First sentencing in college admissions scandal

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A sentence has been handed down in the first of the college admission scandal cases to reach a judge. The former sailing coach at Stanford received:

  • $10,000 fine
  • 1 day in jail, already served
  • 6 months house detention
  • 2 years supervised release, i.e. probation

(Cross-posted to my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Prosecutors recommended 13 months in prison.

Several articles pointed out this person is the lease culpable of those lined up for sentencing. He did not receive any money directly.

If I read the articles correctly, the only student admitted as part of this scheme was not actually an athlete and has since been expelled.  No other students were admitted.

One key point of detention is an assessment of what type of crime is present.

Continue reading “First sentencing in college admissions scandal”

Intro and update to college admissions scandal

Lots of things going on behind closed doors that have drawn the focused attention of the U.S. Attorney in Boston. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The pretend-to-be-an-athlete-in-a-sport-you-have-never-even-played scandal in higher education is one of many issues I have not focused on over the last year or more.

Family issues have pulled me away from blogging. Hope to start getting caught up on the massive changes taking place around us. I’ll begin with the college admissions disaster.

(Article cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

Brief background:

A large number of parents were paying Mr. William “Rick” Singer to help their children get into colleges where their kids wouldn’t otherwise gain admission.

More background:

The schemes, according to a long string of articles covered in most newspapers which I won’t link, included techniques such as:

  • Creating fake profile of the student being a competitive athlete when the student had not even played the sport.
  • Paying to have another person take your SAT or ACT tests.
  • Hiring a proctor to oversee extra-testing time and then correcting answers.

Flow of cash was complicated, as expected. Most of the dollars went to a non-profit foundation set up by Mr. Singer. He then distributed portions of the money to college sports coaches, proctors, and other participants. Some of the payments went directly from the parents to the colleges.

Oh, by making those payments to a charity, the payments became tax deductible. So there is also a tax fraud angle for all the involved parents to ponder. You can easily guess someone from IRS Criminal Investigations is involved in each of the cases.

Current status:

Continue reading “Intro and update to college admissions scandal”

Ethical failures by NCAA and UNC Chapel Hill. Illustration of the phrase ‘auditing with your eyes closed.’

UNC Chapel Hill – “Midnight Old Well” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As mentioned in previous post, articles keep popping up on the systemic academic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill. Trying to hold my posts to under a thousand words each means there need to be multiple updates.

  • Reporter says the UNC scheme was widely  known
  • UNC grad, class of ’92, explains the reason UNC claimed as legitimate classes they previously confessed were fraudulent. Also says this fiasco shows him the UNC leadership chose money over honor.

10/13/17 – Duke Basketball Report at SB Nation – A Pitiful Victory – Article goes over a long list of warning signs of systemic cheating and fraud at UNC. After most of the points, the writer makes some comment along the lines of they knew, or we knew, meaning there was common knowledge of cheating.

Apparently there was a massive scandal at UNC back in the ‘60s and the school made a strong commitment to play clean. Article shows that commitment to integrity only lasted until somewhere around 1990.

Author says the rest of the ACC, and maybe everyone in college sports, should be upset with the lying and cheating. I agree. The NCAA isn’t able to find anything in the rule book to say academic and athletic fraud is actually punishable. (Next article says they removed from their rulebook the rule that said academic fraud is punishable.)

Continue reading “Ethical failures by NCAA and UNC Chapel Hill. Illustration of the phrase ‘auditing with your eyes closed.’”

More on the UNC fiasco and the FBI’s recruiting investigation

bell tower” by zach_mullen is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

I was planning to wait a while before talking some more about the UNC academic/athletic fiasco and the NCAA’s toothlessness, but articles just keep popping up that grab my attention:

  • UNC gave opposite stories to its accrediting agency and the NCAA
  • One of the head coaches implicated in the major FBI investigation was fired

10/20/17 – The News & Observer – How UNC changed its story-and lost its voice in college sports – Apparently UNC had a reputation of ethical behavior in its athletic programs before the current systemic academic & athletic fraud developed.  That reputation is now gone.

The current administration addressed the academic fraud with the accrediting agency and accepted responsibility. An internal investigation concluded the purpose of the fake courses was to keep athletes academically eligible for participation. The University drew a one year academic probation.

Article provides quotes saying that the University accepted responsibility, identified the courses as wrongdoing, admitting the courses were frauds, acknowledging the scheme was running for a long time, and agreed that more than two people were involved.

And then came the NCAA investigation…

Continue reading “More on the UNC fiasco and the FBI’s recruiting investigation”

UNC Chapel Hill evades any sanctions from NCAA for academic and athletic fraud scheme that ran for 18 years.

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

The NCAA announced it will not impose sanctions on UNC Chapel Hill men’s and women’s basketball program for a systemic academic fraud that offered about 200 different “paper courses” over a two decade timeframe.

The NCAA acknowledges that from 1989 through 2011 around 6,000 students were in those courses. The NCAA acknowledges for these courses minimal attendance was required, faculty helped with papers, and the grading was quite loose.  An internal investigation found 3,100 students took a paper course during a specific 9 year timeframe, with somewhere around half of those enrolled being student athletes.

The reason UNC walks?

Non-athletes participated in the paper courses.

Since the known and admitted fraudulent courses weren’t used to benefit only athletes, the NCAA concluded the scheme does not violate their rules.


Continue reading “UNC Chapel Hill evades any sanctions from NCAA for academic and athletic fraud scheme that ran for 18 years.”

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?

Continue reading “Academic cheating scandal at University of North Carolina is still alive”

More illustrations of disruption from technology

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

While tech innovations have opened up new frontiers, innovation is disrupting some fields. Here are a few articles making this point that I’ve accumulated recently:  newspaper circulation continues to collapse, higher ed is increasingly vulnerable to disruptions, and accreditation agencies (which illustrate regulatory capture) show why disruption is needed.

1/20 – Richard Tofel at Medium – The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think – Author pulled together circulation numbers from March 2013 and September 2015 for the 25 largest newspapers in the country.

Guess what? Circulation is collapsing.

Here are just a few of the numbers he accumulated: Continue reading “More illustrations of disruption from technology”

Follow-up on athletic fiascos at Penn State and UNC Chapel Hill

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Fisher Fine Arts Library building. Photo courtesy of
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Fisher Fine Arts Library building. Photo courtesy of


Historic Old Well at UNC Chapel Hill. Photo courtesy of
Historic Old Well at UNC Chapel Hill. Photo courtesy of

I’ve not been watching closely for updates, but have seen a few articles on the massive scandals at Penn State and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

12/1/15 – Newsworks – Penn State, insurer scuffle over paying Sandusky victims – Penn State may have skated by with the serious consequences from NCAA getting reversed, but the legal liabilities are adding up. The University has already paid $92.8M to settle 32 cases, with many more still in the works with an unknown number of unresolved cases.

Their insurer is refusing to cover the full tab. As a result, the school and insurer will be going to court in 2016 to address their cross-claims.

Continue reading “Follow-up on athletic fiascos at Penn State and UNC Chapel Hill”

One year later, systemic academic/athletic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill not only hasn’t been resolved, scope of fraud has expanded.

Historic Old Well at UNC Chapel Hill. Photo courtesy of
Historic Old Well at UNC Chapel Hill. Photo courtesy of

Yesterday I thought to check on the status of the systemic academic and athletic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill. Wanted to see if the disaster in the news a year ago has been cleaned up. In that fiasco over 3000 students got credit for paper classes. The scheme ran for approximately 18 years. The systemic scheme was partially investigated several times before the depth of the fiasco was actually understood.

My previous posts:

The most informative update I found was on October 22 at The News & Observer: A year after Wainstein report, key issues still in play at UNC.

Report reminds us that in the last 12 months the accrediting organization placed the University on probation, the NCAA has raised allegations of five severe violations, and one faculty member has resigned. There is still far more to do.

Scope of known academic fraud expands

Continue reading “One year later, systemic academic/athletic fraud at UNC Chapel Hill not only hasn’t been resolved, scope of fraud has expanded.”

Accrediting agency puts UNC Chapel Hill on one year probation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) placed UNC-Chapel Hill on one year probation for the systemic 18 year fiasco in which about 3,100 students were given credit for paper classes. Ten of the 15 players on the 2005 championship men’s basketball team majored in the department that was providing those fake classes.

I’ve previously discussed this academic and athletic fraud here, here, and here.

The News & Observer has the best article of several I’ve read: Review agency hits UNC-Chapel Hill with probation.

SASC’s report cites seven areas of violation: Continue reading “Accrediting agency puts UNC Chapel Hill on one year probation”

NCAA actually accuses UNC-Chapel Hill of bad behavior the second time around

The NCAA has issued their Notice of Allegation regarding the UNC-Chapel Hill academic and athletic fraud. Recall the university was creating paper classes for athletes.

I’ve been following this mess and have discussed it several times. Get a fresh cup of coffee and walk with me as I learn more about this fiasco.


Continue reading “NCAA actually accuses UNC-Chapel Hill of bad behavior the second time around”

Update on the open frontiers – 4/29

There are amazing things going on in the wide open frontiers of technology and eduction. Here’s a few articles that caught my eye.


4/6 – American Interest (Peter)Jobs of the Future, Travel Agent EditionArticle suggests demand for travel agents is growing and could even outstrip the supply soon.

How can this possibly be? I thought the ‘net deleted the need for travel agents.

Continue reading “Update on the open frontiers – 4/29”

More good stuff on open frontiers – 4/17


The frontiers of private space travel, technology innovations, and the education revolution are amazing to watch. Here are a few articles that caught my eye that I thought are worth a mention of the frontiers that are wide open today:


4/14 – Popular Mechanics – Elon Musk:  Falcon 9 Landed “Too Hard for Survival’ – Getting closer to success… The third attempt to land the first stage of SpaceX’s rocket didn’t quite work. The rocket landed on the barge, but apparently hit too hard for the rocket to be reusable. First reports don’t give much more info. The video feed shows the rocket trying to maneuver to the remain completely vertical right before landing, which is probably an indication of some minor issue in addition to too much speed.

A few more tries and then success and then a radical drop in the cost of space flights.

4/15 – Behind the Black – Why SpaceX’s first stage failure is really a magnificent successLonger video of landing show the rocket was not maintaining straight vertical position. Thus it was wobbly when touching down, fell to the side, and exploded. That is progress. Continue reading “More good stuff on open frontiers – 4/17”

Oil output in North Dakota drops slightly in January.

Average daily output in North Dakota declined to 1,190,511 bopd, down 3.0% from the slightly revised December record high of 1,227,483. When I say slightly, I mean the December average was increased by 139 bopd, or one-hundredth of one percent.

That brings production down to just over the amount in November. January is the third highest average.

This month I graphed the monthly value of oil production. More on that tomorrow.

First, my two graphs on monthly production:

3-15 oil prod

Next, a shorter time horizon with the Bakken-only data. Continue reading “Oil output in North Dakota drops slightly in January.”

Full length book coverage of the systemic academic fraud in athletic programs at UNC-Chapel Hill

I discussed the systematic fraud in the UNC academic and athletic programs in my previous post last October: Two humongous explosions in open frontiers I’m watching – space and education

The short version of the scandal: one department at UNC-Chapel Hill offered paper classes to around 3,100 students over 18 years. A new book points out the courses lifted many students GPAs above the NCAA minimum requirement. One student even made Dean’s list in a semester when he says he did no academic work.

The department running the scheme used codes from three different areas to prevent students from appearing to accumulate too many hours in one department, which would have run afoul of academic rules. To lift students GPAs would need multiple classes for each student. I’ve not seen guesses on how many courses were faked. Do you suppose it was 5 per student? 8? In other words, perhaps 15,000 or 24,000 fake grades.

A new book, Cheated By Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham goes in to far more detail than the three previous investigations.

The book is reviewed at The Wall Street Journal: Dark Days in Chapel Hill / If you ran a college and knew there was substantial money to be had from sports but no requirement to educate athletes, you might cut corners—that’s exactly what the University of North Carolina did for nearly two decades.

Continue reading “Full length book coverage of the systemic academic fraud in athletic programs at UNC-Chapel Hill”