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. choppack1 10/22/2010 at 10:45 AM #

    VaWolf – your opinion – based on facts – if nothing else comes out, w/ what’s on the table now, what is UNC looking at from the NCAA?

    I’m still thinking they get the LOIC – which would cause them a season. I guess right now I’d set the “line” at a 2 year post-season ban and a loss of some scholarships.

  2. VaWolf82 10/22/2010 at 11:20 AM #

    Ignoring the potential recruiting prong, I stand by what I said here with one exception…LOIC is now dead certain.

    Probation – 4 years
    Forfeit wins from 2009 (and possibly earlier)
    Scholarship Reduction – somewhere between 4 and 10 per year for ~3 years
    Post Season Ban – 2 years (min)
    TV Ban – highly unlikely
    Recruiting Restrictions – depends on what the NCAA can pin on Blake/boosters.

  3. OldWuf 10/22/2010 at 11:58 AM #

    McCallum you are a genius! You have articulated what I have tried unsuccessfully to say for many years. I have examples from my years at State also.

  4. choppack1 10/22/2010 at 12:33 PM #

    I was going to “hate” on McCallum’s hating post – but you know what.

    He nailed it. State fans are like the kids who works really hard building a great soap box derby car. If you’re lucky enough to win – you’re accused of cheating – and your car is inspected to the letter! I mean – so what if your Dad is really handy w/ tools and you both worked really hard on it.

    Chapel Hill is the rich kid who shows up w/ a car that was made using the latest technolgoy. The kid hasn’t done any work – but darned if he isn’t going to blow most kids out of the water. He won’t get questioned – after all – his family is the most respected in town – judges, lawyers, and mayors.

    You’re wrong to even question the kid…

  5. MP 10/22/2010 at 12:37 PM #

    Excellent post, and interesting thought on the update to “Context & Perspective”.

    Also, can McCallum’s comment be established as an independent post – sort of like putting in the “SFN Hall of Fame”?

  6. WolftownVA81 10/22/2010 at 12:45 PM #

    ” a campus that looks akin to Monticello nearly as much as State looks akin to downtown Bucharest in 1975.”

    Definately a classic McCallam. These were exactkt my thoughts upon viewing the NCSU Campus for the first time in the Spring of 1979. With the exception of the Centenial Campus, it pretty much looks the same today.

  7. packplantpath 10/22/2010 at 1:17 PM #

    Yea, but centennial campus looks like a nice federal prison. Most depressing looking place ever. Too institutional, though I do envy their labs somewhat……

  8. rtpack24 10/22/2010 at 3:01 PM #

    NCAA annoucned a couple of weeks ago that they are now involved in the academic investigation also. Someone mentioned Dwight Jones not getting in Clemson, he was not eligible for D-1 and had enrolled at Norfolk St when UNC discovered a “mistake” in his transcript. School had already started but he was admitted. Stay tuned on the red shirting of the players accused of violations.

  9. bradleyb123 10/22/2010 at 3:51 PM #

    Stay tuned on the red shirting of the players accused of violations.

    What does this mean, exactly? Stay tuned on something from the NCAA on this? Or more redshirts being announced?

  10. waxhaw 10/22/2010 at 5:13 PM #

    Which is a bigger violation?

    1) The school paying a tutor and the tutor (school employee) doing work for players improperly.

    2) The tutor works for BD and does work for the athletes free of charge, which would be a free benefit to the players paid for by the head coach.

    Either way, they are screwed. IMO, the second is a bigger violation since the head coach is providing an improper benefit to the players. oh by the way, this improper benefit also happens to include an academic violation.

  11. katymelrose 10/22/2010 at 5:14 PM #

    My guess is that NCAA lets UNC take the academic side as a school issue and not an NCAA one but then uses the fact that they fired her/did not renew her contract for cause and yet it didn’t trigger an internal investigation. That way it doesn’t matter who she was working for when. Only that someone who was working there didn’t do their job – it either wasn’t reprted to the athletic department that they were letting her go because of “inappropriate relationships” or someone in the athletic department didn’t think it was worth looking into

  12. easyjet7 10/22/2010 at 7:38 PM #

    “I’ve been privy to a lot of inside information that I don’t think I’m really at liberty to speak about from talking to some folks at North Carolina, and I think when the internal and NCAA investigation is over and they have a chance to stand at a podium and tell their side of the story – the real story, instead of speculation by a lot of the media and at this point a lot of the facts aren’t necessarily out there – when people hear the facts, I’ll be shocked if Butch Davis loses his job. In fact, I think they’d be very smart to hold on to him and be thankful that he’s been an anchor during this very difficult time and hope as an athletic department and University they can learn from the mistakes and try to get better off the field. There are some things that, when you read, you’d think there’s a tutor with a line of players outside her door writing papers and that’s the furthest from the truth. When all this comes out, I think people will realize what the deal is. I think if they were to dismiss Butch it’d be a huge mistake.”
    – Kirk Herbstreit

  13. VaWolf82 10/22/2010 at 8:33 PM #

    talking to some folks at North Carolina

    There’s a proven source of good information. Yea, that’s the ticket.

  14. PackerInRussia 10/23/2010 at 6:57 AM #

    ^^Are these the same folks who barely admit that there’s a problem at all and are doing everything they can to bury this stuff and get their players back on the field and just win? I guess we are to accept their victim posturing to mean that they really are the pristine institution of excellence who had a few bad apples try to spoil things? We’ll probably later find out that John Blake and a team of covert tutors and agents were hired and sent in to sabotage UNC by none other than their cross-town, wanna-be rival, NC State.

  15. McCallum 10/23/2010 at 7:02 AM #

    Good morning haters!!!

    The tutor is getting onto the first decent snows of Gstaad, drinking the last of truly great 92 Saxony Reslings, the vaginoplasty turned out well in addition to other cosmetic changes, a job has been secured at a private Swiss boarding school and her days in the Durham County education system are well behind her.

    Hers will be the silence of a rat pissin’ on cotton. Not a peep you shall hear gentlemen because this lass is not worried about a thing. In time she will cease to exist and her actions will be a faint memory in only a few months. You are grasping at straws since the fix was always in my friends. You can not grasp smoke or haze, you see it, you point to it and say “THERE” but to think you can possess it is full folly. While you bang away at your key boards she will be seductively propped beside a roaring fire well on her way into the most elite of social circles of dying European culture. Before long she’ll meet Marco, Paul or some other European power ball winner and she’ll move even further from the taint of chapel hill. All of it will be a memory for her as well, just another 5th or 6th chance on her way to riches.

    Did it happen? Probably so. Was it wrong and foul? No doubt. Did Jimmy V get screwed over? Double no doubt. Was there anything in Al Capone’s vault? Nope.

    Don’t be a Geraldo boys, just move along…………nothing to see here.


  16. durhamwolf19 10/25/2010 at 8:48 AM #

    Dwight Jones was actually at Valdosta State not Norfolk State.

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