North Carolina

How UNC exhibits explain NCAA allegations

The University of North Carolina released on Thursday the exhibits from the amended notice of allegations it recently received from the NCAA.

There are five “Level 1” infractions related to the academic-athletic scandal, two of which are specifically leveled at Dr. Julius Nyang’oro, former professor and chair of the African and Afro-American Studies department, and Deborah Crowder, former student services manager in the African and Afro-American Studies department, for failing to cooperate with the NCAA investigation.

Thursday’s document release did provide specific examples, mostly emails, of the other infractions. Some pertinent samples of the exhibits and the allegations they pertain to:

Allegation 1

Allegation 1 states that Jan Boxill, women’s basketball athletic academic counselor in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and chair of the faculty, knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes between Feb. 2003 and July 2010.

Exhibits:

▪ An excerpt from an email from a student, whose name is redacted, to Boxill:

“… I want to discuss my last history paper, we wrote it together on one of our trips but I got a 50% on it. I’m not sure why because we worked on it together.

“Also, my exam I got a 74% on my exam, that’s wayyyy better than my first exam but I’m a little confused as to why it wasn’t a B?”

▪ An excerpt from an email from a student, whose name is redacted, to Boxill:

“Hey, pal, here’s the paper I sent to prof. Watts for my final paper. … Thanks for letting me use this paper for the final paper for your class too because you know how busy I am here.”

▪ An excerpt from an email from Boxill to another teacher about an athlete’s work in her class:

“(Redacted) has sent you her paper on (redacted) — did you get it? She has one of the reviews done and should be sending that today as well. I am hoping that these are sufficient for perhaps a C+ and we can get the grade changed tomorrow.”

▪ An excerpt from an email from Boxill to a student, whose name is redacted:

“The paper is good. I added a brief conclusion which follows nicely from what you have.”

The same email continues: “You need to print them off and hand deliver them to Debby Crowder. You can also email them as well, just to make sure she knows they are done today.”

▪ An excerpt from an email from Boxill to student, whose name is redacted:

“I’ve attached your paper. I made some grammatical changes and added some quotes if you want to use them.”

Allegations 4 and 5

Allegations No. 4 and 5 are related to the anomalous classes and independent studies in the African and Afro-American Studies (AFRI/AFAM) department and UNC’s failure to monitor the department’s operations and students’, including student-athletes’, enrollment in such courses.

Allegation No. 5 specifically charges the school “failed to exert control when it did not recognize and sufficiently investigate” the classes.

The notice describes UNC’s actions as “inadequate and ineffective, creating the conditions and opportunities that made possible the violations described in Allegation Nos. 1 and 4. As a result of the failure of leadership and the lack of corrective action, problems within the AFRI/AFAM department and athletics were allowed to continue for multiple years.”

Exhibits:

▪ An excerpt from an email exchange between Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education who oversaw the athletes’ tutoring program, and Nyang’oro dated Sept. 6, 2007:

Owen wrote:

“Julius -

We need to talk — and soon about the enormous difficulty in your department with accurately factoring final grades. The proliferation of grade change forms due to clerical or arithmetical error is alarming at best. …

Nyang’oro responded:

“I did not realize that grade change forms from my department were as disproportionate as you suggest. The best I can do is talk to everyone in the department to be more careful in their grade tabulation so that there would not be a need to make these grade changes.”

Owen wrote:

“… We need to talk about why you would support extending the time to complete a course — via tutorial independent study or any other means — beyond the deadline established by the University.”

Nyang’oro responded:

“I’m assuming this is about (redacted). I did not approve the extension, but stated that we would facilitate whatever your office approved. We specifically told him that we did not think that your office would approve an extension anyway. I am wondering what he said to your office.”

Owen wrote:

“I will find time for you whenever are available — you are putting me into an extremely awkward situation by having to reverse decisions made by a department chair — and I don’t want to be there.”

Nyang’oro responded:

“I would not like you to reverse my decisions because I make them after careful thought. Some of these matters which go through the cracks are issues that can be easily resolved, and they usually arise out of minor errors and miscommunication. I will call you soon to schedule a meeting.”/

▪ An excerpt from an email from Cynthia Reynolds, associate director of academic support, to Corey Holliday, an associate athletic director who primarily worked with the football team, from May 10, 2005:

“There is one major issue that is the surprise (so far, anyway). (Redacted) failed Dram (redacted). That puts him at 6 hours passed and he needs 9 hours passed. I called him this morning and told him to email his Teacher and see why he failed. …

“… Some of The guys just are not taking these classes seriously enough to even get Cs. This will become more of any issue since the AFA dept is drastically cutting down on the numbers in ‘paper classes.’ That means these ‘easier’ classes like dram 60 (stagecraft) and Dram 35 (acting) and a few others must be passed and taken seriously or we will continue to be on the eligibility line with these high risk guys.”

▪ An excerpt from an email from Amy Herman, associate athletic director for compliance, to Brent Blanton, associate director of the athletes’ academic support program, on May 23, 2008:

“Brent,

Have you gotten (redacted) into a 2nd session class? If so, it an online class? Don’t think so — probably one of your infamous ‘paper courses.’ 

▪ An excerpt from an email Wayne Walden, academic counselor to men’s basketball program, to Crowder, with no date indicated:

“I am wondering if it is still possible for a student to add a class for this semester. We have a student with some diagnosed learning disabilities and we are trying to help him with his reading and writing skills while also tutoring him in his current courses.

“I sense that he is getting a little overwhelmed and wondered if there might be a course that you would recommend that he might still be able to add in order that he might drop one of his current courses.”

An excerpt from Crowder’s response from Sept. 20, 2005:

“Ms. Janet had talked to me at length (twice) this weekend about the student in question and I had told her no. We are getting pressure from on-high to reduce the numbers of independent study type courses in the dept. and it is hard to justify giving one to (redacted).”

▪ An excerpt from an email from Crowder, dated July, 1, 2009, to all AFAM faculty:

“Hi to all. We have started on the spring 2010 schedule and it would be helpful if you would all send an email stating your teaching requests for spring 2010. Please do so no later than July 6. I do not plan to continue to add fictitious courses on MWF to make our percentages comply with the university’s regulations.”

▪ An excerpt from a PowerPoint presentation by Beth Bridger, associate director of the academic support program, to a group of football coaches in 2009. Bridger emailed the presentation to John Blanchard, senior associate athletics director who supervised the tutoring program, and Robert Mercer, director of the academic support program for student-athletes, and is dated Nov. 9, 2009:

Slide title: “Where do ‘at-risk’ students struggle?”

* In the classroom

- Attendance

- Taking notes

- Staying awake

- Paying attention

- Phones/computers

- Meeting with Professors

- Understanding the material

- Doing assignments

Slide title: “What was part of the solution in the past?”

* We put them in classes that met degree requirements in which

- They didn’t go to class

- They didn’t take notes, have to stay awake

- They didn’t have to meet with professors

- They didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material

* AFAM/AFRI SEMINAR COURSES

- 20-25 page pagers on course topic

- THESE NO LONGER EXIST!

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