RALEIGH, N.C. — An alarming lack of institutional oversight at the University of North Carolina allowed an academic fraud scandal to run unchecked for nearly two decades and has the school reeling from the scandal’s fallout.
The latest investigation found that university leaders, faculty members and staff missed or just ignored flags that could’ve stopped the problem years earlier. More than 3,100 students — about half of them athletes — benefited from sham classes and artificially high grades in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department (AFAM) in Chapel Hill.
A report by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein indicates that the bogus classes ended in 2011. The university has since overhauled the department and implemented new policies, but it must wait to find out whether the damaging new details lead to more problems with the agency that accredits the school. The NCAA, which has reopened its investigation into academic misconduct, could also have concerns of lack of institutional control.
“Bad actions of a relatively few number of people were definitely compounded by inaction and the lack of really appropriate checks and balances,” Chancellor Carol Folt said Thursday. “And it was together that really allowed this to persist for such a length of time.”
The issues outlined in the report were jarring, including the clear involvement of athletic counselors who steered athletes into those bogus classes. From 1993 to 2011, those classes required no attendance and required only a research paper that received A’s and B’s without regard for quality, a cursory review often performed by an office secretary who also signed the chairman’s name to grade rolls.
Those two people — retired administrator Deborah Crowder and former chairman Julius Nyang’oro — were at the center of the scheme. But Wainstein’s report also notes school officials failed to act on their suspicions or specific concerns that came to their attention. It all added up to a series of missed chances to stop the fraud and instead allowed it to escalate.
Accreditation questions are now facing the university.
The agency’s core requirements for accrediting a degree-granting university include clear control over “all aspects of its educational program,” including athletics. And the issue of institutional control could impact the NCAA probe, raise questions about what coaches knew and ultimately lead to possible wins and championships being vacated.
Clemson, Texas A&M
TEAMS TO PLAY IN 2018, 2019: Clemson and Texas A&M have agreed to a two-game series in 2018 and 2019.
The schools announced the games Thursday night.
The teams will play at Texas A&M in 2018 and at Clemson in 2019.
The schools have played four times previously, the last coming in 2005 when the Tigers beat Texas A&M 25-24 at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium.
The games mean that Clemson will face two Southeastern Conference schools each season from 2016 through 2019. Clemson plays Auburn in 2016 and 2017 before picking up Texas A&M. Clemson closes the season each year against state rival South Carolina.
CB WHITE GIVES UP FOOTBALL: Northwestern cornerback Dwight White has decided to stop playing football.
White told the Chicago Tribune he found out in June after experiencing abdominal pain that he was born with one kidney. He decided to keep playing. But after suffering a kidney contusion in practice in the final days before the season opener, he ultimately opted to stop.
White appeared in all 12 games and made six starts as a freshman last season. He did not appear in any games this year.
THREE STUDENTS EXPELLED AFTER RIOTS: West Virginia expelled three students in what police called riots following the Mountaineers’ win over Baylor.
The university said Thursday that the students, who weren’t identified, are among 14 facing criminal charges in the disturbances Saturday.
Morgantown police say crowds pushed over two street lamps and threw rocks and beer bottles at police and firefighters. Eight police cars were damaged, along with a fire engine and two Morgantown fire marshal vehicles.
The university says in a news release that other students could face sanctions.
President Gordon Gee says in the release that the university will hold students accountable for unlawful behavior.