Kane: Academic support director for UNC athletes quietly moved out of job

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.

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

UNC Scandal

43 Responses to Kane: Academic support director for UNC athletes quietly moved out of job

  1. UpstateSCWolfpack 08/22/2012 at 6:45 AM #

    A unx basketball fan/clempson football fan, tried to say something to me about Purvis, unknowingly walking into a storm from me about the cheating at unx. I told him he might want to do some N&O reading to learn what is going on. According to him it is all propaganda, and that if it is happening at unx then it happens everywhere. Implying they should get a pass.

  2. UpstateSCWolfpack 08/22/2012 at 6:49 AM #

    By the way, I have no respect for “fans” of one team in basketball and one in football. And, isn’t that about 75% of holes.

  3. JohnGalt78 08/22/2012 at 7:57 AM #


    Read this “point of view” ad in today’s N & O:


    ….and you’ll likely barf too. Three words…. WAG THE DOG!

    Everything I’m seeing and hearing coming out of C Hell whether that be from a BOG member, David Glenn, or, in this case, Twerp, is all about New this and New that and how much better we are now for all this hooey……”come see all that we have done to make ourselves better…..we are REALLY awesome Now! And, the way we have handled ourselves through this, well, it’s just extraordinary. Truly, we can be an example for all universities who are accused of wrongdoing…or in our case, simply making a boo boo by posting a transcript. I’m so proud of myself and everyone who is proud of me as well.


  4. ADVENTUROO 08/22/2012 at 7:58 AM #


    That about sums it up. UNC is seeing a New Director of Jock Straps (Athletic Support). They want one with national prominence….so, since they justify what happened as saying it goes on all over and the SEC is supposedly the “BEST” at doing it, I assume that they will be seeking a new director from the SEC.

    You gotta love them….they remind me of the blind supporters of a certain political party and a certain (current residing at 1600 PA Avenue) individual. They follow the daily talking points and also ingest their ration of the magic potient which slows down all brain and logic functions.

    This is the best drama since the daily soaps went off the air…

  5. JohnGalt78 08/22/2012 at 8:00 AM #

    Adventuroo, we agree on some many fronts!

  6. coach13 08/22/2012 at 8:07 AM #

    When something bad happens and they “transfer” the guy in charge of oversite, it is safe to assume he has some s4it on othe people that wouldn’t allow him to be fired.

  7. Master 08/22/2012 at 8:33 AM #

    USCWP – my response to fans who tell me if UNC is doing it, it has to be happening everywhere is that they just lost 100% credibility.

    What we DO know is SOME of what Carolina has done and it is very bad and continues to get worse. For them to say that everyone else is guilty is not only speculation at best, it results from pure arrogance.

    Pride is the most common cause of downfall, death and destruction. It blinds you of your faults and diminishes others in your eyes.

  8. ancsu87 08/22/2012 at 8:36 AM #

    That was a really nice and well-written article by Holden. I wonder who wrote it for him? Unfortunately he forgot to include the fact that they had to be dragged every step of the way by others to even implement those little “improvements” he writes about. If not for others that could have continued on the 30+ year “carolina way” of cheating.

  9. state73 08/22/2012 at 9:27 AM #

    What a joke. Every time one of the so called leaders of unc-cheat open their mouth their credibility goes down. The new carolina way is the very same as the old carolina way. CHEAT AND DENY!!

  10. imawolf 08/22/2012 at 9:35 AM #

    There most likely is a real crime here, all the covering up and dismissing people with salaries still being paid and transfers with same salary…. how much has this cost the tax payers……. for crying out loud no one gets fired…they get paid to move along…

  11. packof81 08/22/2012 at 9:43 AM #

    They just moved Mercer out of the way so they can install a professional spin doctor. This became a PR issue and Mercer probably isn’t skilled in such areas. It will also create a smoke screen if anyone asks questions about athletes being steered toward phony courses. The spin doctor can rightfully say he doesn’t know anything.

    As for Peppers statement that he didn’t take part in the academic fraud, I wonder how he managed to get a diploma from UNC with those grades.

  12. tjfoose1 08/22/2012 at 9:44 AM #

    ADVENTUROO, the analogy of u*nc and the what the democratic party has become works on so many levels. I’ve noticed that myself for some time now.

    If JFK were coming up today, the the leaders of the democratic party and their cohorts in the media would label him a right wing extremist practicing the politics of hate and greed. Mitt Romney is LEFT of JFK. Think about that.

  13. highstick 08/22/2012 at 9:48 AM #

    Peppers does not have a degree that I’m aware of..

  14. SqlWolf 08/22/2012 at 9:48 AM #

    ^^packof81, Peppers never received a degree from UN*Carolina.

    I agree with others here that there seems to be a method to the activities on the hill with shuffling the actors so that the whole stinking pile can be swept under the rug. Is it Friday yet?

  15. packalum44 08/22/2012 at 9:56 AM #

    “it is safe to assume he has some s4it on othe people that wouldn’t allow him to be fired.”

    Most assuredly he does.

    But don’t forget the other strategy here. To fire someone means they did something wrong. U*NC wants to give the impression that this was the work of rouges. You start firing lots of people, that story goes by the wayside.

  16. tuckerdorm1983 08/22/2012 at 9:57 AM #

    We all need to think about one word to really understand this mess. This word is actually not really a word but pretty sums up the administration’s response from everything that has to do with the scandal at UNC from free champagne for Marvin Austin to John Blake hooking up with agents to no-show classes for many many athletes.

    That word is “Nixionian”.

    Holden Thorpe should look at this speech and take notes for his resignation

  17. bluelena69 08/22/2012 at 10:15 AM #

    So now we can add Academic Support Director to the list of rogues with tire tracks down their backs?

  18. triadwolf 08/22/2012 at 10:30 AM #

    They are quite the spin machine over there on the hill.

    The dam is crumbling from within and the leaks are now appearing faster than they can plug them up. It’s hard to beat on your chest after plugging up a hole to save the town, when three more are popping up around you. The whole thing is about to collapse and it’s getting to the point where they can’t do a thing to stop it.

  19. slowcredit 08/22/2012 at 11:01 AM #

    Read this on another board, so not original, but spot-on accurate.

    To every single person who says – everyone is doing it – offer the following analogy. . .

    Your 14 year old son comes home drunk after drinking at a friends house. He tells you ‘everyone is doing it’.

    Do you agree and decide to start a national dialogue about under-age drinking, debate the pros and cons, and though you ground your son, continually point out to anyone who will listen that it’s not your son’s fault – it’s the system.

    I’ll not go into the details of the punishment that SHOULD be dealt out to both the child AND THOSE WHO AIDED AND ABETTED his transgression. Suffice to say that most Wolfpack kids I know would get taught a lesson that would leave them unlikely to repeat the behavior – while Johnny CaroWina would likely be back at it within a week or two. . .

  20. PackMan97 08/22/2012 at 11:34 AM #

    At what point do they start taking a look at eligibility and saying that they’ve played kids that were in these fake courses and if we remove those grades they were ineligible and as a result we must vacate some wins. Isn’t that where this is headed? I’m surprised they just don’t rip off the bandaid and get it over with.

  21. triadwolf 08/22/2012 at 11:36 AM #

    ^ Because you’re talking about giving up 2 National Championships, multiple final 4 appearances and ACC championships for basketball. There’s no way that happens without them kicking and screaming to the bitter end. That is why this thing may get truly ugly if it continues to get legs in the National media.

  22. MrPlywood 08/22/2012 at 12:39 PM #

    re: Thorpe’s creative writing essay – I don’t have much time this morning so I stopped reading at “The two people implicated in our investigation…”


  23. UpstateSCWolfpack 08/22/2012 at 12:54 PM #

    Watching Hard Time on NatGeo, convict said it was mine, but I ain’t going to admit to anything. Same with unx, not going to admit to anything.

  24. ancsu87 08/22/2012 at 1:07 PM #

    UpstateSCWolfpack here is a link the yesterday’s Wilmington Star News editorial that supports your UNCBB/Clemson FB fan’s arugement:


    Great quotes like these:
    “But let’s not kid ourselves that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only school in which athletes are allowed to skate by, skirt the rules and leave college no more educated than they were the day they arrived.”

    “An investigation of other schools would likely find the same things.”

    This was one of the newspaper (my hometown worthless newspaper) that called for Valvano’s head and made it clear that the issues at NC State were only at NC State. It is amazaing how over 20+ years later it is a different tune when the “machine (oh sorry I meant Carolina Way)” is facing an investigation.

    I highly doubt that an investigation at other schools across the country would find anything close to the corruption and arrongance that exists at UNC-CH.

  25. ancsu87 08/22/2012 at 1:10 PM #

    This is the type of letters to the editors across the state and to our elected officals we need to write:


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