Oct 13, The NCAA will not sanction UNC after an academic scandal — here's how a student-athlete got an A-minus with a one-paragraph final essay. Apr 3, The University of North Carolina has battled a scandal over fake classes designed to improve the GPAs of its student-athletes. Photo by Grant. Mar 3, cheating scandal at The University of North Carolina involving their athletic programs. As an avid sports fanatic, I was interested. I did some.
athletic scandal essay unc
A "woeful lack of oversight" and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- many of them athletes -- enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member. A report released Wednesday by Kenneth Wainstein, a former official with the U.
Department of Justice, found that the academic fraud was systematic and far-reaching, lasting for nearly 20 years and consisting of classes in the African and Afro-American studies department.
About half of the 3, students were athletes, and investigators concluded that some university employees were aware of the fraud and actively steered athletes and other struggling students toward the classes. At least nine employees have been fired or disciplined so far, though Carol Folt, UNC's chancellor, said the university will not name the employees. Folt admitted that one of the reasons the fraud went undetected for so long was because many at the university simply assumed that UNC employees were surely above such conduct.
Previously, the university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association had both conducted investigations , but Wainstein's report revealed the problems were far more pervasive than what was outlined in the earlier investigations. The differing conclusions came about in part because Wainstein was able to interview Julius Nyang'oro, the former chairman of the African and Afro-American studies department, and Deborah Crowder, a retired department administrator.
The Orange County district attorney dropped felony fraud charges against Nyang'oro after he agreed to participate in the investigation. Crowder agreed to talk then as well, though she was never charged.
While Nyang'oro, as department chair, turned a blind eye to the academic fraud and later participated in it directly, the report stated, it was Crowder who first created the so-called "paper classes" in According to the report, Crowder identified three groups of students she wanted to help the most: When Nyang'oro became chairman in , she found an ally. Early on in Nyang'oro's career two of his students, who were athletes, dropped out of college due to low grade-point averages. These "paper classes" were designed as independent study courses.
The only work required of the students was a research paper, and they were nearly guaranteed an A or a B no matter the quality. Forty percent of the papers analyzed by investigators were at least 25 percent plagiarized, the report stated. Later, Crowder created a different type of paper class that was designated as a lecture course.
No faculty members were involved in the courses, with Crowder signing up students, assigning them their papers, and doing all of the grading. The ease of the coursework and the volume of students taking independent study courses raised some red flags with campus administrators, the report stated, but officials were hesitant to act on their suspicions, afraid that they would trample on faculty members' academic freedom.
Other university employees, particularly athletes' academic advisers, were directly complicit in the continued existence of the courses, the report stated, encouraging students to sign up for the paper classes and even suggesting to Crowder what grades the students needed in order to remain eligible.
They urged students to turn in their papers before the last day of class, not because that's how most courses work, but because they would likely receive much lower grades if Crowder was not the one grading them. The majority of those in the know were academic advisers to men's basketball and football players, who made up more than half of the athletes taking the courses. But knowledge of the courses was not limited to the marquee men's programs.
As an adviser for women's basketball players, Jan Boxill, the director of the Parr Center for Ethics and later the faculty chair, steered students to Crowder's courses with suggestions about what grades they needed, according to emails obtained by investigators. Even after Crowder's retirement, the courses continued. Pressured by athletics advisers, Nyang'oro began overseeing the paper classes, raising yet another red flag that was all but ignored by administrators: The scheme finally came to an end in when he stepped down as chair.
More than 20 percent of UNC athletes took the courses during the 18 years they were offered, while just 2 percent of the general student population did.
Athletes accounted for Between and , about athletes would have seen their semester GPAs drop below a 2. When Crowder left in , the football team experienced its lowest cumulative GPA in a decade, a 2. Eighty students would not have graduated without the paper classes, though the report does not indicate how many of those were athletes. It is not yet clear what the university plans to do regarding the grades and degrees that were not properly earned, or if UNC athletics will forfeit any of its wins from the year time period.
The university won three NCAA championships during this span. The NCAA's original investigation concluded that the university had not violated any NCAA rules, reporting at the time that -- as other students also took the courses -- there was no indication that athletes received more favorable treatment than non-athletes. The players find themselves struggling in this system and will do whatever they need to survive.
The advisers find themselves in the same system and so they do whatever they can to get the athletes through it. These are unethical decisions being made, in their minds, ethical because they're in an unethical system. This is the collegiate model. This is what you're signing up for when you use college athletes as revenue generators.
This is what you get. An editorial in The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper, argues that the wrongdoing at UNC is an almost inevitable outgrowth of the fundamental tension in big-time college football and men's basketball, in which athletes are either academically underprepared or uninterested or both , and universities as a result compromise themselves to keep them eligible to play.
Be the first to know. Get our free daily newsletter. View the discussion thread. Ousted dean returns at Western Kentucky.
Repeat rapists committing vast majority of sexual crimes. Georgetown students vote to pay reparations for university's tie to slavery. How a white male template produces barriers to minority scholars throughout their careers opinion. Proposal calls for eliminating student loan default status for struggling borrowers.
Expert roundup: Community college four-year degrees are smart policy, not mission creep opinion. News, opinion and jobs in higher education - delivered each weekday.
A weekly look at the latest news, opinion and careers related to admissions and enrollment, sent each Monday. Weekly update with news, essays and career advice about diversity in higher ed, sent each Tuesday. Weekly, in-depth coverage of technology and the learning experience, sent each Wednesday.
Expert insights and tips to help you excel in and out of academe, sent monthly. Please sign in to update your newsletter preferences. You must verify your email address before signing in. We failed students 'for years'. For five years, UNC has insisted the paper classes were the doing of one rogue professor: 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. 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: 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. Former head football coach John Bunting admitted that he knew of the paper classes and said that former Director of Football Cynthia Reynolds 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. Butch Davis, who succeeded Bunting as coach and was eventually fired in the wake of the scandal in , 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 renowned coach Dean Smith, who is ill with dementia. For health reasons, the Wainstein team was also unable to interview his longtime No. 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 , was a very close friend to Crowder, the report says. During the Smith years, to , the report says there were 54 basketball players enrolled in paper classes. Although the paper classes did start in the spring of , the year of Smith's final championship, grades would not have been entered until after the championship game was played.
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 a an all-out 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 unable to read at an acceptable level, with some of them reading like elementary schoolchildren. She also said that 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 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.
Folt would not say who was fired or being disciplined. Wainstein, however, did name those who refused to cooperate, as:.
Two Decades of 'Paper Classes'
Oct 13, The academic fraud case involved fake classes that U.N.C. athletes were Several members of that team took fraudulent “paper” classes. The University of North Carolina academic-athletic scandal involved alleged fraud and . From this lawsuit, McAdoo was forced to make public the paper; an analysis by Dan Kane of the Raleigh News & Observer found that the Honor Court. Oct 13, The NCAA's report all but ensures that none of Chapel Hill's top brass will be Where the Buck Stopped in the UNC Fraud Scandal (Hint: Not at the Top) with professors, and no coursework beyond a single paper that was.