Peppers statement: “There is no academic fraud”

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Former UNC power forward/defensive end Julius Peppers released a statement today, addressing the recent unauthorized release of his student transcript. He was unequivocal in his denial.

“This statement is in response to false allegations regarding my connection to an academic scandal within the University of North Carolina athletic and African-American Studies departments. This week has been an upsetting and challenging week for me, as one of my most private academic documents appeared on the university’s website for public examination. I’m terribly disappointed in the fact that my privacy has been violated, as well as frustrated with whoever negligently and carelessly committed such a flagrant error.”

I like how he broke out words like ‘negligently’ and ‘flagrant’. Well played.

“However, it has caused me to have an important moment of reflection over the time that I was a student in Chapel Hill. During my undergraduate years, I, like many other students was trying to find direction and adjust to being independent for the first time as a young adult. With this new freedom and unfamiliar environment, I will admit that, at times some of my priorities were not always aligned properly. Luckily, I had a great support system, including Dr. Carl Carey and the athletic academic department, who gave me much needed counsel.

I can assure everyone that there is no academic fraud as it relates to my college transcript. I took every course with qualified members of the UNC faculty and I earned every grade whether it was good or bad. I was never given unapproved assistance or preferential treatment in terms of my academic career because I was a student-athlete. I was also never deemed ineligible to compete on any of the football or basketball teams.

In hindsight, I am pleased with my undergraduate experience. UNC gave me the exposure and foundation I needed to follow my dream, which ultimately led to my chosen career path. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be for? Going forward, a decade later, I can honestly say that I now understand the importance of supporting students early in their college career. Presently, I’m thinking of ways that I can use my experiences and resources to help assist them. Thanks and Go Heels.”

Not bad. I like how he owns up to being a bit unfocused as an undergrad. We could all probably cop to that one. I’m always torn when this kind of thing comes up. Fraud is fraud. But there’s no way to become a professional football player without going to college, whether you’re academically inclined or not. If any fraud did occur, it’s academic advisors, coaches, professors and the NCAA who should be ashamed, far more than should Julius Peppers.