October 22, 2014

I don't see how colleges rationalize this. Any alumni contributions raised by a successful program goes back into the sport, not the university. And I don't see how they justify having students pay tuition to subsidize these programs, either. Here's a thought: Cut sports, and lower the tuition to the point where kids don't have to get a sports scholarship to attend college!

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A blistering report into an academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina released Wednesday found that for nearly two decades two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department ran a “shadow curriculum” of hundreds of fake classes that never met but for which students, many of them Tar Heels athletes, routinely received A’s and B’s.

Nearly half the students in the classes were athletes, the report found, often deliberately steered there by academic counselors to bolster their worrisomely low grade-point averages and to allow them to continue playing on North Carolina’s teams. The existence of the classes — though not necessarily how blatantly nonexistent they were — was common knowledge among the academic counselors, and in some cases among coaches of the university’s sports teams, according to the report prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former official at the United States Justice Department and now a partner of the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft..

The report is the latest in a series of investigations into the scandal, which first came to light three years ago and covered classes between 1993 and 2011. The revelations have cast a decidedly unflattering light on U.N.C., Chapel Hill, which has long boasted of its ability to adhere to high academic standards while running a premier sports program. Until now, the university has been at pains to emphasize that the scandal was a purely academic one; on Wednesday, for the first time, it acknowledged that it was also an athletic one, with athletes being steered specifically into and benefiting disproportionately from the fraudulent classes.

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