Ovies: North Carolina’s NCAA gift that keeps on giving (updated with commentary 3:49 pm)

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While a sports related scandal exposed possible fraud within the African and Afro-American Studies department, the issue goes well beyond athletics. It eats at the core of what a university is all about. North Carolina prides itself in national academic recognition. That’s why public comments from chancellor Holden Thorp and UNC system president Tom Ross are rather curious. They appear more interested in damage control.

In July of 2011, when Michael McAdoo’s plagiarized paper had gone viral, Thorp wanted the focus to be on the honor court’s handling of the situation rather than asking out loud why nobody bothered to read the paper in the first place. In an interview with the N&O, Thorp said he was not going to dig into Nyang’oro’s handling of the paper. “It’s very unfortunate what happened here, but I don’t get into grading for faculty members,” he said.

In a statement on Monday, Ross wasn’t interested in digging deeper. “I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place,” he said.

Ross only believes the case of Nyang’oro is isolated, but how does he know that? Wouldn’t it behoove the president of the entire university system to make sure everything at a flagship institution is kosher? At the very least that seems like a reasonable request.

Independent investigation anyone?

I wish I had the time to blog on topics such as this, but I just don’t anymore. Ovies is hitting my idea for a long, long entry about how during this entire process UNC has been avoiding the truth while at the same time investigating specific issues only scratching the surface and/or only in response to issues discovered by the media.

Look at this latest investigation by UNC. Without McAdoo’s lawsuit, the infamous Swahili paper never becomes public, the blatant plagiarism is never discovered, and the N&O likely never breaks the Swahili prong of this multi-pronged scandal. Once the paper became public, then the whole world knew that none of the people at UNC had even read McAdoo’s paper prior to going in front of the NCAA in a ridiculous effort to get him reinstated. Did this happen by accident? Did these folks really think they didn’t need to look at the work prior to the NCAA hearing? Or were they simply avoiding reading the paper in fear of discovering the plagiarism themselves knowing that once it was discovered they may be forced to dig further into academic improprieties?

Most importantly you have to remember Chancellor Thorp stating he doesn’t get involved with grading by faculty. Well, I can certainly see why he wanted to stay out of it this time.

Then Marvin Austin’s partial transcript is published by the N&O which leads to more questions about these Swahili courses and finally UNC’s hand is forced into investigating the African American department.

However, this investigation is limited to going back as far as 2007. Did they base the decision to limit the investigation for fear of what they might discover just like they may have when they chose not to read McAdoo’s paper?

With the massive amounts of fraud discovered, then why isn’t the investigation being expanded to go back further?

Now similar to Thorp’s stance that he doesn’t get involved with grading by faculty, we have the new head of the UNC System stating that he has heard enough, this was isolated, and it is time to move on. Nothing to see here. All is good.

The problem is that UNC has proven either incompetent to investigate themselves or unwilling to dig for the entire truth throughout the entirety of this investigation. How many instances of this incompetence or unwillingness to do a complete investigation have to occur before some adult somewhere in the UNC system or our state government stands up demands an independent investigation?

Big Four Rivals UNC Scandal

52 Responses to Ovies: North Carolina’s NCAA gift that keeps on giving (updated with commentary 3:49 pm)

  1. tractor57 05/08/2012 at 1:30 PM #

    If this starts gathering attention outside of the college sports sphere things might get a little warm for Thorpe and Ross. My suggestion is if one wants to make a statement to the state legislature or to the governor’s office write a letter on paper rather than an email. Granted takes a bit more effort but that is precisely the point – that indication of additional effort would most likely garner more attention in the places where change could be mandated.
    As a college sports related issue I’m greatly bothered here but when looking at the whole we are now beyond recruiting violations and other sports related stuff and smack dab into academic integrity. To me that moves to another level of problems.

  2. NCSU88 05/08/2012 at 1:34 PM #

    ^ Well, those players are always talking about making it to the next level. Congrats to UNC.

  3. TNWolf 05/08/2012 at 1:41 PM #

    ESPN needs to get this on Outside the Lines.

  4. packalum44 05/08/2012 at 2:12 PM #

    As an alumnus of NC State with a BS and and Masters in Accounting circa 2007 and 2008 respectively, I strongly urge the UNC System to demonstrate strong leadership and uphold the integrity of the UNC System. Academic dis-integrity is not isolated to one school it reflects upon other members of the organization. Misdeeds at one member smears and embarrass other member institutions and frankly, tarnish their degree(s).

    I implore Tom Ross to facilitate the creation of a wholly and completely independent 3rd party team of investigators to research and report to the people of NC and alumni of affiliate schools the breath and depth of the academic fraud at the “flagship” institution.

    If Tom, possibly due in part to an apparent conflict of interest, cannot effectively run the UNC System with the respect and professionalism the constituents demand and deserve, I respectfully urge that he resign his post so that an appropriate and unaffiliated leader can step in to discover the extent of the fraud and subsequently embark on the long road to recover the UNC System’s integrity.

    It takes years to earn respect but a matter of moments to destroy it.

    Truly Yours,

    Hey, if anything it feels good to vent.

  5. packplantpath 05/08/2012 at 2:16 PM #

    While I suspect Holden Thorp is a good guy, this is probably the nail in his coffin as an administrator. He is done for. Has to be. He needs to go back to chemistry research.

  6. Old MacDonald 05/08/2012 at 2:23 PM #


  7. packof81 05/08/2012 at 2:32 PM #

    “My suggestion is if one wants to make a statement to the state legislature or to the governor’s office write a letter on paper rather than an email.”

    Bear in mind the legislature is packed with lawyers who are UNC alumni.

  8. Alpha Wolf 05/08/2012 at 2:35 PM #

    I am increasingly convinced that football was the sacrificial lamb to preserve what really matters over there: hoops. Not investigating academic fraud where athletics are concerned serves as evidence of it to me.

  9. mwcric 05/08/2012 at 2:42 PM #

    Forgive my cynicism, but given the nature of the ridiculous times in which we live, this scandal won’t go far. We’re talking ethnic studies, and my educated guess is most of the students in question were African-American. In other words, all UNC has to do is trot out the “R” word and all intellectual curiosity and media investigation will scatter with the winds of political correctness. I am actually shocked I haven’t heard the word “racism” associated with this yet.

  10. Alpha Wolf 05/08/2012 at 2:46 PM #

    ^ Sadly you are probably right.

  11. rtpack24 05/08/2012 at 2:46 PM #

    TNWolf great suggestion for ESPN to do an Outside the Lines story, only problem is the new head of ESPN graduated from the institution in question.

  12. GAWolf 05/08/2012 at 2:56 PM #

    Alpha: At this point, I’m entirely and fully convinced. Even if the case is circumstantial evidence, the latest numbers about who was in those fake African American Studies classes is the crucial piece of circumstantial evidence that would sway a jury to conviction. You don’t need the smoking gun when everything else around it is substantial, although circumstantial, evidence enough to prove the case.

    People should be tweeting this story to everyone in the national media with a keyboard and an audience.

  13. baxter 05/08/2012 at 3:00 PM #

    The racism word has no merit where blatant fraud is concerned. It’s not like its speculative evidence, its clearly documented fraud.

  14. Prowling Woofie 05/08/2012 at 3:04 PM #

    “TNWolf great suggestion for ESPN to do an Outside the Lines story, only problem is the new head of ESPN graduated from the institution in question.”

    And UNC just hired an ESPN analyst to coach the basketball program.

  15. bigjohn 05/08/2012 at 3:08 PM #

    I was surprised, when the Austin transcripts came out, not at the Swahili course, but at the Portugese language course(s), thinking that maybe athletes without great reading skills would steer clear of that kind of elective. Anybody else notice or question that?

  16. PackMan97 05/08/2012 at 3:45 PM #

    Allow me to put on my tin foil hat for a moment…

    …anyone think that part of these investigations include covering up the real dirt while leaking stuff just bad enough to give a mea culpa and try and move on? With all the payouts to Davis, Black Santa, Baddaour, Nayangaroo, etc…it really makes one wonder. All these guys getting busted for rampant fraud and cheating and NO ONE is getting fired? What are they really hiding?

  17. TruthBKnown Returns 05/08/2012 at 3:45 PM #

    The problem with all this is that there are no checks and balances that would force the PROPER investigation that is practically DEMANDED by this ongoing scandal.

    What I mean by that is that the “powers that be” at every level in this state seem to be Carolina graduates. Roy Cooper, the majority of the BoG, etc. No one at Carolina wants to make life any tougher on themselves than necessary. And high ranking government officials, who attended that university cannot be trusted to make life tough on their alma mater, if for no other reason, it could make THEIR OWN diploma seem to be worth less.

    This is a case where the inmates truly are running the asylum.

  18. Wufpacker 05/08/2012 at 3:49 PM #

    ^^^ I’m sure Marv was excited about being in college and wanted to make the most of his education and broaden his horizons, while taking full advantage of….

    You know what? Even being sarcastic, I can’t finish that sentence in good conscience.

  19. Wufpacker 05/08/2012 at 3:52 PM #

    @PackMan97…Yes, I’ve thought that as well. I think part of what they don’t want out has to do with how many folks within the university were aware and complicit (just a feeling).

  20. state73 05/08/2012 at 3:54 PM #

    Remember this will all be over by friday. The holes know that nothing will happen,they control the BOG,the NC legislature,and the AG’s office. They also have numerous media friends. Their corrupt friends are everywhere.

  21. GAWolf 05/08/2012 at 4:20 PM #

    Just to name a few… any idea what all of these guys have in common?

    Derrick Phelps
    Cliff Rozier
    Donald Williams
    Jeff McInnis
    Jerry Stackhouse
    Vince Carter
    Antwan Jamison
    Ed Cota

  22. Virginia Wolf 05/08/2012 at 4:38 PM #

    Well, now ole Roy will be saying “it will all be over by Friday!”

  23. GAWolf 05/08/2012 at 4:42 PM #

    He already has:


    And we’re working on an adequate response to his misrepresentation of the numbers. It’s about to get interesting, folks.

  24. GAWolf 05/08/2012 at 4:46 PM #

    The numbers do not lie, even if folks are lying about the numbers.

  25. lush 05/08/2012 at 4:49 PM #

    ^^^how is bleach spot wallace and julius peppers not on that list?

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