The N&O’s Dan Kane continues to keep the pressure on and keep the NEW Carolina Way in the public eye. This go ’round he seems to want us to be aware of some recent personnel changes within the UNC-CH academic support program for athletes (is that an oxymoron or what?).
Pasted below are a few pertinent quotes but please click the link and read the whole piece. I have a feeling he’s going somewhere with this one….
When UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp announced a reorganization of the academic support program for athletes last week, he said the university has installed an interim director and is searching for a new one.
What he didn’t say is what happened to the guy who held that job for nearly a decade, Robert Mercer.
Mercer was quietly moved to a new job, outside of athletic advising, as a “special assistant for operations” at a center for undergraduate excellence, for the same salary of $81,900. His former boss, Harold Woodard, who is serving as interim director, said Mercer had done nothing wrong, but that the issues that have welled up from the academic fraud investigation required a search for a “national” leader to run the program.
The move came less than a week after a special faculty report said evidence suggests that academic counselors working under Mercer were steering athletes to classes that were later found to involve little or no classroom time.
The faculty report said an unidentified “departmental staff manager” within African studies may have directed athletes to enroll in the no-show classes, and that “it seems likely” someone in the department was calling counselors for athletes to tell them “certain courses” were available.
“We were told that athletes claimed they had been sent to Julius Nyang’oro” by the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes, the report said.
Woodard said he knew nothing about the claims of steering athletes.
“I’m not aware of what was happening in that department, and that’s probably a good thing because it allows me to focus on where we want to take the staff during the interim,” Woodard said.
Mercer’s reassignment followed changes that Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham announced last month in hiring a new senior associate director, Vince Ille, from the University of Illinois, and Paul Pogge as an associate director.
The moves come amid new evidence suggesting that the academic fraud had gone on longer than the 2007-to-2011 period examined by the internal investigation.
Earlier this month, The News & Observer reported that a former student said he had taken a no-show class taught by Nyang’oro in fall 2005. And two transcripts from 2001 tied to former UNC football star Julius Peppers have called into question the quality of athletes’ education as far back as the late 1990s.
One of those transcripts was a test transcript found by The N&O on UNC’s web site. That led rival N.C. State fans to Peppers’ actual transcript, which showed that he had achieved grades of B or better in several classes that the internal probe found to be academically suspect in later years. For example, Peppers received a B-plus for a Southern Africa class in his sophomore year, a course that showed up six times as a no-show class over three later years, according to the UNC investigation.
Peppers performed poorly in many other classes, including some within the African studies department that did not turn up later as no-show classes. He received a D on an introductory course, and failed a civil rights class in spring 2001.
Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey Jr., released a statement from Peppers on Saturday confirming that the transcript is his, but denying that he took part in academic fraud. On Monday, UNC officials announced that Peppers had made a $250,000 contribution to a scholarship program for African-American students.
Lots of great discussions taking place on the SFN Forums so be sure to make your way over and weigh in with your opinions.