UNC Accused of Academic Fraud

Allie Rooney '16 Sports Editor

What may turn out to be the largest case of academic fraud in college sports history is unfolding at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A recent investigation brought to light some very upsetting news for those associated with the university and those who have no affiliation with the school. It was discovered that 3,100 student athletes took fake classes during their four years spent at the school. The athletes’ guidance counselors encouraged them to take these classes in order for them to be eligible academically to continue participating in their sport. For these “paper classes,” students were not required to attend class; they simply wrote a paper for the class that was then graded by non-faculty personnel.

The investigation uncovered that this was happening in the African and Afro-American studies departments. Since the findings have been made public, four faculty members have been fired while five others have been “disciplined.”

Many agree that the UNC men’s basketball team is the predominant sports team of the university. During the 2005 basketball season in which the team made a run to the NCAA championship, its players accounted for 35 enrollments in “paper classes.” Because the players would not have been deemed academically eligible to participate during their season, this season, as well as three NCAA championships, are in jeopardy.

When the findings of this investigation were made public, many players came forward and finally break the silence of what they went through academically during their college experience. On Nov. 1, a former UNC football player became the first to sue the university. Mike McAdoo is taking the university to federal court, accusing the school of breaking its promise to give him an education in return for him playing football.

McAdoo reportedly told CNN that he was recruited by many different colleges but ultimately chose UNC for a number of reasons, one being the superb education he was promised. Upon entering college, he was interested in studying criminal justice, but was told on the first day of scheduling his classes that he had to pick from three majors that fit into his football schedule. His choices were exercise and sport science, communications and African-American studies.

McAdoo claims that he lost an education and lost trust for the school in the process. While the UNC football players, on average, put in 50 to 60 hours per week, there seems to be little to no regard for their academic standing.

UNC’s student body President Andrew Powell sent an e-mail to the students and faculty stating that “9,000 illegitimate credit hours out of over 9,000,000 total hours do not define our student body or our University.”

There are ongoing investigations into the matter, but both parties are hopeful that something can be done to address this issue and to give athletes both an education and a memorable athletic experience.