classes and who, after an assault on her credibility by the university, has since filed a whistleblower suit.
    CNN interviewed Willingham in January about her years working with student-athletes. She said that she had worked with dozens of athletes who came to UNC and were unable to read at an acceptable level, with some of them reading on par with elementary schoolchildren.
    She also said there were many members of the athletic staff who knew about the paper classes, and her revelations contradicted what UNC had claimed for years -- that Nyang'oro acted alone in providing the paper classes.
    Whistle-blower in UNC paper class case files lawsuit
    Willingham said paper classes were openly discussed as a way to keep athletes eligible to play, and former football player Michael McAdoo told CNN he was forced into majoring in African-American studies, the department at the heart of the paper-classes scandal.
    Willingham and McAdoo, who played at UNC for two years, shared their reactions to the report on Wednesday.
    "I didn't need Wainstein to validate me because the truth is validation enough, but I feel like what I've said for the last five years is in the report," Willingham said. "I gave Chancellor Folt credit; she did a good job."
    Willingham also said she believes it took so many years and six previous investigations because "this is the flagship of the university system and of the state, and to admit we did anything wrong was too difficult. There is a level of arrogance here, and that's part of the culture."
    McAdoo said it was "just crazy" that Wainstein traced it back 18 years, and he noted that people accused him of concocting his story two years ago.
    "For them to own up, that's great, but that doesn't help my situation," said the free agent who was drafted and released by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens before signing with a Canadian Football League team last year.
    "An apology would be good for me, or being able to enroll back in college," he said. "I lost an education. I lost trust in the school -- someone I thought had my best interest. I definitely lost out on two seasons of football which would have put me in a better situation than I am now."
    Refused to help in investigation
    Folt would not say who was fired or being disciplined. Wainstein, however, named those who refused to cooperate:
    • Octavus Barnes, academic counselor for football from 2002 to 2009;
    • Carolyn Cannon, associate dean and director of academic advising from 1999 to 2010, was the principal adviser for the men's basketball team;
    • Cynthia Reynolds, director of football from 2002 to 2010, was called a "critical witness";
    • Everett Withers, interim head football coach in 2011, who is now at James Madison University.
    Scandal has been unfolding for years
    The first hints of scandal began in 2010, with allegations that some athletes were having improper contact with agents. As the university investigated, it found academic irregularities and finally announced, under pressure from The News & Observer, that there were classes where little work was required.
    For the next five years, the UNC administration was on the defensive, admitting only to allegations as they surfaced and never digging to the root of the problem.
    CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like fifth-graders
    Wainstein said he found no evidence that administrators tried to cover up anything.
    He attributed the five-year delayed response to "insufficient appreciation of the scale of the problem."
    Six previous internally commissioned reports had stopped short of systemic accusations.
    Folt said that when she took the job as chancellor in October 2013, she decided to hire Wainstein because there were still too many unanswered questions.
    "I wanted to be sure that we wouldn't have to do this again and again," she said
     
  2. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

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    Not saying I knew about the depth of their system to keep potential star players in, but it should be no surprise that colleges treat their athletes like this and want to keep them in their program at all costs. There's just too much money involved in college sports, I'm sure nearly every decent University does something similar to this.
     
  3. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    I have heard of doing homes for athletes, set up easy classes so they can take them and get good grades, but I have never heard of set up classes where you do not need to go to classes and can name your grades.
     
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  4. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    ALL

    Rocket River
     
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  5. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Don't forget the part where athletes care too little about their education to object to not learning or getting something out of their chosen program or course of study. We've poisoned the single greatest tool for social mobility and technical and economic progress for the sake of weekend television.
     
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  6. torocan

    torocan Member

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    If the NCAA wants to maintain the charade that they care at all about the education of their "student-athletes", then they need to apply the death penalty to this program.

    Multiple year NCAA suspension and send those athletes to other schools. Then add in better auditing mechanisms.

    Otherwise they should just stop pretending that they care and admit that it's all about money. Let the athletes get endorsements, take payments and get jobs. It's not like they're going to get a decent education...
     
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  7. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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  8. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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    :D
    [​IMG]
     
    #8 J.R., Oct 13, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    Yung-T, DudeWah and No Worries like this.
  9. MystikArkitect

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    Is it possible for a student athlete to perform at a high level while maintaining a solid curriculum?

    The Louisville thing was bothersome because every program does it. Do sweeping reform man quit cherry picking random schools.
     
  10. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    What a joke.


    Possible like .01% of them.
     
  11. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Michael Jordan and his geography degree scoff at this nonsense!
     
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  12. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Anyone that played major division 1 college athletics know it. It happened when I played and what UNC did is no different than what Coach K has done for 25 years for his players getting one of two or three majors and taking special limited classes. I won't say student athletes learn nothing academically or culturally (because they do), but academics only matter to the point it lets you play sports.

    The athletic program I was involved in told us what teachers and classes to take and the "tutors" provided to us often did little tutoring but certainly ensured players that either didn't want to study or were doing poor academically passed with solid grades.
     
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  13. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    NCAA has a history of playing favorites.
     
  14. ghettocheeze

    ghettocheeze Member

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    What bothers me the most is the whole "student-athletes" bullshit. They are neither paid athletes nor students at this point.

    I would be fine with all of this if they were just paid like real university employees and given the option to pursue a free education without any academic requirements as part of their benefits package.

    What we have right now is a complete sham: serfdom with some privileges.
     
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  15. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    The amount of time energy and sacrifice they give to their 'sport' is astounding
    If they could work a job like that. . . . it would be a full time job . . . .along with school

    Rocket River
     
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  16. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    These stories seem to pop up every 5 years. I remember a similar story about Florida State and one of its football players that allegedly was illiterate. Even further back there were (internet) rumors about Vince Young being admitted to UT under a remedial program - unfounded. Young is the finest student-athlete to ever attend UT.
     
  17. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    The sport is pure as long as they don't get paid for their work or likenesses.

    March on, my proud young warriors!
     
  18. don grahamleone

    don grahamleone Contributing Member

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    Time to fess up your real name so we can post highlight reels of you!
     
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  19. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

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    Christian Laetnner
     
  20. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    breh seems like a mustache guy. he is nba champion adam morrison.
     
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