Academic cheating scandal at University of North Carolina is still alive

UNC Chapel Hill bell tower. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The systemic academic failure at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has been out of the news for a while because the NCAA has been taking their time addressing the cheating. Oh, also because UNC appears to be stonewalling, according to the following article.

It is possible that after six years of the scandal there might actually be some closure in August after an NCAA hearing.

You can find my previous posts on this self-induced fiasco here.

7/31/17 – The Virginian-Pilot – UNC’s arrogance over academic scandal has tainted the school’s once-great image – Article provides a good recap of the scandal. From ‘93 through ’11 there were 3,100 students who took special classes which neither required attendance not taking notes nor homework nor quizzes. A non-academic administrator graded the term papers, assuming the frequently plagiarized (per the article) term papers were actually written by the students. The term papers averaged an A-minus grade. Over half of the students were athletes.

That’s just the starting point of the fiasco.

Purpose of the fake classes?

Obviously to keep academically unqualified athletes in academically qualified status.

Pioneering investigative reporting by an outside newspaper discovered that five students took a total of 52 of these classes. That is an average of 10 classes apiece.

What would 10 gimme’ A’s do for a student with poor transcript? Keep the student eligible.

During the time these fake courses were offered to athletes, UNC won the following trophies:

  • Basketball – 2 national championships
  • Football – multiple bowl games
  • Sundry other sports – multiple ACC championships

Article explains UNC leadership has refused to own up to the issue and has resisted the NCAA all along the way. That is the major reason there still are no sanctions.

Price tag for resisting so far has run $18 million, primarily for legal fees.

Article indicates the other reason there is no resolution to the academic fraud and no sanctions yet imposed is the NCAA has been dragging their feet.

There is an NCAA hearing on August 16. From the article, I’m not sure if they’re even going to be sanctions at this point since UNC is still defiant, insisting the fake classes were available to all students and thus not a violation of NCAA rules, and furthermore what was done is none of the NCAA’s business anyway.

Oh, the NCAA has an amusing reply to the UNC denial that anything is wrong. The NCAA, according to the article, said that offering special arrangements to athletes that aren’t generally available to other students is the NCAA’s business. Furthermore, using those special arrangements to keep students academically eligible is also the NCAA’s business.

The author’s opinion is that the credibility of NCAA is on the line. Article says the NCAA is already in the place where they are not able to enforce any sanctions for a sexual abuse fiasco at Baylor (a situation I’m only vaguely familiar with and probably would be happier if I don’t get into).

Article suggests if the NCAA is not able to impose substantial sanctions on UNC for a systemic academic fraud, they will have surrendered what little is left of their credibility to insist on fair play in collegiate sports.

I will repeat one of my previous disclosures:

Full disclosure: As I have mentioned before, the rules of writing indicate I need to mention that I graduated from the University of Maryland. If I recall college rivalries correctly, that means I’m supposed to really dislike the tobacco road schools. So you can know how totally irrelevant the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball circuit is in my life, please understand that when I saw a picture here, I didn’t otherwise know that UNC won the 2009, 2005, and 1993 basketball championships. After seeing the picture, it still doesn’t matter to me.

On the other hand, massive systemic academic and athletic frauds do catch my eye. But you already figured that out.

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