The University of North Carolina gave more than 3,000 students credit for fake classes over a span of 18 years, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Wednesday. The class offerings were part of a program allowing many students to maintain their sports eligibility ranking. Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor, led the investigation which turned out to be the most recent of several attempts to tackle allegations asserting academic fraud regarding athletes on campus.
Wainstein spoke at a news conference following the publication of the report. He said that this is a very complex organization that needed oversight at every step of the way. He went on to state that such oversight did not exist – and it is “pretty shocking” that it did not exist. The report on the serious academic matter reveals that the irregular classes at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill were held from 1993 to 2011. Quite incredibly, those classes had no attendance or faculty involvement.
Somehow, the report does not incriminate any athletic administrators or coaches in the academic scheme. What is known, however, is that the scheme was played out by two academic advisers who were involved with the African and Afro-American Studies departments at the University, according to Business Week. Students who were also athletes made up approximately half of the irregular classes’ rosters. Many of these students who were enrolled in these fake classes were directed to the classes by counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. Shockingly, some of the counselors actually gave rosters of athletes and the grades that those athletes needed to maintain their sports eligibility.
There were reportedly “red flags” about what was going on through the years, but people did not speak up. Carol Folt, the University’s Chancellor, said that the bad actions of a few people and the inaction of other persons failed the University’s students, faculty and alumni – and the institution as a whole. She said that this conduct could and should have been stopped much earlier than it was by individuals in positions of influence and oversight. The results, of course, is that many athletes were allowed to play sports when they otherwise would have been ineligible – and, of a greater concern, there are persons who received college degrees who took phony classes to get those degrees. Obviously, these students who wrongfully benefited from the fake classes must have never spoken up either.