North Carolina

TV specials replay UNC-CH academic fraud problems

Posted March 26

— ESPN and HBO aired dueling specials Tuesday night focusing on the academic fraud scandal involving University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student-athletes.

The specials featured former UNC football players Bryon Bishop, Michael McAdoo and Deunta Williams and adviser and academic whistle-blower Mary Willingham and drew national attention to the headlines that have played across North Carolina media for years: Courses in which no classes were held, students turning in one-paragraph essays and advisers guiding students to majors that ensured their continued athletic eligibility.

A 2012 investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin found those problems in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies dating to 1997 and placed blame on former department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and a retired administrator. Nyang'oro was indicted in December on a fraud charge for collecting payments for classes that never met.

UNC officials noted in a statement released after the specials aired that little new information was revealed and noted that the university has used the episode as a chance to improve.

"We have instituted numerous reforms, including new governance and accountability standards in our Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes," Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs Joel Curran said in the statement.

UNC President Tom Ross and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt recently hired a former U.S. Justice Department attorney to comb through the case file the State Bureau of Investigation compiled during a probe that led to Nyang'oro's indictment to determine if other changes are needed.

University trustees declined to comment Wednesday on the ESPN and HBO specials. The Board of Trustees meets Thursday, and they will hear from Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • olivechapel1000 Mar 31, 11:47 a.m.

  • olivechapel1000 Mar 31, 11:17 a.m.

    After watching the Docs this weekend on UNC while in between games of Florida and Kentucky, its painful to see people blinded by loyalty to UNC. Not alone in its use of student athletes, UNC shows the basis of paying kids to play in college. Not getting a degree is one thing like the Teams from State Basketball program. but getting a degree in nothing that is helpful to you, is criminal at the least.

  • Objective Scientist Mar 29, 2:50 p.m.

    It is blatantly obvious... some "rivals" of UNC-CH want to use a very VERY broad brush to paint the entire University a very dark black color because of the "athletic scandal" that the UNC athletic department says is actually an "academic scandal". As much as some NCSU and Duke folks would like to do that... virtually everyone refuses to buy the notion that one rotten tomato in the basket taints all in the basket. UNC-CH is a great GREAT University! I am a proud 3-time grad of Carolina. The only degree that this mess has tainted - IMO - is the major in AA studies... and that is unfair to the faculty in that program who have great integrity and are hard-working. The city of Durham is often maligned... but take away the Northeast Central Durham area - East of Fayetteville, South of Geer, West of Miami, and North of 147, with some slight variations - and Durham has MUCH to offer that is positive. Don't assume all of UNC-CH is "bad" because of one "rotten part"... a VERY SMALL part!

  • hiker40diver Mar 28, 6:43 p.m.

    Not to worry UNC, the NCAA lack b---s!

  • Kenan-FlaglerAlumni Mar 28, 9:05 a.m.

    All athletic programs find ways to keep their athletes eligible. UNC's ways just happen to be... View More

    — Posted by Kenan-FlaglerAlumni

    *current/former players and coaches at other institutions

  • Kenan-FlaglerAlumni Mar 28, 9:04 a.m.

    All athletic programs find ways to keep their athletes eligible. UNC's ways just happen to be public knowledge now. Why do you think current/former athletes and coaches at other schools don't say a word about this issue in the media? It would be pot calling kettle black...

  • Kenan-FlaglerAlumni Mar 28, 8:58 a.m.

    It's such an anomaly that State and Duke recruit the same athletes, yet the same % of them remain eligible at those institutions but Carolina has to "cheat" to keep them eligible at UNC. A study should be done on that...

  • RDI-just a fan Mar 28, 6:55 a.m.

    Time to move on.

    — Posted by Toddler10-21


    — Posted by BB5

    Tarheel fans, huh...

    — Posted by Coach K is still GREAT

    Neither one is, but thanks for playing.

  • TTCP Mar 27, 6:33 p.m.

    At State departments just do fake research and steal grant money. View More

    — Posted by moduke

    Athletic Dept. or athletes were involved ?

  • seedofdoubt Mar 27, 3:37 p.m.

    Any alum of UNC should be angry that the athletic department reduced the worth of their degree,... View More

    — Posted by Steven

    Well, that is quite an exaggeration. New students are trying to break down the doors to get into... View More

    — Posted by uBnice

    The majority of unc degrees in relevant studies remain untainted by the scandal. Come out of unc with a degree in math and headhunters are pounding on your door. It's the Athletic Department and those associated with the cheating the world is looking at. unc is still an educational institution developing students to enter the world well prepared. That hasn't changed, nor will it change, just because a small group within the school decided what they were doing became so important they had the right to USE, to manipulate young athletes (real human beings, I might add)) to further their own interests. IMO, the Athletic Department deserves a death penalty.




  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Tomorrow at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego vs. Miami

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida vs. Georgia

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Notre Dame vs. Navy

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on 620am

  • ACC: NC State at Syracuse

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes vs Arizona Coyotes

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35

7:00pm Tonight
8:00pm Tonight
8:30pm Tonight
10:00pm Tonight
10:00pm Tonight
10:30pm Tonight
8:00pm Tonight
8:02pm Tonight
7:00pm Tonight
7:30pm Tonight
8:30pm Tonight
9:00pm Tonight