PHILADELPHIA– This was another sad day on Tobacco Road.
The University of North Carolina has always placed a value on academic and athletic excellence. But the Tar Heels’ pristine reputation took a huge hit Wednesday after the release of the findings of an eight month investigation conducted by Kenneth Wainstein, a former U.S. Justice official, who looked into academic fraud within the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies from 1993 through 2011.
Wainstein’s findings in the 131-page report concluded there was a lack of institutional oversight for nearly two decades that allowed student-athletes to receive automatic A’s and B’s in no show, independent study courses where students never spoke with a professor and were only required to turn in single papers at the end of the term “that were often plagiarized or padded with fluff.” The report has tarnished the image of the school’s football program and beloved basketball program and other sports at the school.
More than 3,100 students were enrolled in the “shadow curriculum” from 1993 through 2011. Nearly half were athletes, mostly football or men’s basketball players, who were often deliberately steered there by academic counselors to improve poor grade point averages and keep them eligible to play for Carolina sports teams, the report said.
Wainstein had the cooperation of former department chairman Julius Nyango’oro and retired office administrator Deborah Crowder, who created the courses and graded the students’ work by herself. Crowder told Wainstein that she had been motivated by a desire to help struggling athletes.