Ten Questions Regarding The U.N.C. Fake Courses Scandal

fake classes

Have you read about this astounding scandal at the University of North Carolina?

From the Times story:

Wednesday’s report, prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former general counsel at the F.B.I. and now a partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, found that between 1993 and 2011, two employees in the university’s African and Afro-American studies department presided over what was essentially a “shadow curriculum” designed to help struggling students — many of them Tar Heels athletes — stay afloat…More than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, were enrolled in and received credit for the phantom classes, most of which were created and graded solely by a single employee, Deborah Crowder. Ms. Crowder was a nonacademic who worked as the African studies department’s administrator and who told Mr. Wainstein that she had been motivated by a desire to help struggling athletes.Some of the classes took the form of independent study courses in which the students never met the professor; others took the form of lecture courses in which the classes were supposed to meet at specific times and places but never did. Over time, Ms. Crowder was joined in the scheme by the chairman of the department, Julius Nyang’oro, who became the professor of record for many of the fake classes. Mr. Nyang’oro retired in 2012, after news of the scheme came to light.

From CBS:

The report said that football academic counselors were “painfully aware” that Crowder’s retirement in 2009 “would require the whole football program to adjust to a new reality of having to meet academic requirements with real academic work.” There was even a PowerPoint presentation in November 2009 by two academic counselors to explain to North Carolina’s football staff that Crowder’s retirement meant no more paper classes. One slide read:

“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


— 20-25 page papers on course topics


Most, if not all, of North Carolina’s coaching staff was present at the meeting, including then-coach Butch Davis. The academic counselor later sent the PowerPoint to Robert Mercer, the director of North Carolina’s academic support unit for athletes, and senior associate athletic director John Blanchard, according to the report.

And from CNN, we learn that no action is likely to be taken against the 3,100 students whose degrees are fraudulent.


A few questions, since I am too stunned to offer answers…

1. How could this happen?

2. How hopelessly corrupt must the culture at U.N.C. be that no one blew a whistle on this conspiracy for 18 years?

3. Why is anyone believing the university’s leadership’s claims that they were unaware of this?

4. If people are believing this unbelievable denial of complicity, why haven’t all of the university’s administration offices been emptied and all the former occupants of them been sent to Incompetents Anonymous?

5. Why would anyone pay a cent of tuition to an institution capable of this?

6. What are the chances that U.N.C. is the only university engaged in this kind of deception? (Hint: think snow balls in Hell…)

7. Just how corrupt is big time college football and basketball in the U.S.?

8. What good is the NCAA if something like this could happen?

9. Same question, but substitute “Department of Education” for “NCAA”…

10. How widespread is corruption in higher education, how long has it been this way, and will the government take sufficient steps to address it?


Sources:CNN, NY Times, CBS

14 thoughts on “Ten Questions Regarding The U.N.C. Fake Courses Scandal

  1. “10. How widespread is corruption in higher education, how long has it been this way, and will the government take sufficient steps to address it?”

    Widespread, I’m afraid, as evidenced by numerous cases of bonkers policies on students hooking up… about tenured professors who’ve been caught in blatantly dishonest “research” (think Michael Mann at Penn State, who got caught in Climategate and who still holds both his job and secures plenty of grant money). Think Ward Churchill who only got shitcanned after he proved to be too much of an embarrassment for even his leftie faculty brethren. Think how much political indoctrination goes on. Think about all the students who rack up crushing student debt pursuing economically useless degrees. And so on.

    Government take sufficient steps to address it..? Hell, Jack, I see no reason not to believe that government is complicit in all of this nonsense.

  2. Why should they change anything? They pay the campuses, and loan money to the students to pay the campuses (and accumulate massive debt), and in return they get impressionable young minds away from parents, away from accountability, away from responsibility, and brainwash them to be the next wave of ‘progressives’ fighting to be the one on top of the rancid pile. And in return, the students get no education, a worthless piece of paper, crippling debt, and lose 5-7 potentially productive years. It’s not going to be pretty when that bubble pops – but I know there’s no way my kids are going to college.

    • Bingo.

      However, after the bubble bursts – that’d be the best time to send your kids to college. Assuming of course when the bubble bursts we let the market clean up the rancid cesspool that is Big Education (aka Leftist Religious Seminary)

  3. OK, here is the deal. This happens everywhere, everyone knows it happens, but that is the effect of sports on academia.

    The UNC scandal is far worse than this report. These offenses came to light when a professor noticed that after he submitted his semester grades, someone inserted an athlete into his class (who hadn’t been enrolled) and gave them a good grade. The computer logs led to the AFAM department. Note that none of this has been mentioned. The academic rot caused by athletics goes far, wide, and deep. For example, it was widely rumored that the geography department had a policy of requiring faculty to provide exams with answers to the athletic tutors at least a week in advance of the test to help the athletes ‘study’ and that was the reason so many star basketball players were geography majors. Maybe it was true, maybe not, but no one thought that it was implausible or that it wouldn’t be considered acceptable.

    It would have been impossible for an administrator to take action against these offenses. Not only would that person face the athletic machine, they would also face the African-American Studies program that would undoubtably send their students to protest and decry the administration as ‘racist’, much to the adulation of the press. You don’t need to look any farther than the protests and racial blackmail associated with the Black Cultural Center to see that. If you doubt this, pleas note that the chancellor was forced to resign over this scandal, but the basketball coach still has his job.

    But this is small potatoes. UNC got caught because this was amateurish and sloppy. No one could defend this and everyone knew about it. Once it came out in a big way, they couldn’t explain it away. If you want to see how a college really handles this, read the linked set of stories below. The system used to academically cheat the system is so complicated that no one has challenged them on it despite the fact that it has been laid out on the internet for YEARS. If you make the scheme complicated enough and you shamelessly insist that your scheme of academic film-flam is a GOOD thing, journalists and the NCAA won’t figure it out. Imagine if UNC had proudly trumpeted these courses as a way to help struggling students stay in school? They probably would be praised for it as innovators in high-risk student retention.


    • “that was the reason so many star basketball players were geography majors”

      I thought it was because it was easily relatable to the sport?

      “Earth shaped like this…very good!”

      “Earth spin like this…very good!!!”

      “No, no, earth not bounce like that…”

  4. If only about 48% of students receiving the benefit of these “special” classes were athletes, I wonder what “motivation” or criteria governed the selection of the other favored 52%?

    • Based on the fact that the conspirators were minorities themselves and the Black Studies department was involved, I’m assuming “non-white” was the key ingredient for the ones that were not jocks.

  5. Of course when I understood how much of my smaller school’s budget went to sports instead of facilities, programs, scholarships for the ones who are capable I got thoroughly disgusted. Broadcast money, minorities, boosting the egos of alumni corrupted it long ago, and the rot will continue as long as college athletics remains the minor leagues for pro sports.

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