Marti Maguire, Reuters, October 22, 2014
More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The investigation by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein is the latest of several attempts to unravel allegations of academic fraud involving student-athletes at a university known for both its academic rigor and athletics.
The report does not incriminate any coaches or athletic administrators in the scheme, which it said was carried out by a former department head and former office administrator within the African and Afro-American Studies department.
The “irregular classes” at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1993 to 2011 had no class attendance or faculty involvement, according to Wainstein’s independent investigation.
Student-athletes accounted for nearly half of enrollments in the irregular classes, the report found. Among the non-athletes, many were struggling students who were referred through academic support services.
Many of them were directed to the courses by counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, the report said, with some counselors going so far as to provide rosters of athletes and the grades they needed to maintain eligibility.