After two weeks of review, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has released the NCAA’s notification of allegations, and like the other reports and investigations that have come out in the past five years concerning UNC’s academic scandals, this one isn’t pretty.
The University received the NOA May 22 and has spent that time reviewing the documents and redacting the necessary information that falls under various privacy laws. All in all, the report includes five allegations, which I’ll break down here.
The first allegation:
It is alleged that beginning in the 2002 fall semester and continuing through the 2011 summer semester, the institution provided impermissible benefits to student-athletes that were not generally available to the student body.
When you read through the specifics, the first allegation is broken down into two parts. The first states that athletics academic counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) used their relationships with the AFAM staff members to set up student-athletes with benefits that “were not generally available to the student body.”
The second part states that from the 2006 to 2011, the University allowed 10 student-athletes “to exceed the limit of independent study credits countable toward graduation.”
The investigation turned up 252 cases of what the document refers to as Factual Information, which mostly consists of emails, transcripts and work the student-athletes completed that the NCAA gathered to prove the first allegation.
The second allegation focuses on Jan Boxill, who was caught hooking up the women’s basketball team:
It is alleged that from April 2007 to July 2010, Jan Boxill (Boxill), then philosophy instructor, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, women’s basketball athletic academic counselor in the Academic Support Program for StudentAthletes (ASPSA) 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.
This one is broken down into six separate parts. The first five all consist of Boxill receiving a student-athlete’s incomplete paper and adding content in order to make it presentable. The last one states that Boxill received a women’s basketball player’s paper, turned it in via email, and suggested what grade it deserved.
This allegation is accompanied by 65 pieces of Factual Information, which, again, are mostly emails detailing Boxill being a bit too helpful to the women’s basketball team.
The third allegation takes a stab at former UNC administrator Deborah Crowder:
It is alleged that in 2014 and 2015, Deborah Crowder (Crowder), former student services manager in the African and Afro-American Studies department, violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when she failed to furnish information relevant to an investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation when requested to do so by the NCAA enforcement staff and the institution. Specifically, Crowder refused to participate in an interview with both the institution and the enforcement staff despite at least three requests for her participation.
This allegation comes with only three pieces of Factual Information, which is made of e-mails of Crowder pretty much giving the NCAA the Tom Brady treatment and not complying with their investigation.
Allegation No. 4 is much of the same, except this time it’s Dr. Julius Nyang’oro that comes under fire:
It is alleged that in 2014 and 2015, Dr. Julius Nyang’oro (Nyang’oro), former professor and chair of the African and Afro-American Studies department, violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he failed to furnish information relevant to an investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation when requested to do so by the enforcement staff and the institution. Specifically, Nyang’oro refused to participate in an interview with both the institution and the enforcement staff despite at least five requests for his participation.
Again, the pieces of Factual Information here—which there are four of—consist of emails in which Nyang’oro refuses to take part in an investigation.
Finally, we reach the end of the list, with allegation No. 5 taking a shot at the University itself and its inability to notice what was going on right beneath its nose:
It is alleged that the scope and nature of the violations set forth in Allegation Nos. 1 and 2 demonstrate that the institution violated the NCAA principles of institutional control and rules compliance when it failed to monitor the activities of Jan Boxill (Boxill), then philosophy instructor, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, women’s basketball athletics academic counselor in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) and chair of the faculty. Further, the institution exhibited a lack of institutional control in regard to the special arrangements constituting impermissible benefits athletics academic counselors and staff within African and Afro-American Studies (AFRI/AFAM) department provided to student-athletes.
That goes on for two more paragraphs that pretty much amount to: what the hell, guys? The AFAM paper classes were going on for 18 years and nobody noticed, and if they did, they either complied or didn’t tell anybody. The document goes on to call the whole thing a “lack of institutional control” in its list of “Potential Aggravating and Mitigating Factors.”
You can read the full NAO below.
The NCAA’s notice came as a result of the Wainstein Report, which was released in October.
That report detailed various accounts of academic fraud by way of sham classes in the African and Afro-Americam Studies department. Starting in 1992, North Carolina administrators Debby Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro created a series of what the report refers to as “paper classes”. During their existence, the report states that 3,100 students took part in these classes and that 47.4 percent of the students were student-athletes.
The school was not required to release the NCAA’s NOA to the public, but it is required to respond to the allegations within 90 days of the NCAA’s presentation. And even though the NOA is now public, it will likely take at least a year before any punishments are doled out. The University will now have to attend a hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which will vote on the punishment following the hearing.