UNC Chancellor Gets Probed in NCAA Crisis

Wainstein-Ken-UNCThis better be a book people at the University of North Carolina should read

Although whistleblowing isn’t an actual class on campus, former standout shooting guard Rashad McCants seems to be an ace student at doing it because he has tried not once — but twice — to throw his entire alma mater of University of North Carolina under the NCAA bus.

Earlier this summer, McCants decided to blow that whistle about tutors writing his homework and only going to class “half of the time” at UNC. Although his claims raised a small cloud of dust at UNC, the story didn’t gain that much momentum. Last week, McCants blew the whistle again.

And did those Pavlovian dogs in the media ever drool this time.

The word is out (thanks to the aforementioned McCants) that academic fraud at UNC has reached the level of scandal spanning two decades.

The latest investigation found that university leaders, faculty members and staff missed or just ignored flags that could have stopped the problem years earlier. More than 3,100 students — about half of them athletes — benefited from sham classes and artificially high grades in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department (AFAM) in Chapel Hill.

The comprehensive probe into this AFAM ballyhoo is being led by Kenneth Wainstein (pictured above, credit: Gerry Broome, AP), who is a former U.S. Department of Justice official and chair of the white-collar defense and investigations practice at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

In other words: Dude has skills.

According to the 131-page full report, “Over 3,100 students received one or more semesters of deficient instruction and were awarded high grades that often had little relationship to the quality of their work.”

carol foltThese “paper classes”— fake classes managed by a nonfaculty administrator, Deborah Crowder — in the AFAM department, is being called out in the report, along with UNC Chancellor Carol Folt.

The report further detailed Crowder’s role in the scandal, which helped elevate grades for student athletes in order for them to meet their eligibility requirements. “Crowder provided the students with no actual instruction, but she managed the whole course from beginning to end,” the report said, adding, “When Crowder graded the papers, she did so generously —typically with As or high Bs —and largely without regard to the quality of the papers. The result was that thousands of Chapel Hill students received high grades, a large number of whom did not earn those high grades with high-quality work.”

Folt said at a presser that she was “deeply disappointed” and that her “greatest hope is that we can restore your trust and ensure that you do not feel diminished by the bad actions of others.” That trust may require a pink slip with her name on it. As for the college, who knows if it will ever overcome this crisis.

Two decades in the name of football is not a good look in the court of public opinion. Ask yourself: Would you send your child to the college knowing this? The lower those enrollment numbers go, as will Folt’s chances of restoring that trust personally.