Today is just one of those bad days, I guess. (At least we will spare Duke lacrosse any other mention.)
Let’s start local and work our way up to the bigger national stories.
First, one of UNC’s finest, Marion Jones has been linked to a fraud ring in Norfolk, VA (Link). Ouch!
A man implicated in a $5 million check-counterfeiting ring that moved money through Norfolk faced sentencing Thursday in a case that may have links to track star Marion Jones.
Ephraim Richardson is among 12 people who have been indicted in the New York-based case, including Steve Riddick, Jones’ track coach, and Tim Montgomery, a former standout at Norfolk State University.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported on Wednsday that Jones has not been charged with anything, but that court records suggest the sprinter received $25,000 in funds from one of the defendants last year.
Don’t get too excited, we won’t be throwing too many stones on this one since we’ve had our own similar indescretions with Clyde ‘The Glyde’ Austin…but, Clyde was in school about 30 years ago and Marion was around about 10 years ago – around the same time that most of Tarheel Nation was still telling everyone how much better that they do things than the rest of the world while sending Boy Scouts like Rasheed Wallace, Jeff McInnis, Jerry Stackhouse and Mahktar Nidye to represent their basketball program and while Mack Brown’s football program was riddled with off the field problems that were being hid from the media.
Here it comes.
(Those original…and painfully stale dated retorts are just classic…even if they mean nothing 20 years, 3 coaches/programs, and 4 Athletic Directors after the fact.
In other Tarheel news, the skeleton’s in Anson Dorrance’s closet haven’t been totally cremated yet. The N&O is reporting this morning:
North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance cut reserve goaltender Melissa Jennings in 1998 saying she was out of shape, but as a legal opponent she’s showing remarkable endurance.
Jennings and former UNC soccer star Debbie Keller sued Dorrance for sexual harassment eight years ago. Keller settled her portion of the lawsuit in March 2004, but Jennings pressed on. Her federal lawsuit was dismissed, and her appeal was rejected by a three-judge panel that split 2-1.
But a surprising decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., last month has given new life to the case, perhaps in response to a dissenting opinion that found strong merit to Jennings’ complaint.
While we are in the Atlantic Coast Conference, let’s stay close to home and look south to the Clemson football program that is poised for a huge year as long as they don’t stub their own toes with too many distractions before the season. The Tigers could be in self-destruction mode after all of these problems are gaining momentum down there. Personally, I’m a big Clemson fan and hope that no more problems pop up in Death Valley and that the Tigers can put this stuff behind them.
While we are talking about strong Tiger football programs in the South…who would have ‘thunk’ that an SEC football powerhouse may take academic ‘support’ beyond the bounds of acceptability? After all of the fuss at Tennessee a few years ago (surprise, surprise), certainly the other schools would be extra diligent in the manner in which they conducted themselves.
Sarcasm aside, the news that many Auburn athletes received high grades that they may not have deserved (sadly) probably doesn’t surprise many. (Link) I always look to Every Day Should be Saturday for thoughts on this stuff. (Link)
NEW YORK (AP) – Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and other Auburn athletes received high grades from the same professor for sociology and criminology courses that didn’t require them to attend classes or do much work, The New York Times reported.
Williams, the former star running back who now plays for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the newspaper the only two classes he took the spring semester of his senior year were one-on-one courses with Professor Thomas Petee, the sociology department’s highest-ranking member.
The Times reported on its Web site Thursday night that 18 members of the 2004 football team – a team that went undefeated and finished No. 2 in the nation – took a combined 97 hours of the courses during their careers. The newspaper said the offerings resemble independent study and include subjects as statistics, theory and methods, which normally require class instruction.
The Times, citing records compiled by Professor James Gundlach, the director of the Auburn sociology department reported one athlete took seven courses with Petee, three took six, five took five and eight took four.
Former Auburn defensive end Doug Langenfeld told The Times a directed-reading course with Petee required he read one book and write a 10-page paper. “I got a ‘B’ in the class,” Langenfeld told The Times.
The newspaper said Gundlach found that more than a quarter of the students in Petee’s directed-reading courses were athletes.
Now that USC AND Auburn have been burned by public disclosures of major improprieties in recent months…one can only hold our breath and wait for revelations to leak from the homes of other recent national champions – Austin and Baton Rouge. Of course, most Wolfpackers know that Mack Brown’s machine is far too well greased to risk public disclosure of problems in Austin (other than the annual dope busts of UT’s running backs)
I guess that it is nice that the New York Times is investigating something that won’t put most Americans’ lives in danger. Although, this is Auburn and who knows what may happen down there.
One of our favorite school blogs is Georgia Sports Blog. So, it makes good sense for us to link up their two entries on this topic for those with interest:
The long and short of it…the Auburn Athletic Department was driving student-athletes such as Cadillac Williams and 17 other football players towards independent study classes lead by one professor, Thomas Petee. That professor was a one man eligibility army keeping players academically alive for the undefeated 2004 season.
This should shock no one. It is Auburn after all. The issue of whether or not Auburn will get in trouble seems to boil down to 3 key things:
1. Will any player involved come out and say, “I didn’t do the work.” The difference between academic fraud like HarrickGate vs. TutorGate at UT is PROOF that the work wasn’t done by the kids. The NCAA had proof that the Harricks didn’t require the players to attend the class. The NCAA didn’t have that proof in the UT case. Just remember, in the UGA case we were talking about a mickey mouse PE course. Not a core classes like Statistics or Criminology which are part of this story.
2. WHY was a professor working the job of 3.6 other professors just so that he could give away grades like candy. What was his financial motivation for doing so? Answer this question, and EVERYTHING else will fall into place.
3. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Auburn on probation because of accrediation problems in 2003. They may ask questions of Auburn related to the academic integrity issues.