When Can You Cheat and Skate?

Have you been wondering why the cheating scandal at FSU was handled so much differently than the one at UNC is being handled? Why was the NCAA involved in establishing penalties for one school and not the other?

Well I have been wondering about this and nothing that I read made any sense. But the lights finally went on during a discussion with Tar Heel Fan on his blog along with a separate conversation with WV Wolf.

Let’s start with FSU and the NCAA regulation that was violated; otherwise known as Article 10.1 Unethical Conduct, paragraph b:

Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may include, but is not limited to, the following:

…(b) Knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an enrolled student athlete;

Now that seems pretty straight forward, but you need to look closely at the phrase “knowing involvement in arranging”. Why didn’t they just say “cheating”? Does all cheating by an athlete constitute an NCAA violation or not?

The short answer is that not all cheating falls under the NCAA’s control. The NCAA issued interpretations to clarify what falls under their purview and what the universities have to deal with:

3. Academic Fraud. The subcommittee reviewed the application of Bylaw 10.1-(b) as it relates to academic fraud and agreed that the following guidelines generally should be used in determining whether an incident of academic fraud should be reported to the NCAA as a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b) or should be handled exclusively at the institutional level in accordance with its policies applicable to all students:

a. The subcommittee confirmed that an institution is required to report a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b) any time an institutional staff member (for example, coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant) is knowingly involved in arranging fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or enrolled student-athlete, regardless of whether the institutional staff member acted alone or in concert with the prospective or enrolled student-athlete.

b. The subcommittee confirmed that an institution is required to report a violation of Bylaw 10-1-(b) any time a student-athlete, acting alone or in concert with others, knowingly becomes involved in arranging fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts, regardless of whether such conduct results in an erroneous declaration of eligibility.

c. If a student-athlete commits an academic offense (for example, cheating on a test, plagiarism on a term paper) with no involvement of an institutional staff member, the institution is not required to report a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b), unless the academic offense results in an erroneous declaration of eligibility and the student-athlete subsequently competes for the institution.

Finally, the subcommittee noted that in all cases in which a student-athlete knowingly engages in conduct that violates institutional policies, the institution is required in all cases to handle a student-athlete’s academic offense in accordance with its established academic policies applicable to all students, regardless of whether the violation is reportable under Bylaw 10.1-(b)] or whether the student-athlete was acting along or in concert with others.

Per paragraph a, if an institutional staff member is involved in the cheating, an NCAA violation has occurred. But per paragraph c, if “there is no involvement of an institutional staff member”, then an NCAA violation did not necessarily occur.

If you pull up the reports on the FSU scandal, an academic advisor was involved in helping athletes cheat. The penalties for FSU included:

• Public reprimand and censure.
• Four years of probation (March 6, 2009, to March 5, 2013).
• Scholarship reductions in football; men’s and women’s basketball; men’s and women’s swimming; men’s and women’s track and field; baseball; softball; and men’s golf.
• Vacation of all wins in which the 61 student-athletes in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track, men’s golf, baseball and softball competed while ineligible during 2006 and 2007.
• The FSU players had to sit out 30% of the respection seasons.

Now fast forward to UNC, we know that at least one tutor was involved in helping athletes cheat. We know that her contract was not renewed in 2009 and that she worked for Butch until this past spring. So now watch closely….

If there was only one tutor involved in helping the athletes AND
If the cheating occurred after she was being paid only by Butch….


Let’s go back to THF’s blog and look again at the statement from UNC spokesman Kevin Best for confirmation of this interpretation:

First, every one of these cases is different and each punishment and/or non-punishment has been different. You can infer that the individuals ruled on thus far in the academic misconduct did not commit any NCAA violations. I can not discuss the honor court rulings. In some instances the NCAA does not have to sign off or even discuss the clearances.

So, the difference between FSU and UNC was that in Tallahassee, the cheating academic advisor was being paid by FSU. But in Chapel Hill, the cheating tutor was only being paid by the head football coach.

Isn’t that special?

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

UNC Scandal

41 Responses to When Can You Cheat and Skate?

  1. Daily Update 10/21/2010 at 11:31 PM #

    Wow. Great work. So, don’t allow the university to employ tutors who help your football players cheat, just let the head football coach employ/pay the tutor to help his own football players cheat.

    Makes perfect sense. Why isn’t everyone doing this considering it is unlikely to be caught as long as you are monitoring twitter?

  2. Ismael 10/21/2010 at 11:54 PM #

    this also sounds like an excellent way for a booster club to be involved but not be “involved”. Or does the UNC consider the Wolfpack Club, Rams Club etc. to be part of the school.

    It also makes sense now that BMFD didn’t actually try to hide the fact that she was employed by him AFTER she was “let go”/reassigned/etc. from the Univ.

  3. ruffles31 10/21/2010 at 11:56 PM #

    Well that just makes everything correct then, right? I don’t think that the NCAA will allow these shenanigans to be done right underneath their noses.

    If Davis is paying the tutor, then isn’t the university paying the tutor (if you use the transitive property)?

    Every time I think this can’t get better, it does. This “loophole” that UNC is using may come back and bite them in the butt if it is proven that the tutor was helping multiple players cheat.

  4. wolf_at_my_door 10/22/2010 at 12:00 AM #

    That is a blatant manipulation of NCAA rule. How did they get this info? Marcus Wilson perhaps?

  5. WV Wolf 10/22/2010 at 12:14 AM #

    The rule is supposed to be that if a player cheats on his own or with the help someone not employed by the university, that’s not an NCAA problem, it’s a school problem. That makes sense, I have no problem with that.

    Now technically the tutor, after being fired, was not an “institutional staff member”, but when she was a former staff member and being paid by the head coach, I don’t see how you can just pass that off as someone with no involvement. Guess that’s the Carolina Way.

  6. TAEdisonHokie 10/22/2010 at 1:30 AM #

    UNC stated previously that they fired the tutor (institutional staff member) in 2009 for getting too close to the football team. That specific wording was used to discredit the tutor and destroy her credibility. You may have noticed that the attacks against her by the media have completely stopped…because the media fears a major lawsuit by the tutor for defamation of character, etc.

    Why did UNC need to do that? Because, IMHO, they knew she was doing the actual academic work for the players long before her dismissal in 2009. UNC also knew she was violating the guidelines laid down by both UNC and the NCAA on the proper use of tutors. They also knew she was assisting so many players that self-reporting to the NCAA would decimate their program.

    So, they decided to hide the cheating by officially “firing” the tutor from the university. BD then hired her as a tutor for his son so that she could continue her tutoring activities for the players. Her hiring by BD was also a ploy to keep her from talking to the media in retaliation for being fired by UNC.

    This particular dodge is not going to work for UNC. The tutor worked for the players as an institutional staff member long before she was let go by the university and subsequently hired by Butch Davis.

  7. wolfpacker 10/22/2010 at 4:43 AM #

    Would someone please enlighten the young lady that wrote this article…


    She must be a tarhole…

  8. PackerInRussia 10/22/2010 at 6:21 AM #

    This is like one of those movies where the bad guy plans out everything so intricately and foresees every possible move by the adversary and just when it looks like the bad guy screws up, it turns out that it was part of his plan all along. And you’re left thinking, “How unrealistic.” Yet, here we are in the Land of Reality and this whole cheating thing may work to perfection. Where’s Batman when you need him.

  9. bradleyb123 10/22/2010 at 6:27 AM #

    Normally, I would expect the university to not accept this kind of skirting of the rules. But they’ve shown themselves to be just as bad as Butch. They’re a match made in Carolina blue heaven.

    I just hope the NCAA finds a way to get them anyway. This just gets more unbelievable every day.

    Butch continued to pay that tutor. Couldn’t that still be considered institutional? I mean, the NCAA doesn’t HAVE to buy their BS alibi, do they? Just because there is a shadow of doubt doesn’t mean the NCAA has to buy it. After all, this is not a murder trial. Butch was paying the tutor, and Butch is a part of the institution, is he not?

    If only there was a way to get that tutor to talk.

  10. mikeD 10/22/2010 at 6:51 AM #

    Butch is still an institutional staff member, and by hiring the tutor he knowingly “becomes involved in arranging fraudulent academic credit”.

    I don’t see how they are getting away with this. Great article, but I still think they committed an NCAA violation here.

  11. Pack78 10/22/2010 at 7:24 AM #

    unx DOES have a law school-I think that the posts above have laid out a very plausible scenario re the academic cheating: BD gets players in that CANNOT do even the basics of college-level work, the ‘tutor-arrangement’ (and there has to be more than one instance of this,ie,BB) has been set up to skate this problem, and the ‘firing’ of the tutor is effected when the house of cards begins to come down. This IS institutional control in the negative-the not-ready-for-prime-time-players (BD,DB,HT) have allowed/directed this crap from the get-go…

  12. TOBtime 10/22/2010 at 8:12 AM #

    ^Pack78 nails it. The holes have had for quite some time the best legal minds they could get their hands on (and they have access to MANY legal minds) poring over every detail of every loophole they could exploit. To think any other scenario is plausible is simply naive.

    As has been posted here many time the holes are going to go down with the ship. There is a belief they can beat this and walk away while continuing to flaunt rules in the face of the NCAA. By not cutting ties with Davis immediately they really left themselves no recourse. Once the course of action was determined all resources available were and continue to be brought in to make the perceived outcome a reality. This hole situation (put intended) has evolved to be something much more than simply an NC State vs unx rivalry issue. The depth of the debauchery is still being defined. Will the NCAA respond with like punishment is the question that remains to be answered. Anything less than a total dismemberment of unx fotball will be a slap in the face of ALL NCAA member institutions.

  13. VaWolf82 10/22/2010 at 8:23 AM #

    As far as setting themselves for future problems, it all depends on how much of this process UNC passed before the NCAA before they began clearing players of academic fraud. That would be one question that I would like to see Baddour answer. There are more:

    Did all of the cases involve the tutor?
    How many tutors were involved?
    How far back does the cheating go?
    Did any of these tutors work with athletes from other sports?
    and on and on.

  14. McCallum 10/22/2010 at 8:39 AM #

    The older I get the more I realize that I am, to use an out of date modernist term, a hater.

    Long held attachments die hard gentlemen but I would also suggest that you are all haters as well. After all, most of you have a stem on the ol’ apple and attending State prior to the recent invasion of xx chromosomes has embittered most of you. The rigors of listening to a graduate student from either Hunan, where he learned english sunbathing nude along Lake Dongting(yes, this is a real lake), or a midwestern Lutheran, two weeks in the greater Raleigh area telling you how soil chemistry is nearly as exciting as Nebraska football, is bound is steel you for the future. Last drop dates, set one week before the first exam in Chem 101, has wounded a number of you. I understand your pain, I can grasp the anger within you since after all…………ol State College never cut us much slack in anything. Few social outlets, no easy classes, graduate students with odd sounding names and odder grading outlines, pissy women that could pick and chose despite that their weight and intelligence would put them in an Untouchable type of caste even at the Denton Fly In (also known as the Thrashers Reunion). You are filled with hate gents, I suggest that is why you fling these darts at unc.

    After all, look across into Orange County. Easy classes filled with typically high levels of subjective study matter. Truly beautiful women lacking both morals and tan lines, a campus that looks akin to Monticello nearly as much as State looks akin to downtown Bucharest in 1975. Culture, social outlets, the ability to stay out all night and raise hell while at the same time coupling with a variety of valedictorians who, generally speaking, served as the advertising photo model for every big shot orthodontist in every county across North Carolina. The chance to ski in Gstaad, steal kegs, write, think, lecture, and do so without any real chance of flunking out. That my friends is what YOU missed, it is what I missed and that is why we are haters.

    So put a hold on all that old non-sense about suffering, perseverance, and sacrifice because I’m telling you some folks down the road from ya just aint worried about that type of life. Second chances “hell” they say, 5th and 6th chances and the real out come being that you’ll end up rich with the ability to write drivel about hating and then it’ll be off to trout fish and smoke fine cigars.

    I know why we are haters, do you?


  15. Phang 10/22/2010 at 8:52 AM #

  16. GAWolf 10/22/2010 at 8:54 AM #

    ^^ McCallum: Count me in, laughingly.

  17. TOBtime 10/22/2010 at 9:02 AM #

    ^I’m pretty sure at some point Reggie Bush & USC weren’t worried about sufferng or persevering through anything. Bush hasn’t been touched but I wonder what USC would say now?

    Thos grad students from Hunan could amazing things with the English language. I couldn’t understand it but it was amazing to listen to.

  18. packplantpath 10/22/2010 at 9:22 AM #

    I remember an indian calculus TA who I swear spoke no english. He stood at the whiteboard and solved problems for the entire class, and you sat there copying what he wrote hoping you could figure out how to do it later.

    Several times, he would fill the entire board to solve one problem, get to the end of the problem and freeze.

    He would say “Oh, dear” (I swear, the only english words he knew) and he would start erasing the problem and starting over….. Eventually we learned that “oh dear” meant he had screwed up and we wasted the last 30 minutes.

  19. packfan03 10/22/2010 at 9:40 AM #

    As Tom Jenson targeted those who identify themselves as“UNC Fans” in his poll, a poll should be created targeting people who identify themselves as “individuals with above-average ethical standards” and present the facts with them.

    Question: Do you feel that Butch Davis should be retained after hiring a coach who facilitated agent-contact?
    Question: Do you feel that Butch Davis should be retained after his son’s personal tutor (whom Butch was personally paying) was identified as the tutor in the middle of the academic scandal?

    I’m sure we could think of some others and the wording in these could be improved. It’s a starting point though!

  20. StateFans 10/22/2010 at 9:55 AM #

    * Don’t try over-rationalize the connection between Butch being the football coach and the institution. The legal eagles will make the point that distinguishing characteristic is that MONEY being used to employ the tutor was the Chief’s personal money…not ‘institutional’ money from UNC.

    * It doesn’t surprise me that the ‘average’ fan wouldn’t hold Butch accountable for everything that has been going on. They don’t know everything that is going on. How would they? It isn’t being reported in the newspaper and traditional media. You have to be a rabid fan who seeks the truth to figure it out since the media isn’t giving it to them.

  21. bradleyb123 10/22/2010 at 9:56 AM #

    Is it really plausible that Butch was a mastermind of the rules, and had the school fire the “player friendly” tutor so he could continue paying her to do his dirty deeds, knowing that if they got caught, they could say it was the tutor acting on her own behalf?

    It seems that the university might technically be absolved of any wrongdoing in the tutor thing, since they weren’t paying her. I can’t help but wonder if Butch and/or the administration KNEW THIS, and it was all intentional. Because you know big-time universities, especially those with their own law schools, know every word of the NCAA rulebook.

    I can’t help but believe they knew exactly what they were doing. It’s just too strange of a coincidence that Butch just HAPPENED to hire the same tutor that cheated for the players. And continued paying her for her services long after the university cut ties with her.

    I have a very bad feeling about this, and am starting to think the only way the school will REALLY pay for these crimes is if someone can get that tutor to talk.

  22. Bowlpack 10/22/2010 at 9:56 AM #

    I’m with MikeD on this one. The loophole seems very shaky to me since Butch hired the tutor and is an institutional staff member. He is therefore assisting in the arrangement to commit academic fraud. I don’t see how they overlook this issue. Whether or not Butch actually knew what the tutor was doing is another issue, but based on how her tenure at UNC played out, I would assume that he along with other institutional staff members were well aware of what was going on. Maybe I’m not correctly putting the facts together, but it seems obvious to me.

  23. choppack1 10/22/2010 at 10:02 AM #

    Sports fans – If UNC is going to use this as a defense – they are really fostering an environment that is NOT complaint.

    If you haven’t read the USC report – you need to read the part that pertains to LOIC. You’ll see that this is the exact type of thing that the NCAA is talking about when they say “Promoting an atmosphere of compliance.” Sorry, but saying “hey, she didn’t work for the school, so it’s cool if these guys play” – is not promoting an atmosphere of compliance nor is it reducing the likelihood that the athletes would feel entitled to certain perks. It’s quite the opposite.

    You see – here’s UNC’s problem – they’ve committed NCAA violations. The NCAA has stated such and has handed out very strong sentences. Now, the NCAA doesn’t stop w/ punishing the individuals – they look at the institution itself.

    If anything, this so-called loophole will make the LOIC MORE likely.

  24. Bowlpack 10/22/2010 at 10:12 AM #

    One name comes to mind when I think of UNC’s handling of academics in regards to athletes: Dwight Jones. How he was even admitted is a mystery after failing to qualify at Clemson, but you know…it’s the Carolina Way!

  25. VaWolf82 10/22/2010 at 10:22 AM #

    Is it really plausible that Butch was a mastermind of the rules,

    To be honest, I don’t really care what Butch knew about anything.
    I care about:
    – What Butch, his assistants, and his players did.
    – What UNC does to investigate and punish the guilty
    – What the NCAA does to UNC

    Motives, thoughts, intentions, etc are not verifiable and thus not worth my time to discuss.

    starting to think the only way the school will REALLY pay for these crimes is if someone can get that tutor to talk.

    The tutor’s silence MIGHT be protecting other teams, but it is not protecting UNC FB in the current multi-prong investigation. Finding all of the dirt on Blake is far more important than getting the tutor to talk about the FB team.

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