A report was recently released with findings of an investigation on academic fraud at the University of North Carolina. The report states that an office administrator, Deborah Crowder, established fake classes where students weren’t expected to do anything except submit a paper. The classes became known as “paper classes.” The investigative report revealed that “when Crowder graded the papers, she did so generously – typically with A’s or high B’s – and largely without regard to the quality of the papers.” A majority of the students enrolled in the “class” were student athletes (mainly football and basketball players) who needed a good grade to remain eligible to compete in their respective sport. Just like the frauds we have seen in cycling, competitive sports seems to have yet again created the perfect environment for fraud to occur, and it wasn’t just one person who knew about it.
|Slide from presentation given to football coaches|
It is evident that the football program knew about the fake classes and even encouraged them. After Crowder retired and the average GPA for football players began to drop, the athletics department urged Julius Nyang’oro (department chair at the time) to pick up the paper classes again. Nyang’oro added six additional paper classes. When grading papers, Nyang’oro looked up the student athletes’ GPAs, received tips from academic counselors for leniency with certain students, and made sure that “any grade he assigned would not lead to academic ineligibility for any students or student-athletes.”
|An email from Jan Boxill to Deborah Crowder regarding a students grade.|
It is a tragedy how many people knew about this fraud and did nothing. While college sports are important and enjoyable to participate in, this is definitely an example where the drive to have the best teams in America led to some serious compromises in ethics.
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