We once showed up for a lecture hall study session for an economics class of about 200 people at the University of Illinois, sitting next to a friend of ours who was much better about attending class than we were. As people filed in, an older man sat next to us and asked, "Hey, is this the Econ 103 cram session?" We nodded yes, and he thanked us, then stood up and walked to the front of the room and began the lecture. He was the professor, and we didn't recognize him, because we had never once been to class. And you know what? We got a B in that class, thank you very much.
We were reminded of that story when we read The New York Times this morning, which has a detailed description of serious academic malfeasance at Auburn University.
One of the university's prominent football players was being honored as a scholar athlete for his work as a sociology major. Professor Gundlach, the director of the Auburn sociology department, had never had the player in class. He asked the two other full-time sociology professors about the player, and they could not recall having had him either.
It all goes downhill from there. Our favorite quote is from Carlos Rogers, currently with the Washington Redskins, about the allegedly offending professor: "He's the kind of teacher that, you know, he wants to help you out, not just pile a lot of stuff on you." Dude, we totally love those.
For Some Athletes, Courses With No Classes [New York Times]