Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lessons from the UNC athletic scandal

The athletic scandal that enveloped UNC Chapel Hill involving bogus classes, fraud charges and whether some football players could even read above a third-grade level  got the attention of other UNC system schools even if Chapel Hill school officials have been slow to react. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer's editorial board covering a wide range of topics, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois outlined what happened at the Charlotte school. Here's part of what he had to say:

"We made some governance changes to make sure we monitored the situation closely. You'd have to be an idiot not to look at the situation - the national situation, not just Chapel Hill. 
So we restructured our board of trustees to have an athletic committee and that athletic committee has a very defined agenda to not just look at athletic spending but student athlete's performance. Our trustees look at whether they're (the athletes are) concentrated  in particular  majors, concentrated in particular studies...the number of independent studies... all the kind of things that have not bubbled to the top at Chapel Hill..
We already had a structure where academic advisers don't report to athletics. They report to academic affairs. And we changed the reporting line for compliance people so they not only work with athletics - because on a day-to-day basis, they have to - but they also have to report to the general counsel. So if a compliance officer in athletics saw any issue they would know to go to the general counsel if they felt they were not getting a good response from athletics.
Now, in light of the recent issue of reading ability, I took a personal interest in this. (I told the staff) to look at entering SAT scores of our students and see whether or not there's a relationship where we could have predicted a problem and the answer is no.
I don't have a lot of confidence in standardized test scores but they are part of the weighted admission ration we use in making admissions decisions. High school performance counts two-thirds and standardized tests count one-third. Our students basically outperform their standardized test scores...
I don't think we're completely immune from problems... You have to be very vigilant about this matter. You can see what happens (when you're not)."

Vigilance is indeed key. The folks at UNC Chapel Hill are no doubt wishing they had been much more vigilant, as the athletic scandal keeps them in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Felony charges have been filed against a former department head in relation to the bogus classes, and yet another probe is under way to discern what happened and who was involved. 

Read more here:


Jason said...

"Academic" scandal. The wrongdoers were academic department heads and administrators.

Please get that through your thick heads.

The only people who see this as an athletic problem are anti-athletic pinheads, State fans, and newspaper hacks who desperately need to sell papers to State fans to stay in business.

Garth Vader said...

Jason is correct. The tutoring system at Chapel Hill was run by the College of Arts & Sciences, NOT by the Athletic Department. The Dean of A&S at the time was Holden Thorp, who was promoted to Chancellor. Thorp did everything to keep his own job, letting the Athletic Department twist in the wind, firing FB coach Butch Davis, instead of manning up from the start and taking responsibility.

Jason, if the Observer and News & Observer "desperately need to sell papers to State fans to stay in business", that could explain why McClatchy stock has lost 90% of its value under the "leadership" of Ann Caulkins, Rick Thames, Taylor Batten and John Drescher: State's incoming athletes score lower than UNC's (by the standards used by Mary Willingham and CNN, NC State's 2010, 2011 and 2012 basketball recruiting classes are "college ineligible)... it's hard to sell papers to the illiterate.