Univ. of North Carolina Credited Athletes For Fake Classes

Roger Rabbit iconA simmering academic cheating scandal exploded over the University of North Carolina like a nuclear bomb airburst when it was revealed this morning that athletes were systematically steered into fake classes by athletic department advisers to maintain their sports eligibility.

Over a period of 18 years, the African-American studies department gave “A” and “B” grades to more than 3,100 students who signed up for courses that existed only on paper, which no one attended, and required no academic work.  Nearly half of those students were athletes, who apparently received enrollment preference for the phony courses.

The scandal broke 3 years ago, but the athletic department’s complicity wasn’t known until today, when an independent investigator’s 131-page report was made public.  “The revelations have cast a decidedly unflattering light on the university, which has long boasted of its ability to maintain high academic standards while running a top-flight sports program,” the New York Times said in its reportage today.  The NCAA, which previously concluded the scandal didn’t involve athletics, is reopening its investigation.  Reuters suggested UNC could be stripped of its 1993, 2005, and 2009 basketball championships.  NBA superstar Michael Jordan played for UNC in the early 1980s, long before this scandal.

At this point, the scheme appears to have been hatched and implemented at the departmental level and there’s no evidence that top university officials knew about it.  But at least two football coaches admitted they were aware of the fake classes, and the report faults the university for “missing numerous warning signs over many years,” the Times story said.

At least 9 current or recent university employees have been implicated, not counting a department head who is now beyond the reach of university discipline because she has retired; the university says 4 employees have already been terminated and disciplinary action is pending against 5 others.




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