N & O: “Carolina way” has become a joke


The raging academic scandal at UNC-CH keeps picking up momentum.  An editorial in today’s News and Observer goes further than any such piece produced so far.  An excerpt:

The university, which used to boast of its “clean” athletics program, the “Carolina way,” has always maintained that it does not treat athletes different from other students, that they are not guided to courses designed to keep them eligible because of easy material or agreeable professors.

That sanctimony, especially, makes this latest development an outrage. And Chancellor Holden Thorp remains evidently reluctant to ask and answer the questions that linger, questions that must be answered before all those broken hearts Hargrove has been talking about can be mended.

They include:

How was it possible for this course to be added to the summer school list, for Nyang’oro to take it over from the professor who normally would have taught it and for it to include only football players (who knew to register for it within days of registration opening) without someone in the academic support staff or in the university’s middle-level administration not raising an eyebrow, and more?

What do students who were in the class say? Do Thorp and others want to find out?

The editorial goes on to raise the really big issue pending at the moment — questioning the investigative vigor UNC-CH has shown:

Thorp has tackled the issue at those points where The N&O has obtained records and reported on what happened, or didn’t happen, but he hasn’t seemed to push for a really aggressive investigation – even while the university’s academic standards have been corrupted and the “Carolina way” has become a joke.

This is not the only editorial making the rounds today.  Scott Mooneyham wrote a piece that was published first by the NC Insider and subsequently is being picked up by some other outlets.  Mooneyham does an amazing job pulling back the curtain on the so-called investigation undertaken by UNC-CH so far.  An excerpt:

Last summer, after former UNC-Chapel Hill football player Michael McAdoo was shown to have plagiarized a paper, chancellor Holden Thorp said he didn’t intend to question the professor who accepted the paper.

“We’ve done a very thorough investigation on the academic side,” Thorp said at the time.

A month later, The News & Observer of Raleigh showed that the same professor taught an advanced course to a star football player just as he arrived on campus and before ever taking a basic writing course.

Thorp responded by ordering an internal review. Six months later, a 10-page report outlined 54 irregularly-taught courses in the department overseen by the professor, Julius Nyang’oro.

The report concluded that athletes received no favorable treatment relative to the rest of the student body, making no mention of the percentage of athletes enrolled in the courses.

Thorp called the review thorough and diligent.

Subsequent media requests led to revelations that a majority of those enrolled in the courses were athletes.

Now, News & Observer reporter Dan Kane has revealed that one of the suspect courses, which involved no instruction, was created by Nyang’oro just two days before the start of a summer school semester in 2011. Of the 19 students who enrolled, 18 were football players and one was a former football player.

Mooneyham concludes:

Among the questions that need answering:

_ Who told football players to enroll in these classes? Why these classes and not others? Did the advisers assigned to athletes know about the academic fraud? Did they have any conversations with athletic department officials regarding this class or others taught by Nyang’oro?

_ Where was the oversight of Nyang’oro and his courses? Did his assignment to so many summer school courses violate university policy? If not, why not? If so, why was it allowed?

_ Finally, what role did Thorp himself play, in his previous job as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, in any lack of oversight of Nyang’oro’s department, his course assignments, and the athletic academic support staff, which also reports to the college?

It’s time for the truth.

Wow!  I should also mention that this latest story is now being picked up nationally, with USA Today , The Sporting News, and yahoo basically running the N & O piece.  Yahoo makes a point to quote this hilarious sentence from the N & O article:

Other records show that football and basketball players made up a majority of the enrollments of nine particularly suspect classes in which the professors listed as instructors have denied involvement, and have claimed that signatures were forged on records related to them.

That is some fantastic national press for the flagship! Also, Robbi Pickeral with ESPN is doing some preliminary exploration of this pdf provided by the N & O last Friday.  In my opinion, that pdf, which breaks down the enrollments in the suspect classes, will turn out to be a gold mine once people really start sifting through it.

Stay tuned.




91 Responses to N & O: “Carolina way” has become a joke

  1. StateMan 06/12/2012 at 10:22 AM #

    The UNC alums that I have spoken with are furious over this.

  2. lumbee wolfman 06/12/2012 at 10:28 AM #

    Check out the opening comment from this link:

    If you are a prospective college athlete and you don’t want to go to classes, North Carolina might be the University for you! Take the summer of 2011 for example.


    This is how the article ends:
    Now we just wait to see who was involved (Any members of the 2009 NCAA championship basketball team?) and just how long North Carolina student athletes have been enrolling in dummy classes. (Any members of the 2005 NCAA championship basketball team?)

    The heat is on!

  3. motorhead 06/12/2012 at 10:28 AM #

    My son is at UNC and I’m very troubled by this.

    This might be crazy, but anyone with a legal background think there’s a possibility of a huge lawsuit by former/current students?

  4. TopTenPack 06/12/2012 at 10:33 AM #

    I think the Tarheel fan base is worried that this is getting too close to two national basketball championships. Quick, call the Helms Foundation for more banners!

    Did anybody read “arrived on campus” above as “arroved on campus”? I know I did.

  5. ppack3 06/12/2012 at 10:38 AM #

    You know, I love to see those nukes when I pull up a UNC article! Is there any way to see just how many times that graphic has been used over the past two years?

    BTW, where in the hell is the NCAA? Charles Robinson?

  6. PackMan97 06/12/2012 at 10:45 AM #

    I think it’s time that Davis be replaced with Thorp.

    BTW – I didn’t know wufwuf was a little girl…the smirk on her face is priceless. It’s almost as if she was the one that got the fire started with a certain plagiarized paper!

  7. WuffDad 06/12/2012 at 10:45 AM #

    Are the unx alums furious because –

    – someone has the gall to question anything about the way UNX handles their business, or
    – it could lead to athletic disaster, or
    – they truely care about academics?

    What will it take to strip uncle Julius of any form of future compensation (race be damned)?

    Although I despise UNC part of my tax dollars support it, how can we effect multiple heads rolling?

  8. vtpackfan 06/12/2012 at 10:54 AM #

    The basketball team is not in real trouble, but accreditation is. When/if that term comes up the “Carolina Way” will go Lord of the Flies” in a heartbeat.

    BTW, for 13 years the oversight of the AAS with N’anoro was none other then Holden Thorpe, Dean of Arts and Sciences before his rise to overseer of the whole University. Early retirement matter of when, not if.

  9. TruthBKnown Returns 06/12/2012 at 10:56 AM #

    Back during our own scandal in the late 80’s, it was said that we could not be trusted to sufficiently investigate ourselves. So they ordered up an independent investigation for us.

    One thing about the Holes is that they have proven beyond a doubt that a corrupt institution absolutely CANNOT be trusted to sufficiently investigate themselves!

  10. TruthBKnown Returns 06/12/2012 at 11:00 AM #

    I actually don’t want to see heads roll over this. If that happens, they will use it to pretend they took care of the problem, and will continue to sweep stuff under the rug. And it might hinder the process of investigating.

    I hope Thorp and everybody else fights tooth and nail to hang on as long as they can.

  11. state73 06/12/2012 at 11:04 AM #

    Whatever punishment UNC-CHeat finally receives it will be too little. This behavior has been going on at least since the early 60’s. The “holes” believe this type of behavior is their birth right.

  12. TheAliasTroll 06/12/2012 at 11:07 AM #

    This editorial says it was only football players in the “rogue” class. I thought the original N&O article stated it was both football and basketball players?

  13. gso packbacker 06/12/2012 at 11:20 AM #

    Saw this reference to the “Carolina Way” on a LinkedIn profile the other day. Made me chuckle in light of things.

    “I am an experienced sales and management leader that believes in the “Carolina Way” of working hard, working smart, and working together to produce results for our customers, suppliers, and company.”

  14. WolftownVA81 06/12/2012 at 11:33 AM #

    Thorpe is toast. When he went all in with Butch he sealed the deal. However, in light of recent developments, he may have been all in as the Dean over seeing the College of Arts and Sciences. Perhaps that’s what he had to do to qualify for Chancellor. Can’t wait to see what BobLeeSays as he usually defends Holden.

  15. blpack 06/12/2012 at 11:47 AM #

    Take the banners down now!! It has all been a lie. Football, basketball, baseball. The house cards is coming down.

  16. wolfbuff 06/12/2012 at 11:50 AM #

    If alums are seriously outraged at what is going on (vs, just having it aired in the papers) then that is the first step! I said it before that Thorpe should have shown outrage at the beginning of this mess. Despite the fact that he may have been too trusting and thought all he had to do was sit in his captain’s chair while the university ran itself, he had a chance to be a real leader. He blew that on the very first press conference with Butch. And he’s had multiple opportunities since then, but just keeps burying his head in the sand. Until someone in the administration shows outrage, the cannot get past this. I mean, except for that one professor, there has not been even a peep about this from the other profs. My guess is that they don’t want any attention on themselves. The gig is up. No amount of whitewash is going to cover this up now.

  17. WolftownVA81 06/12/2012 at 12:05 PM #

    The next phase of the investigation has to be the men’s basketball program. After that, other sports (baseball) and finally the question of “how long has this sham been going on?” Certainly it didn’t just start in 2007. So many questions and so few answers to date.

  18. lush 06/12/2012 at 12:13 PM #

    the pdf is interesting, but how do you go about finding out which players were enrolled in the classes?

    what specifically causes a player to become inelegible?

  19. WuffDad 06/12/2012 at 12:19 PM #

    Thorpe has been quiet from the beginning because he may be culpable in all of this. He has been hoping that no one seeing all the smoke pouring out of his former department will think its a fire.

  20. T-Pack 06/12/2012 at 12:29 PM #

    Have to wonder if the public relations firm hired earlier by UNX is still calling shots on what to admit, what to release, when to admit and release, what to hide, and how to phrase every public comment for maximum deniability.

  21. MattN 06/12/2012 at 12:29 PM #

    Murphy Commission. Just sayin’….

  22. packof81 06/12/2012 at 12:32 PM #

    Where the hell is the independent investigation? What more does it take?

    Is there any worse stuff a university can do to ruin it’s integrity and it’s reputation? The flagship is making the whole UNC system look bad.

  23. Wufpacker 06/12/2012 at 12:38 PM #

    Personally, I think Carolina is only making themselves look bad (and getting better at it, btw). It’s the BoG that is making the entire system look bad IMHO.

  24. packof81 06/12/2012 at 12:40 PM #

    The flagship IS the BoG.

  25. PackMan97 06/12/2012 at 12:49 PM #

    @TheAliasTroll, it seems like a lot of folks are focusing on the one class, last year, that was full of football players. I think when an article is talking about a “rogue” class they mean that one.

    There are also 53 other classes which UNC-CHeat discovered to be fraudulent and abberant, of which many basketball players enrolled.

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