academic fraud

AP Photo

North Carolina announces receipt of Notice of Allegations from NCAA


Two days after North Carolina head coach Roy Williams lamented the fact that the school had yet to receive a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding an academic fraud scandal and its impact on recruiting, the school announced on Friday that it has received the notice.

No details as to what the allegations are were provided in the release, with the school stating that it is still reviewing the Notice of Allegations and will make the release publicly available “as soon as possible.”

“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA’s 90-day deadline,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a joint statement released by North Carolina. “The University will publicly release the NCAA’s notice as soon as possible. The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law.

“When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA’s allegations, we will follow this same release process.

“Consistent with NCAA protocols, the University cannot comment on details of the investigation until it is completed.”

The receipt of the Notice of Allegations is an important step forward in the investigation for both the NCAA and North Carolina. As mentioned in the statement released by North Carolina, the school now has 90 days to respond to the allegations in the report.

An issue for North Carolina on the recruiting trail has been the lack of concrete allegations, which has negatively impacted their efforts with high-level recruits. While Friday’s announcement means that UNC is one step closer to having clarity on the situation, it doesn’t mean that they’re free from the investigation having a negative effect on recruiting.

The only way to do that is to have this investigation completed without any major sanctions being levied by the NCAA, and it’s impossible to predict how this will all turn out for North Carolina.

Two former North Carolina athletes sue school, NCAA over academic scandal

Image (1) university-of-north-carolina-logo-thumb-220x177-1144.jpg for post 315

While the academic scandal involving the University of North Carolina athletic department has drifted into the background in recent months, there has yet to be any action taken by the NCAA (and who knows if the governing body will deem it necessary to take action). Thursday afternoon it was reported by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today that two former UNC student-athletes, football player Devon Ramsay and women’s basketball player Rashonda McCants have filed a lawsuit against the university and the NCAA.

The lawyers in the case, who are also representing the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, would like to see the case given class action status. Among the allegations made in the lawsuit are that North Carolina failed to provide “academically sound classes with legitimate educational instruction,” and that the NCAA was negligent in its work to prohibit academic fraud from occurring.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and asks for “the formation of an independent commission to review, audit, assess, and report on academic integrity in NCAA-member athletic programs and certify member-school curricula as providing comparable educations and educational opportunities to athletes and non-athletes alike.”

Yesterday it was reported by The Chronicle for Higher Education that the NCAA is currently investigating allegations of academic fraud at 20 schools with 18 of those being Division I members.

McCants is the sister of former North Carolina men’s basketball player Rashad McCants, who last June claimed that while at the school he was steered into phony courses in order to remain eligible. An investigation revealed multiple phony courses within the school’s African and African-American Studies department.

North Carolina will pay PR firm $1.65 million for help with academic fraud scandal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

North Carolina is in the midst of academic fraud scandal involving bogus, paper-classes, that according to an independent investigation involved 3,100 student-athletes during an 18-year span.

To help manage the fallout, the university hired Edelman, a public relations firm, several months ago. And it has been a costly hire, according to a report on Thursday from the News & Observer, as the university is set to pay the firm $1.65 million.

From Dan Kane of the News & Observer:

A copy of the contract provided under a public records request shows Edelman will receive more than $1.65 million for public relations services over the period of a year, ending April 30, 2015. The contract is not specific as to what kinds of services the firm will provide, but UNC officials confirmed last month that at least 14 employees from the firm worked on the public release of former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein’s report on the scandal.

Wainstein released his findings from his investigation on Oct. 22. The report stated that student-athletes, many of them football and basketball players, were steered into classes that required no attendance, only a paper at the end of the semester.

This scandal remerged over the summer when Rashad McCants, a member of the North Carolina team that won the 2005 national championship, told Outside the Lines in June that he took four African and African-American Studies courses, a department that was revealed to have many of these paper classes, in the second semester of his junior year in order to remain academically eligible.

A UNC spokersperson told Kane that the public relation will not be covered by state funds or tuition dollars.

Rashad McCants’s picture removed from North Carolina’s media room

AP Photo
Leave a comment

This six-second clip, courtesy of Stephen Schramm of the Fayetteville Observer, shows pictures of some of North Carolina’s memorable players from the Tar Heels’ 2005 and 2009 national championship teams such as Marvin Williams, Jackie Manuel, Danny Green and Bobby Frasor. The one picture that no longer hangs on the wall: Rashad McCants.

McCants was the team’s second leading scorer during the 2004-2005 title-winning season. He declared for the NBA Draft following the season, playing four seasons. In June, he claimed he was steered into bogus, “paper classes” in order to remain eligible during that season.

MORE: McCants speaks out on UNC scandal | Wainstein’s report | Williams ‘dumbfounded’

Earlier this week, a 136-page report from Kenneth Wainstein, a former member of the U.S. Justice Department, revealed academic fraud within the university spanning from 1993-2011. Roughly 3,100 students, 47 percent of whom were student-athletes, took part in those “paper classes”.

McCants appeared on Outside the Lines several times during the summer, as well as several appearances on SiriusXM Radio. However, the former Tar Heel turned whistleblower has gone from outspoken to completely silent for close to four months after he claimed he was going to receive a combined $310 million from the University of North Carolina and the NCAA.

[h/t Sporting News]

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham comments on Rashad McCants situation

Getty Images
1 Comment

In June, former North Carolina guard Rashad McCants, a member of the team that won the 2005 national championship, went public with allegations that he took “paper classes” in order to remain eligible.

In the fall semester of 2004, McCants had failed two classes. The next semester he took four African and Afro-American Studies classes. Those classes required no attendance, only a paper at the end of the term. That spring, McCants made the Dean’s list.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams denied the accusations. Many former Tar Heels have criticized the validity of McCants’ claims.

A month after ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired the interview, McCants said he had yet to hear from the university or the NCAA. A few days later, in a separate radio interview, he claimed he was going to receive $310 million from UNC and the NCAA.

MORERoy Williams responds to McCants | McCants: No relationship with Roy Williams

Those comments didn’t help McCants’ credibility, and he’s remained quiet since that radio interview. However, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham had an interview with Andrew Carter of the News & Observer to discuss a variety of topics, including this ordeal with the former Tar Heel guard.

It was published on Friday. Here’s a portion:

AC: Rashad McCants over the summer was critical of his experience at UNC. The athletic department has tried to contact him. Have you been successful yet in reaching him?

BC: No.

AC: What’s your confidence level in the other side of McCants’ story?

BC: Well, I think we’ve provided a great experience to many, many students. And I’ve talked to a lot of the other players – I’ve talked to student-athletes in every sport that we have about their experience while they’re here – and I haven’t heard any give me the same story that I watched on television and read in the paper. They’re all very proud of their experience.

On June 30, the NCAA informed Cunningham that it would reopen the academic fraud investigation from 2012, in light of new allegations. Cunningham says investigators have been on campus conducting interviews since making the announcement.

This was part of a two part Q-&-A with the third-year athletic director: Part 1 | Part 2

North Carolina asks court to move Mary Willingham lawsuit to federal court

Image (1) university-of-north-carolina-logo-thumb-220x177-1144.jpg for post 315
Leave a comment

In early July former academic advisor Mary Willingham filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina, alleging that her concerns regarding the education of student-athletes were not addressed and that she’d been demoted and reassigned after bringing up those issues. With this and the Rashad McCants situation to address, the school also has to deal with the NCAA deciding to reopen its investigation into allegations of academic fraud.

With regards to the Willingham suit North Carolina has gone with the strategy of requesting that the case be moved to federal court according to WNCN News. The school would like to see Willingham’s suit moved from district court in Wake County to a US District Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“The University moved Ms. Willingham’s lawsuit to federal court on Wednesday because the case raises issues of federal law,” said Joel Curran, vice chancellor for communications and public affairs at UNC. “She originally filed her claims in Wake County. We continue to believe the facts will demonstrate that Ms. Willingham was treated fairly and appropriately while she was employed at Carolina.”

Willingham, who is seeking damages from the school, also stated that the research she’d done that revealed that some 60 percent of student-athletes at UNC read at no better than an eighth grade level, was incorrectly explained at a faculty meeting by UNC Provost James Dean. Dean also stated that Willingham’s research was “a travesty” according to WNCN.