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Old 10-22-2014
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Default U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It was November 2009, and alarm was spreading among the academic counselors charged with bolstering the grades of football players at the University of North Carolina. For years the players and others had been receiving A’s and B’s in nonexistent classes on African studies, but the administrator who had set up and run the fake classes had just retired, taking all those easy grades with her.

The counselors convened a meeting of the university’s football coaches, using a PowerPoint presentation to drive home the notion that the classes “had played a large role in keeping underprepared and/or unmotivated players eligible to play,” according to a report released by the university on Wednesday.

“We put them in classes that met degree requirements in which ... they didn’t go to class ... they didn’t have to take notes, have to stay awake ... they didn’t have to meet with professors ... they didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material,” a slide in the presentation said. “THESE NO LONGER EXIST!”

Wednesday’s report, prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former general counsel at the F.B.I. and now a partner of the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, found that between 1993 and 2011, two employees in the university’s African and Afro-American studies department presided over what was essentially a “shadow curriculum” designed to help struggling students — many of them Tar Heels athletes — stay afloat.

It is the latest in a series of investigations into the scandal, which first came to public attention three years ago. 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. Until now, the university has emphasized that the scandal was purely academic. On Wednesday, it acknowledged for the first time that it was also athletic, with athletes being steered specifically into and benefiting disproportionately from the fraudulent classes.

The N.C.A.A., which said initially that the scandal had nothing to do with the sports program, has reopened an investigation into the matter.

Chapel Hill’s chancellor, Carol L. Folt, has said that U.N.C. has already established myriad policies to prevent a recurrence, including setting up spot checks to ensure that classes are in fact taking place. She also said that as a result of the report, four employees — including one working at another campus in the North Carolina system— had been “terminated,” and that the university had begun disciplinary proceedings against five others.

Though the report found no evidence that high-level university officials knew about the fake classes, it faulted the university for missing numerous warning signs over many years.

More than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, were enrolled in and received credit for the phantom classes, most of which were created and graded solely by a single employee, Deborah Crowder. Ms. Crowder was a nonacademic who worked as the African studies department’s administrator and who told Mr. Wainstein she had been motivated by a desire to help struggling athletes.

Some of the classes took the form of independent study courses in which the students never met the professor; others took the form of lecture courses in which the classes were supposed to meet at specific times and places but never did. Over time, Ms. Crowder was joined in the scheme by the chairman of the department, Julius Nyang’oro, who became the professor of record for many of the fake classes. Mr. Nyang’oro retired in 2012, after news of the scheme came to light.

Ms. Crowder required students to turn in only a single paper, but the papers were often largely plagiarized or padded with “fluff,” the report said. She generally gave the papers A’s or B’s after a cursory glance. The classes were widely known on campus as “paper classes.”

The report listed myriad examples of the outrageousness of the scheme, which Mr. Nyang’oro continued even after Ms. Crowder’s retirement, offering six additional bogus courses.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/sp...etes.html?_r=0
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Old 10-30-2014
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Default Re: U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes

Not surprised.
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