The University of North Carolina has been under ongoing investigation into the school’s academic program by the NCAA.
UNC-Chapel Hill received a 59 page notice of allegations that surrounded former student services manager, Deborah Crowder and former department chairman, Julius Nyang’oro. The NCAA reported that in the beginning of the 2002 fall semester continuing into the 2011 summer semester, UNC provided un-allowed benefits to student-athletes that were not available to the entire school.
The first claim in the allegation stated that academic counselors made special arrangements in the African American studies (AFRI/AFAM) department for the student-athletes. The academic counselors suggested assignments to the department on behalf of the athletes, and turned in papers for them.
Former federal prosecutor, Kenneth Wainstein found that when Crowder graded the papers, she gave the students high a’s and b’s without regard to the quality of the work.
Wainstein’s report said that Crowder and Nyang’oro felt sympathy for the students who struggled at UNC and wanted to give student-athletes in particular, “read access” to certain classes so they could manage their sport as well. Student-athletes in the revenue sports like basketball and football, faced the risk of academic ineligibility, so the academic counselors saw the AFRI/AFAM classes as a easy way to keep them eligible to play sports.
According to UNC’s report, the counselors met with football coaches to present them a powerpoint on the benefits of the fake classes.
“We put them in classes that met degree requirements in which they didn’t go to class,” one of the slides in the presentation said. “They didn’t have to take notes, have to stay awake, and they didn’t have to meet with professors.”
Wainstein’s claim further noted that UNC has a 12-hour limit on credits for independent study courses. Because the courses in the AFRI/AFAM department counted as a regular course and not an independent study one, the university allowed ten student athletes to exceed the 12-hour limit.
Crowder in an affidavit, described the courses as “customized educational opportunities for students to solve problems created by the institutional bureaucracy.”
Crowder said that the courses were legitimate and denied the allegations that they were taught to help student-athletes.
After three delays in the hearing of the case, the NCAA said UNC was responsible for academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, ineligible participation and a failure to monitor their football program.
UNC is expected to make a response to the NCAA’s allegations, and a hearing of the case will come at sometime in 2017 or 2018.