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Amazing Trail of Academic Fraud at UNC for Athletes
Created: 10/22/2014 1:57:23 PMReplies: 58
10/22/2014 1:57:23 PM - thinker

This story is just crazy. Here's the link. I wonder what the penalty should be.

10/22/2014 2:22:05 PM - Poog

Wow! Takes basket-weaving to a whole new level. And while I've had past issues with the total accuracy of investigative reporting done by that Raleigh paper, the gist of their reporting was close enough. Embarassing to say the least.

10/22/2014 2:25:56 PM - GW Alum Abroad

And their football program sucks the big one! I mean, if you are going to cheat like that at least win some games and get some big box office gates out of the deal (see U$C or Ohio St for reference).

10/22/2014 2:29:07 PM - ziik

Let the U run itself. They all do.

It does show the hypocracy of NCAA entry standards, cause, if you can get in, you can stay in. 

But, it goes on everywhere.

mrs. ziik teached 5th grade. Parents demand grade changes every week "She's never get in college with a 5th grade book report incomplete."  blah, blah, blah. mrs. ziik does not cave to the parents. But if the parents go to the pricipal, the parents get whatever remedy they ask for .

(No wonder they wrote on the girls bathroom walls: "Mrs, Ziik is a whore, a slut, and a prostitute."  The principal wanted punishment for that one. Mrs. Ziik said no, she knew who did it, and those girls deserved credit for improving their spelling. I told her she was right, but, I'd pay if she wanted it.)

I used to teach at a commercial paralegal school. It was easy money at a time when client matters were very slow. The students were guaranteed certificates if they showed up. But, they slept in class, did not study, did not even pay attention to the cheat sheets I gave them to highlight the basics of the courses. They argued about grades incessantly. 

The final straw was when I gave a student a 20 on a test. She got one correct answer, but had not even put her name on her test paper. The admin. told me I needed to bump her to a Cplus. I explained that, if they could find a test paper with her name on it, I'd be happy to do that, but it would be unfair to the poor dope who got the 20 and had not signed her name. They saw no humor in my approach. 

The next course, they were geniuses. All A's. One B for the guy who wore shades and slept all day. The admin told me they thought it was unfair to single him out like that. I explained that I thought it was unfair to sleep in my class, when every class and every teacher was a bore.

School is crazy. You wnat to learn, you can learn at Chipola CC, Indian Wells, or Ouachita Baptist. You don't, and Harvard, MIT and Yale just will be wasted years.

I enjoyed GW, learned a whole lot about the USA and american culture, from classes and peers, and even from football players. 

I think the fotball powers are shortchanging their players by making school a joke. But, so what. Football is a tragic, sick joke itself. DOn't know what will replace it. But something better might.

Maybe those stadiums can be converted to urban farms or low income housing. Heck, make it free housing, for the disabled, and keep all the work-out equipment in place. And, give the inmates some decent unis, including travel blazers, slack, and skirts



10/22/2014 2:35:14 PM - Columbia Heights Colonial

Not only are these schools making money of student athletes, they're activly looking into giving these kids as little of an education as possible for the benefit of the school. Sadly, I'm sure this is too much of the norm at many universities with big sports programs. 

10/22/2014 3:27:25 PM - Cloverly Colonial

This is too funny (read: SAD)....


Boxill wrote a book titled: "Front Porch Ethics: The Moral Significance of Sport" and is the Director for the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC

10/22/2014 5:44:51 PM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

This is the very defitnition of a culture of corruption and institutional malfeasance.  I wonder if the media will now have the balls to start mentioning UNC in the same sentence as Memphis St, Kentucky, Miami,Gerorgia (Harrick), Michigan (Fisher), etc etc.  This is arguably worse given it was clearly institutional in nature, and not some rogue actor.  Recall that when Minnesota basketaball got hammered for their academic fraud in  1999,  the NCAA  stripped them of all of all postseason awards, going back sothing like 6 years, and vacated all their wins, etc, I think,.  Plus they banend the coach for a looong time and they lost a boatload of scholarships.

Arguably, this is worse given it was imbedded in the cultutre.  Hopefully it gets the treatment from the NCAA it deserves.

10/22/2014 6:52:42 PM - squid

Cloverly, where'd you find that image?

10/22/2014 8:18:28 PM - Cutis

Thinker asked the correct question. What should the penalty be? IMO, the only answer is to dismiss all coaches who were in their positions during the period when infractions occurred. This includes Roy Williams. The pressure to ban UNC from post season play, penalize recruiting and pay restitution will mount. Feigning ignorance as to what occurred will not work. The coaches must go. Is the president of the University in charge? Actions will tell.

10/22/2014 8:27:10 PM - ziik

NO, No, no.... Not good ole Roy!

10/22/2014 8:43:34 PM - ziik

And, to think. The Bonnies could not get a welder a bball stipend. 

Seriously, what is a UNC degree going to be worth? Of course, I had a couple of Notre Dame pals from the 60's and 70's, who told me their were courses like chemistry, and (unacknowledged) chemistry for football players. 

When I was a GW freshman, I had pal on the football team who told me we did not need to learn anything in biology lab, because 1) it was a piece of cake and b) he had the answers to the lab exam. The test was a matter of walking from lab station to lab station, looking at a specimen or a display, and answering questions based on the display.  He thought he could do no wrong. 

Well, you could walk clockwise in the lab, or counterclockwise.....

Somehow, he had not factored that in.

And the lab teacher apparently had been forewarned.

Of course, I don't recall doing that much better. I figured lab tests were just going to be easy. Not so. Paying attention, like showing up, counts. It took me a semester to learn that all over again.

10/22/2014 8:59:13 PM - Cloverly Colonial

was posted on another board. Not sure it was leaked or provided as documentation in the investigation

10/22/2014 9:03:15 PM - thinker

I agree with you Cutis. And if the school involved was Cleveland State that would be the punishment. If you try to do that to UNC you might end up with a direct challenge to the authority of the NCAA and then we might find that the emperor actually doesn't have any clothes. Compounding the problem for UNC is that Carol Folt - the UNC Chancellor is only one year into her tenure. She came to UNC from Dartmouth where she was a biology/ecology professor for 30 years and Interim President for one year. So she has virtually no experience with big time athletics and almost certainly does not have the gravitas or acceptance in the good ol boy Tobacco Road network to challenge the entrenched boosters etc. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens.

10/22/2014 9:44:42 PM - doug sandels

I'm sure UNC is hoping to avoid a crippling punishment setting the program back for years like UConn.

10/22/2014 10:04:38 PM - ziik

They are saying these course were available to all students. I think they wll need to have a bit more of an explanation than that. Still, my guess is that every Big State U has courses we can laugh at. GWU might, too. 

Heck, kids get degrees from Cornell in hotel and recreational management, etc. (yep I know it a special case) Then, there is UNLV. 

10/22/2014 11:28:30 PM - thinker

Apparently 10 of the players from the 2005 national championship team were majoring in the phony African Amercan studies program. I don't know how the NCAA or UNC voluntarily will be able to avoid voiding that champiuonship and many other things. Apparently 1500 athletes took advantage of the phony classes.

10/23/2014 2:36:37 PM - ziik

3000 plus students took these courses. 

If they were sham courses, its hard to see how the scam was kept quiet. 

10/23/2014 2:44:31 PM - squid

But 3000 students over the course of many years. It wasn't like all 3000 were in the same year, in the same classes. 

10/23/2014 2:59:05 PM - LA Fan

This probably sounds dumb to say, but I could never stand Roy Williams.  He just seemed pompous or something.  Perhaps he should be let go for this.  

10/23/2014 3:19:32 PM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

It would strain even a Tarheel's weak mind to thikn that something of this magnitude could go on with only a secretary and one other person concoting it all on their own.  Talk about a joke.  If that's waht Roy Williams would have us believe, then why did he admit that he saw the fact  that too many of his players were getting an African American Studies degree as a problem?  I'll answer that one for Roy:  because he knew full well it was a scam, and he didn't want to it to become known.  He "reduced" the numbers but never stopped it.  It was always there in case he ever needed it in a pinch.  This is a state school too.  Where is the goddam Attorney General of the state?  Asleep?  Or an alum?

10/23/2014 4:32:29 PM - lowpost

ag is roy cooper -- ba and jd from unc

10/23/2014 4:49:45 PM - Poog

Always worry about that glass house view.

10/23/2014 4:50:43 PM - The MV - 211 posts (#3)

Let's make a distinction between being advised to take a less strenuous curriculum and being allowed to get away with all of this nonsense like at UNC.  At GW, I had a science requirement and was advised to take Dr. Hobbs' astronomy class.  Dr. Hobbs would hold a class right before his midterm and right before his final which he affectionately referred to as his pregame warmup.  At these sessions, the professor would plow through hundreds of questions in which a percentage would comprise the exam.  Theoretically, students could miss all classes except for these pregame warmups, cram for the exams, and get a decent grade.  Or, you could attend class, learn the material throughout the semester, and perhaps be better prepared to take the exams.  Nevertheless, students who followed either of these paths were each informed of the same possible exam questions.

I had mentioned that there was a Real Sports segment which mentioned several UNC athletes suing the university because they felt they were denied a legitimate education.  Athletes were sometimes denied the opportuinity to take a class of their choosing because the heavier workload would not have been conducive to the athlete being able to perform at the highest possible level.  Many of these students have gone back to college to get their real education. It's these examples, the students who don't want to glide through the system but who really want to learn, and are actually denied this opportunity by a college or university, that truly sickens me.


10/23/2014 4:52:00 PM - Bo Knows

If you all think UNC is alone in this, good luck with that. This potentially is going to open up pandoras box. I know personally some athletes at some very prestigious schools who say this is the tip of the iceberg and that even the Dukes, Stanfords, Notre Dames and others make "academic accomodations" for athletes that they would never make for other students to keep them eligible.

Now as to UNC, this didn't begin with Roy Williams or was orchestrated by him. Whether he knew or should have known is a separate question. UNC should be severely punished but I guarantee that there are many other schools scared right now. I would not throw any stones until I was certain my school had nothing to hide. There have been some academic "miracles" at GW in the past. I'm not going to name any names or say in what era (or who the coach was) because it serves no purpose. But I would not have a holier than thou attitude about this no matter what school I was at.

10/23/2014 4:55:03 PM - bobo

From the article, there was no evidence that came up in the investigation that showed that Roy had either participaton or even knowlege of the African American Studies scam program.  For him to be fired, there would have to be some clear evidence.  Unless other information damaging to the Roy and the basketball coaching staff is discovered, Williams does not lose his job over this scandal. 

The university will likely have to vacate a ton of previous wins and have a loss of scholarships and post season play for the next 2-3 years.

10/23/2014 4:56:15 PM - Omar Comin'

I'd love to see the US Department of Education demand a report of equal depth, scope and access from every NCAA Division I program. UNC will be penalized as much for getting caught as they will be punished for allowing this system to exist. Level the playing field on the academic side of the house, even if that means razing it.

10/23/2014 6:11:21 PM - ELJ

To The MV:  Interesting to read about your experience with Dr. Hobbs' class.  It sure didn't start with him. way back in 1952, I got the easiest "A" ever in Journalism Department head Elbridge Colby's History & Principles of Journalism Class (J-101).  Colby told us in advance he would be doing exactly what Hobbs did, but he said anyone skipping classes would automatically fall one letter grade per unexcused skipped class.  And the method to his madness was that we learned the lessons multiple times:  taking notes on his lectures, getting a list that included the mid-term exam questions, writing the answers on those exams, repeating the process before (cumulative) finals, and then writing the answers in the finals.  That's five iterations of the material, and if you hadn't learned it by then, you really never belonged in his class.  (As an off-point aside, Colby was the father of a guy who later became a controversial head of the CIA: William Colby.)

10/23/2014 6:32:58 PM - ziik

He should have taught his son how to swim, ELJ

10/23/2014 6:49:25 PM - thinker

I had Hobbs for astronomy too and I had a different take than MV. I think Hobbs loved exposing kids to ideas about the universe. The way he devised to get the biggest audiences was to make the course easy to get a good grade if you took a certain amount of interest in the class. A lot of kids (me included) took the class because it was "easy" and ended up loving it/ I probably never would have been exposed to the this universe of Hobbs' if the class was "hard."  Hobbs was a great teacher and he was very clever in devising a system whereby he would have a crack at interesting hundreds of students every year in learning about astronomy.To me there was nothing phony about the class - it was an ideal way to learn about something new without a ton of pressure. To this day I still call it planet George. 

10/23/2014 6:59:05 PM - Mentzinger - 414 posts (#1)

Let the memory of Herman Hobbs rest in peace you damn scoundrels.

10/23/2014 9:52:35 PM - BC

I loved Hobbs and I was a Physics major.  Explains a lot, uh?   He was a great teacher, I just wished he taught upper level classes, because some of the other physics professors weren't such great teachers.  A Shout-Out for Dr Parke.  He was a Hobbs equivant for those quantum physics classes.   

There were gut classes galore when I went to school, perhaps some designed to keep you out of Vietnam at least until you graduated.   So it would not be in the least surprising that atheletes took those course.  On the other hand, there were a lot of smart basketball players who had serious majors.  Then there were some who spent an awful lot of time at the Campus Club.   I expect GW was tougher academically than many,  maybe even a paragon, but I expect that a lot of atheletes also skated through school.   I respect GW's academics, but throwing stones at other schools can be a risky business.

10/25/2014 10:26:12 AM - notta hater

we only understand things in their extreme. This goes on in every public college in some form or the other. Please do not think that Dexter Manley was the only athlete who walked onto a pro sports surface after having stayed eligible for 3 years and could not read or write. 

10/25/2014 6:45:39 PM - Alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

Maybe so, Notta, and not in dispute that it happens on a wider basis...but I know this: those that have gotten caught and exposed have paid a pretty steep price. So I would expect the same for UNC.  

10/25/2014 10:16:30 PM - thinker

Dexter Manley (or Patrick Ewing for that matter) who have learning disabilities or whatever aren't the most egregious cases to me. My wife is a university history professor and there are plenty of kids that get all kinds of crazy accomodations now-a-days for all kinds of things. What UNC did is way worse because as an institution they set up a system that didn't even make a pretense of having the kids try to take and pass classes. 

10/25/2014 10:50:51 PM - BC

If the Department of African and Afro-American Studies was a sham for those who may have majored in AAA studies,  in addition to being a conduit for sham classes for athletes, then UNC has even more to answer for.

10/25/2014 10:59:06 PM - thinker

Apparently a bunch of frat boys took advantage of the system as well.

10/28/2014 10:41:12 AM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

It would appear that the big hammer is about to fall on UNC......and rightfully so.


10/28/2014 11:05:26 AM - McScottishPride

You got to wonder if the Death Penalty is not on the table. 

10/28/2014 11:49:54 AM - GW Alum Abroad

If Pete The Cheat's U$C did not get the death penalty, if Baylor hoops did not get the death penalty (in an actual death penalty case), if Olean Welders did not get the death penalty, then what makes you think UNC is even close to getting death penaltied? The era of SMU and USF and Tulane program dropping is over, too much money involved now.

10/28/2014 12:09:33 PM - rocket - 85 posts (#4)

Curious, no mention of Ohio State or Oregon here.

10/28/2014 12:15:33 PM - GW Alum Abroad

Why would Oregon be mentioned? And Ohio St was cheating, which gets you probation, not wholly corrupting the university system. 

10/28/2014 12:31:44 PM - herve - 3,324 posts (#1)

Five years ago, five Ohio State players sold some of the awards they received from playing college football. They all broke the NCAA rules and the coach lied to the NCAA and the FBI about it. Technically they "cheated" because they broke the rules, but they were not found to have attended bogus classes, fixed/paid for recruits or fixed games. I'm certain they do things which are unsavory, but lumping them in with UNC doesn't seem appropriate considering the wide-spread natures of UNC's allegations.

10/28/2014 12:39:18 PM - thinker

UNC is different than most other cases because the institution itself was knowingly perpetrating a fraud. It's different than a booster sliding a little love to an AAU coach. And there is almost no recruiting misdeed than could rival the ugliness of a department chair creating phony classes and giving phony grades to athletes.

10/28/2014 2:13:27 PM - Bo Knows

Here is an interesting question. If the academic scandal was broader than just athletes, why does athletics get uniquely punished while other facets of the University go unscathed? Unlike a lot of you, I don't think UNC should be unduly punished (death penalty). Rather, since it is a state institution, state oversight will be necessary to get the institution back on track. Athletics will be damaged enough - probation, loss of scholarships etc. It shouldn't pay the whole price. Other heads must necessarily roll - on the academic side. This may be the first scandal that really is larger than athletics and goes to educational fraud moreso than athletics.

10/28/2014 2:19:12 PM - Mentzinger - 414 posts (#1)

My reading of the report is that the fraud was wide ranging but unknown to university officials beyond the department. Should they have known? Of course, but I bet they put their chips on "out of the loop" vs. "deliberate lack of institutional control."

10/28/2014 2:59:49 PM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

If you fail to ask questions, does that make it deliberate?

10/28/2014 4:41:35 PM - thinker


A department chair IS a University oficial. I don't know if you've ever been involved in a conspiracy of sorts at work before. I have and it is IMPOSSIBLE to have that many people involved - over 3,000 students and multiple department and athletics tutors/advisors know about this and not have plenty of other people "know" about it. Now it may be impossible to PROVE that specific people knew but there are MANY people in various chains of command who would have had to intentionally turn a blind eye to the goings on to avoid "knowing." I'm 100% sure that Roy Williams has some degree of oversight responsibility for the academic performance of his players. Somebody has to report to him on that regularly. And somebody has to report to that person and so on. Somewhere along the chain someone said "I don't want to hear that - keep it under wraps." Some academic advisor was not going to invent this scheme and carry it on without anyone senior knowing for 18 years or whatever it was.

In the military where chain of command matters so much, investigators don't worry that much about whether the commanding officer actually knew about something. They focus on whether he/she could resonably have been expected to care about or inquire about it. Was the issue in the area of direct responsibility and oversight. 

Lack of institutional control is exactly what happened at UNC and is exactly the charge that is made when everyone is going to lie about and coverup their own knowledge of the situation. You don't need a smoking gun to prove lack of institutional control. By definition the charge is made on circumstantial evidence. 

10/28/2014 4:48:45 PM - Free Quebec

What conspiracy wer you involved in, Thinker?  Conspiracy to cover lies about whether a player had that flu?

10/28/2014 5:06:58 PM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

Spot on Thinker.

The fact is, as far as Im concerned, Williams already stepped in it when he admitted in the report that when he got there and found out everyone was an African American Studies major, he took steps to do someting about it because he was "concerned toward his academic assistants that, after his arrival in 2003, too many of his players seemed to major in African and Afro-American Studies, a signal that counselors might be steering them."  So we are to believe that Roy went back to his office and just fixed it BUT never asked a single question about it?  This is sitcom material, of course.  Better know as the Sgt. Schultz defense.

Even better, Rashad McCants tells ESPN "about a trail of “paper courses” that had not educated him. He alleged that head coach Roy Williams had offered to help him “swap” one course for another."  Then, shockingly (or not) McCants decides he won't talk to investigators.  And -- surprise surpise Sheriff -- one of  the academic counselors who arranged classes for the athletes "doesn't remember" if he told Ol' Roy or not (this is the known as Clinton defense).  Nobody wanted to ask any questions because they didn't want to hear the answer, of course. And that, by default, is as deliberate as it comes.

It would be fun to have a few of these bozos actually under oath -- it's easily a misue of state resources case -- that would up the ante for sure.

10/28/2014 5:08:42 PM - thinker

Conspiracies at WORK - FQ. I've been part of plenty of those since I worked in politics, the Hill, government, consulting etc for many years - but none as a GW fan.

10/28/2014 5:29:42 PM - The MV - 211 posts (#3)

Wasn't there a point in time (under Hobbs) where a disproportionately high percentage of GW men's basketball players were criminal justice majors?  I have no direct knowledge whether this was a preferred field of study by GW basketball coaches/administrators or not but I seem to recall a lot of players selecting this as their major.

That said, I would not be surprised if this was the case.  And I say this because this is the case most everywhere.  Most team administrators do not want their scholarship players overloaded or stressed out by academics.  They certainly do not want their players taking courses taught by professors who aren't "friends" of the program.  They direct players towards situations where there will be some leniency when it comes to tAking exams, turning papers in on time, etc.  This is reality and if you wish to refer to this as corrupt (which I do not), then virtually all schools are corrupt.

One of the big differences between a GW and a UNC is that a UNC would never have allowed a John Kopriva to embark upon a premed curriculum.


10/28/2014 5:44:36 PM - herve - 3,324 posts (#1)

There were some years in the early '90s when a LOT of GW basketball players were suspiciously "Leisure Studies" majors. "General Studies" is the major of choice for Michigan football and basketball players and "Criminal Justice" is the "preferred" major for Ohio State football players.

10/28/2014 7:05:49 PM - ziik

Some of those UNC students likely went to phoney high schools, too. So, what's their educational situation really like? Well, my guess, they still can get job as teachers, coaches, etc.


 And, so it goes...

10/28/2014 9:41:26 PM - notta hater

or who can forget the UGA classes established by the coach's son . . . I am telling you, this goes on. I don't think the NCAA wants to clean this up because it is going to touch a lot of big conference schools.

10/29/2014 10:45:25 AM - BC

I don't think that the problem is limited to big name schools.   Indeed, I think that General Studies et. al. are legitimate majors, but they're damn poor career paths.

10/29/2014 6:32:10 PM - Flyer Fan-DC

Another season guys . . . thought this piece was clever. Apologies if it has already been posted. Looks like GW has a potential great one in Yuta.


10/30/2014 1:16:24 PM - alum1 - 36 posts (#2)

This is great stuff.  I didn't know Willimas had brought his own "academic adviser" with him from Kansas. Makes it even more laugable that he's now claiming ignorance.

From ESPN:

Williams reiterated that he did not know about the paper classes, but when he noticed a preponderance of athletes in the same major, he talked to assistant coach Joe Holladay about it.

"I don't think any place wants the basketball coach running the academic side. What could I have done?" Williams said when asked if he should have been more involved in his players' academics.

"I think people would have been offended if I said, 'How are you teaching this course?' That's not my job. Maybe you could say I was naive, but it was at the University of North Carolina where I went to school. I did the work. I worked for every grade."

Williams also defended the decision to bring Wayne Walden, his academic adviser at Kansas, with him to North Carolina in 2003. The report claimed Walden "steered players into these paper classes."

"That's very easy," Williams said of hiring Walden. "The academic adviser at North Carolina had been just starting when I left [to become head coach at Kansas]. She was a nice lady, and at the end of her career, she was mothering the players to death. I wanted some toughness.



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