TBJ: UNC AD expects investigation will find more academic improprieties

Triangle Business Journal staff writer Jason deBruyn released a story this afternoon with some very interesting statements from UNC AD Bubba Cunningham. The statements are interesting, but for anyone not currently sipping wine and eating cheese in the city limits of Chapel Hill they are hardly surprising.

Go here to read the full piece by deBruyn at bizjournals.com.

Cunningham said he expects the new investigation, announced by Thorp on Aug. 16, to find that irregularities occurred before 2007, and possibly before the late 1990s as well. The error that UNC-CH made when announcing results of the initial investigation, he says, was that it was not more clear that the school suspected these irregularities went back further than 2007.

Cunningham expects that irregularities that occurred before 2007 will be the same type as those found in the previous investigation. “But we have implemented changes going forward,” he says.

The piece ends with this line from Cunningham:

“How far back should the investigation go? 1988? 1978?” he said. “The point is that we’ve made changes going forward.”

For starters, would not a true investigation want to uncover the root of the problem and identify those responsible for the transgressions? To help our readers better compute the statements from UNC, we siphoned some of these terms we keep hearing through our UNC-Cheatspeak-Translator-5000. It produced some interesting results:

“Review” translates to “fake investigation to appease the masses but uncover nothing.”

“Academic improprieties” translates to “cheating to keep athletes eligible so we have an unfair competitive advantage.”

“Irregularity” translates to “fake classes.” (Note: that this should not be confused with “easy classes.”)

“Changes” translates to “shift around the people responsible but continue to pay them so they’ll (continue to) be quiet.”

“But we have implemented changes going forward” translates to “we will do all we can to keep from getting caught again.” (This wouldn’t be so funny except UNC was literally setting up fake classes while the NCAA “investigators” were still enjoying their post-“investigation” burger and beer at Top of the Heel before heading back to Indianapolis.)

“Error that UNC made when announcing results of the initial investigation was that it was not more clear that the school suspected these irregularities went back further than 2007.” translates to

… well…

Our UNC Cheatspeak Translator 5000

Is this what UNC has reduced itself to: The old “Welp. Now that we’re caught lying what we really meant to say was…” defense? Most folks we associate with perfected that in elementary school, outgrew it in middle school, and laughed at it in high school. Yet here we have the administration from the self-proclaimed “public ivy” institution of higher education trying to shove this racket down the throats of wide-mouthed gawkers watching as they somehow amazingly keep throwing fuel on the fire they’re trying so desperately to contain.

If the question is more than a rhetorical one, Mr. Cunningham, you should probably at least carry your investigation back to 1993 when Dr. Nyang’oro was promoted to be the first head of the newly created AFAM department. Within one year, 4 of 5 starters on the National Champion basketball team were proud majors in his curriculum.

A word of warning since you’re asking, though Mr. Cunningham. You best hold your nose and cover your head. In case they have been as honest with you over there as they have the rest of us, you probably need to know that the guy who had your job at the time is quietly sitting in a position of power in Greensboro. You also might want to duck and cover before you open that pandora’s box considering the most sacred legend in UNC athletics lore was not-so-ironically enough simultaneously in charge of your golden goose basketball program instantly filled with AFAM majors.

SFN Addition:
It’s clear The Flagship is desperately trying to regain control of this unraveling scandal. Governor Martin has been hired to lead an investigation, and supposedly the findings will be made public once the investigation — er, review — is complete.

The University has hired former advisor to President Clinton, Doug Sosnik, as consultant to guide them through the PR battle (WRAL):

A former advisor to President Bill Clinton has joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s public relations effort as the university weathers an investigation into academic impropriety in at least one department.

Doug Sosnik began working as a consultant for the university earlier this month, a UNC spokeswoman said Tuesday. The addition comes about 13 months after UNC hired a Raleigh public relations firm to work on academic issues and two years after the NCAA began a probe into rules violations within the university’s football program…

Details on Sosnik’s compensation have not been released. The school has paid nearly $600,000 on academic scandal-related services, but says none of that money came from taxpayers.

Previously, this was reported (WRAL:

Martin and his team plan to review more departments and all athletic programs at UNC-CH. He said that Thorp asked him to complete his work by mid-October and that he plans to get started early next week.

“And non-athletes, if you have a class that gives an easy grade to everybody, I think that needs to be identified as a corruption of the process,” Martin said.

Martin said Thorp told him everything is fair game in the investigation – no restrictions, no limitations. The report of Martin’s findings will be made public once it is complete.

“(We will) go where the evidence takes us,” Martin said.

There’s no dollar figure on the upcoming review. However, the school has paid nearly $600,000 for other scandal-related services. Outside legal bills are estimated at about $467,000 so far. Additionally, for the past 13 months, the school has paid a Raleigh-based communications firm $113,000.

Question 1: Why, after two years of evading, lying and redacting, is UNC still dictating the terms of this investigation? How independent is that? The arrogance, even amidst a failed system, remains astounding.

Question 2: Will we see the results of Martin’s investigation in their entirety? Or, will Thorp & Co. continue the policy of redacting anything incriminating and hiding behind FERPA and forcing the media to file FOIA requests?

Question 3: It seems noble that no taxpayer funding is being used for a PR consultant. But, will the use of private funding provide a neat loophole to prevent FOIA requests if the report is in any part redacted?

UNC Scandal

73 Responses to TBJ: UNC AD expects investigation will find more academic improprieties

  1. hammerpack 08/23/2012 at 4:02 PM #

    Can you hear that sound?


  2. Wufpacker 08/23/2012 at 4:11 PM #

    “The old “Welp. Now that we’re caught lying what we really meant to say was…” defense? Most folks we associate with perfected that in elementary school, outgrew it in middle school, and laughed at it in high school.”

    Agreed, but what else have they got? Arrogance won’t allow the logical path so it does limit their choices.

    Awesome piece, btw.

  3. projectwentynine 08/23/2012 at 4:32 PM #

    The parallels between the current Presidential administration and that of UNC-CH are uncanny.

  4. primacyone 08/23/2012 at 4:35 PM #

    ^Yes, Awesome piece GA.

    I can’t wait to call out Carl Carey and “JP earned those A’s & B’s”…

    I can’t wait to call out David Glenn and “just a privacy issue problem, nothing else to see here”….

    I can’t wait to call out Dicky Badour and “we will go where the evidence takes us” and there is nothing else to see here, we have unocovered it all and provided everything to the NCAA….

    I can’t wait to call for an independent investigation into the NCAA….

  5. tjfoose1 08/23/2012 at 4:51 PM #

    “The parallels between the current Presidential administration and that of UNC-CH are uncanny.”

    Well, at least they haven’t broken out the “It’s George Bush’s fault” defense. And no Chewbacca defense either, not yet.

    They’ll probably just stick to the “every body does it” defense. That seems to be working just fine with the Walmarters.

  6. wufpup76 08/23/2012 at 4:59 PM #
  7. StateFans 08/23/2012 at 5:17 PM #


    That is what they are called?

  8. PackerInRussia 08/23/2012 at 5:23 PM #

    Irregularities? It sounds like it was all pretty regular to me.

  9. tuckerdorm1983 08/23/2012 at 5:34 PM #

    I would sh%t every brick on the brick yard if they pulled down a couple of National Championship Banners from the Dean E. Smith center. That moment at the Dean E. Smith center would be priceless. Dear God I hope it happens.

  10. GAWolf 08/23/2012 at 5:39 PM #

    A friend posed this interesting question: with everyone over there being shifted around from position to position to avoid being fired, does that activity violate NC state employment requirements with respect to all open positions having to be filled through process opening the opportunity to the general public?

  11. MISTA WOLF 08/23/2012 at 5:49 PM #

    Great F’n point GA. I work in a school system and if we want to take another job in any area within our school we have to turn in our resume and go through the interviewing process. It ALWAYS has to be open to the public first.

  12. Dogbreath 08/23/2012 at 5:53 PM #

    Look for the TBJ to enjoy unfettered access to the UNC spin doctors in the months ahead, while the N&O gets nary an utterance from any officials at CHEATER U.

  13. GAWolf 08/23/2012 at 6:01 PM #

    If they had to take down banners (and I’d likely eat one of them if they do), they could get some of their already 900 strong in wasted damage control cash back by selling tickets to Pack fans for the “ceremony.”. I’d personally pay handsomely for the opportunity.

  14. GAWolf 08/23/2012 at 6:04 PM #

    If this was their way of pandering to the TBJ, I’m pretty sure it failed.

  15. Wufpacker 08/23/2012 at 6:16 PM #

    ^^ Commemorative t-shirts and photos would do well.

  16. PackFanInLA 08/23/2012 at 6:46 PM #

    At what point does / can the UNC Board of governors, or a state government office like the attorney general step into this thing and order up some sort of real independent investigation?

    These are taxpayer-funded employees conducting fake classes?? At what point does something like that become a criminal activity? Can state employees be paid for fake classes?

    Can state contractors build fake roads and get paid for it?

  17. old13 08/23/2012 at 6:50 PM #

    Irregularities? Surely Bubba is referring to a bowel issue and not the OTHER stench emminating from Orange County Community College of Coverups and Lies!

    The Governor, NOT the BOG, BOT or, heaven forbid, HT, needs to appoint a TRUELY unrestriucted INDEPENDENT commission, preferably consisting of members entirely from out-of-state with NO U*NC-CHeat connections whatsoever, to get to the ROOT cause and INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE for this attrocity upon N.C., its taxpayers, the concerned ADULT U*NC-CHeat alumni, and member U*NC system schools!

  18. tuckerdorm1983 08/23/2012 at 6:58 PM #

    (be sure to read the last two entries)

    Arkansas 2005 Men’s Outdoor Track
    Arkansas 2004 Men’s Outdoor Track
    Cal Poly 1989 Baseball
    Florida St 2007 Men’s Outdoor Track
    Hawaii 2002 Men’s Volleyball
    Howard (DC) 1971 Men’s Soccer
    Illinois 1927 Men’s Outdoor Track
    Lewis (IL) 2003 Men’s Volleyball
    Lynn (FL) 2005 Softball
    Mississippi College 1989 Football
    Plattsburgh St (NY) 1987 Men’s Hockey
    San Francisco 1978 Men’s Soccer
    St. Augustine’s (NC) 2007 Men Soccer
    Stanford 1925 Men’s Outdoor Track
    Syracuse 1990 Men’s Lacrosse
    The College of NJ 1992 Women’s Lacrosse
    Tulsa 1988 Women’s Golf
    UCLA 1995 Softball
    USC 2004 Football
    USC 1926 Men’s Outdoor Track
    UTEP 1983 Men’s Cross Country
    UNC CHAPEL HILL 2005 Men’s Basketball (pending)
    UNC CHAPEL HILL 2009 Men’s Basketball (pending)

  19. fullmoon1 08/23/2012 at 7:02 PM #

    Where is the NCAA in all of this?

  20. notagain 08/23/2012 at 7:53 PM #

    Funny you should mention that GA…I’m a state employee that recently transferred positions within the office I work for. I had to go through two interviews and then be vetted for the position by our internal hr department as well as the office of state personnel. It was my understanding that anyone changing positions or getting promoted to any new position had to interview and be vetted as well. I wonder if this was the case at OCCC…or have they mysteriously stepped around this???

  21. Wufpacker 08/23/2012 at 7:58 PM #

    “I wonder if this was the case at OCCC”

    Of course it was. And in a few days they’ll have the paperwork in place to prove it.

  22. blpack 08/23/2012 at 8:20 PM #

    The AD had about as close to an admission of guilt as we’re going to hear. We don’t care about the window dressing they say they’ve to fix things. We won’t to clean up this culture of corruption over there. A long way to go. Take down the banners or shut the whole place down. No one has learned anything over there. Not the arrogant administration, not the smug ‘fans’, and certainly not the athletes. *

  23. vtpackfan 08/23/2012 at 8:29 PM #

    There isn’t any chance of a lasting loophole by not using taxpayers money. They are the “Public” Ivy….PUBLIC!! It can only cause more lawsuits brought by the media.

    This calculation brought forth by PR firms for their client UNC is completely backfiring. The bills accrued by the medias lawyers are easily covered by the hits and papers bought just on articles saying “we are suing UNC.”.

  24. ancsu87 08/23/2012 at 8:30 PM #

    “The further back in history, the harder it is to determine facts, Cunningham says. Since he doesn’t expect to find different kinds of academic improprieties, Cunningham thinks the changes implemented this semester will address any problems that the new investigation might find.

    “How far back should the investigation go? 1988? 1978?” he said. “The point is that we’ve made changes going forward.”

    The NCAA never took this approach before but apparently not only will the liars attempt this defense but the NCAA, BOG/BOT and the rest of NC government will accept it. Unreal.

    However it is not be unexpected given the three different UNC-CH alums that I have run into this week on vacation back in my home state. All three looked at my NC State shirt or hat and made a comment on Rodney Purvis. My response back was “Really? Really?? Take your 20+ years of cheating and move along. I don’t know you and I don’t owe you any respect based on where you went to school. BTW tell Bill Friday hello and ask him if the Carolina Way is still at the end of the yellow brick road.”. Unbelievable the nerve of the assholes.

  25. Old MacDonald 08/23/2012 at 8:31 PM #

    I wish I had thought of the “UNC Cheatspeak Translator 5000” line. That is hilarious.

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