ESPN, December 2, 2013
A former professor at the center of an academic scandal involving athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been charged with a felony, accused of receiving $12,000 in payment for a lecture course in which he held no classes.
A grand jury on Monday indicted Julius Nyang’Oro with a single felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Nyang’Oro was chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. He resigned from that post in 2011 during a campus investigation that found certain classes in the department that instructors did not teach, undocumented grade changes and faked faculty signatures on some grade reports.
The scandal contributed to the departure of football coach Butch Davis and the resignation of a former chancellor, Holden Thorp.
Nyang’Oro, who retired in 2012, could face up to 10 months in prison if convicted. The university said it recouped the $12,000 from his final paycheck.
Orange County District Attorney James Woodall said the professor’s 2011 summer course was supposed to have had regular class meetings. But he said Nyang’oro instead ran an independent study class that required students to write papers but not show up. The school found that the course, a late addition to the schedule, had an enrollment of 18 football players and one former football player.
The NCAA sanctioned the university’s football program in March 2012 with a one-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions for previously discovered improper benefits including cash and travel accommodations. The NCAA reviewed irregularities in the African studies department after an earlier campus probe found 54 problem classes between 2007 and 2011. The collegiate sports oversight body told university officials it had found no new rules violations.