Football and basketball players accounted for nearly four of every 10 students enrolled in 54 classes at the heart of an academic fraud investigation at UNC-Chapel Hill, according to figures released Monday.
The classes were all within UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American studies. An internal probe released Friday produced evidence of unauthorized grade changes and little or no instruction by professors. Forty-five of the classes listed the department’s chairman, Julius Nyang’oro, as the professor. Investigators could not determine instructors for the remaining nine.
University officials say they found no evidence that the suspect classes were part of a plan between Nyang’oro and the athletic department to create classes that student-athletes could pass so they could maintain their eligibility. They said student-athletes were treated no differently in the classes than students who were not athletes.
But the high percentages of student-athletes in the classes suggest to some that academic advisers, tutors and others in the athletic department may have guided them to the classes.
There were 686 enrollments for the 54 suspect classes. Of those, football players accounted for 246 of the enrollments, or 36 percent, while basketball players accounted for 23 enrollments, or three percent, according to UNC. Together, football and basketball players accounted for 39 percent of the enrollments.
Football and basketball players account for less than one percent of the total undergraduate enrollment—about 120 of the more than 18,500 undergraduate students on campus. On the other hand, many of the suspect classes were held in the summer, a time when many football players are on campus.