Before the N&O goes “pay for play” here in about a week, I’d like to thank Mr. Dan Kane, perhaps for the last time, for at least attempting to keep this story front and center.Â The Delay, Deflect and Deny (if necessary) defense seems to have been largely successful for the rats to the west however, and has kept their proverbial ship mostly afloat and sea-worthy (well, except for a few exceptions, huh Butch?).
But at least Mr. Kane has tried.
UNC got warning on suspect classes (NewsObserver.com)
Before we even get into any of the really interesting stuff in this one, you gotta read this quote folks….
For the first half of the last decade, independent studies offered by the Department of African and Afro-American Studies were a regular go-to class for menâ€™s basketball players at UNC-Chapel Hill.
In one year alone, when the team won the 2005 NCAA championship, basketball players accounted for 15 enrollments, university records show.
Two years later, members of the team all but disappeared from those classes, which did not meet and typically required a paper or research project at the end. UNC-CH records show just one basketball player took an independent study from the department in the past five years.
A university athletic department spokesman attributed the decline to a waning interest in African studies among basketball players.
So, yeah.Â Interesting that one of the more “engaging” fields of study among basketball players pre-2007, suddenly became so mundane after that point.Â Also interesting that the original investigations were limited in scope to 2007 and beyond, huh?
But it gets better….
Former Gov. Jim Martin, who has been leading a probe into academic irregularities at UNC-CH, said in interviews that Robert Mercer, the former director of the academic support program, and John Blanchard, a senior associate athletic director who oversaw academics, said they saw higher-than-expected independent study enrollments from athletes in the African studies department.
UNC-CH records show more than 1,400 enrollments of athletes and regular students in that department from fall 2001 to summer 2006, with some professors listed as teaching dozens of them at a time. Blanchard and Mercer reported the enrollments to Dick Baddour, then the athletic director.
They said they and Baddour took the information to the Faculty Committee on Athletics, but the committee told them there was nothing to be concerned about.
Nothing to be concerned about.
So then, why the sudden seeming mass exodus of basketball player enrollments?Â Well it depends upon who you ask.Â But Auburn getting caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar might have had a little something to do with it.Â Hard to say for certain though, because no one seems to be giving the same story on that aspect…..
â€œThere was a concern because of the Auburn incident in independent studies,â€ Martin said, â€œso that was definitely discussed.â€
Baddour, upon learning of Martinâ€™s comments, largely confirmed that version of events, though he said he did not recall the Auburn story being part of the discussion.
â€œThe issue,â€ he said, â€œwas there seemed to be more of that (independent studies) available in that department than elsewhere.â€
That appears to be where the momentum stopped for a deeper look into the enrollments and the African studies department. But the number of enrollments soon started to drop.
Members of the faculty committee, which has oversight of athletic matters on campus, say they do not recall such a warning. But the chairwoman at the time, Lissa Broome, a law professor who is now the faculty representative to the NCAA, said she did remember a discussion about the Auburn University case.
Committee minutes reflect some discussion about independent studies and include a reference to the Times report, which was published July 14, 2006. In that case, an Auburn University sociology professor had offered 272 independent studies to students in one academic year. Many Auburn athletes used the courses to boost their grade point averages.
â€œThe committee has conducted a review of student-athletes registrations in independent study courses and has an interest in receiving current information in this regard,â€ the minutes of the November 2006 meeting said.
Two months later, the committee reported: â€œNo sense exists of a current problem.â€ Mercer was tasked with tracking independent studies.
The discussion apparently never went beyond the faculty athletics committee, and the African studies department escaped a deeper look.
The internal probe from May, which was done by academic officials within the College of Arts and Sciences, the home of the African studies department, made no mention that there had been prior concerns about the department.
But of course, it probably really was just that the WHOLE BASKETBALL TEAM suddenly lost interest in the same subject.Â I mean, that makes sense….right?
Still proud of the way you’ve done things over there Roy?
Wanna expand about some of those “problems” that were corrected that we’ve heard about so often, but have interestingly enough never heard any details about?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.Â It was rhetorical.
There’s a lot more information in this one folks.Â As well as a lot of review that helps tie some things together.Â Click the link (here it is again) and read the whole thing.