North Carolina

Lawyers: UNC player not complicit in academic fraud

Posted September 11, 2012

— The latest twist in the case of a former football player seeking damages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill again points the finger at irregularities in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

Michael McAdoo filed suit against the university in July 2011 after he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2010 season. A judge dismissed his suit, noting that by signing an NFL contract with the Baltimore Ravens, McAdoo attained his goal of a professional career and made his college career moot. 

McAdoo’s lawyer, Noah Huffstetler, argued that the loss of his senior season cost McAdoo a higher draft status and a more lucrative NFL contract. He has appealed the dismissal of his case and is due in court again on Thursday.


WRALSportsFan.com will carry McAdoo's hearing live online beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.


McAdoo was one of seven players forced to sit out the 2010 season while the NCAA investigated the Tar Heel football program. The NCAA ruled McAdoo ineligible for receiving improper assistance from tutor Jennifer Wiley on multiple assignments across several academic terms.

The university began an internal investigation of the AFAM department after McAdoo's lawyers included an assignment in court filings. The paper, written for class taught by then-department head Julius Nyang’oro, was revealed to be largely reproduced from other sources.

In their latest filing, on filed Sept. 7, McAdoo's lawyers offered five documents from UNC's own investigation as evidence that McAdoo "did not knowingly or willfully obtain improper assistance."

"By UNC's own admission, there are were serious irregularities in the way in which the course in question was conducted," McAdoo's lawyers wrote. They use the university's internal investigations into the AFAM department and a report on irregularities in the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes to demonstrate that UNC had doubts about the integrity of the class in which McAdoo allegedly cheated. 

They argue that the court didn't have all the information necessary before it dismissed McAdoo's case. His lawyers wrote:

Mr. McAdoo contends that, if his claims are allowed to proceed to discovery and trial, th evidence will show that he followed the instructions of his tutor and academic advisor in preparing the paper he submitted in his Swahili 403 class, and that prior to its submission the paper was reviewed and approved by both the academic advisor and the tutor, who were at all relevant times employees of UNC and under the ultimate supervision of Chancellor Thorp.

73 Comments

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  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 12, 2012

    I'm not saying corruption doesn't exist everywhere. But the level of corruption with this university is truly mind-boggling.

    They have the BoG majority in this state.

    They have lawyers and judges and congressmen.

    They have the ACC commissioner.

    They have high-ranking officials within the NCAA.

    They have people in the media, including the top dog at ESPN.

    And in their "independent investigation" that really isn't (it's simply a handful of people tasked with reviewing their internal investigation), THEY were allowed to select the guy running it!

    If you look at EVERY governing body that could or would order up a truly independent investigation of a university with as much smoke as is coming out of Carolina, they have people either in charge or influencing those decisions.

    I still say, at some point, someone will win a Pulitzer Prize if they just have the guts to do the digging.

  • Rapid Deployment Sep 12, 2012

    TBK, I sort of respect some of what you say, having an independent agency, etc., a Federal investigation. Call me naive if you will, but corruption exists everywhere, politics, police, churches. So you will never have a system where you can be sure that all is on the up and up. Does the NCAA run a fully fair and unbiased ship? Hardly. Finding truly honest people these days who will ALWAYS do the right things, well, good luck with that. I pretty much suspect everyone.

  • WolfpackInDaHouseV.13 Sep 11, 2012

    LOL @ the pastel fans in here BLAMING WRAL or other NEWS outlets for airing their EMBARRASSMENT.

    Guffaw... IF you didn't do anything to be EMBARRASSED about, you wouldn't be sitting here so red from EMBARRASSMENT right now.

    poor, lil, EMBARRASSED, things.

  • Objective Scientist Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    Athletic exceptions were not initially intended to allow the admission of "grossly academic deficient" athletes... rather those who were at most "marginally deficient". Abuse of the exceptions policy, in the form of consistently "lowering the bar", has occurred almost every where - more so in some schools than others. The bar needs to be RAISED!

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 11, 2012

    ^About your point about McAdoo not belonging in college, it is hard for me to even think about things on a legitimate level because I'm already convinced that there was so much illegitimate stuff going on that I don't even care about one athlete or another not belonging in college. That's penny ante stuff compared to the bigger problems that I believe exist at Carolina.

    And no, I don't believe this stuff goes on everywhere. Easy majors? Yes. Easy classes? Definitely. But not the stuff that I believe Carolina was doing. I think they thought they were above the law and would never get caught. And they may still pull it all off. I think the only hope for a truly independent investigation is if somehow a FEDERAL agency can get involved, like the FBI. I believe there is too much corruption at the highest levels of state government in our state, and too much pro-Carolina influence, that they won't get a truly deep investigation unless it comes from outside forces.

    Which is why I'm not holding my breath.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    I do understand "academic exceptions" being admitted. Not every major has to be a path toward being a doctor or dentist. Nothing wrong with "easy" majors -- we all want some good athletics, and that's how we accomplish that.

    I do think that Carolina went overboard with it. It's not just "easy majors". I think there's a good chance that SOME athletes never even opened a textbook. We all know about those so-called "fraudulent" classes. We also know about the forged signatures by professors who claim to not have taught those classes. And we know about the unauthorized grade changes. I haven't seen this alleged anywhere, but my theory is that when some important athlete needed some credit hours, someone in the administration put them into classes, and forged signatures, and possibly entered or changed grades. And what better way to do that than in a class that doesn't meet. That avoids the possibility of an instructor admitting that the athlete never showed up for class. I think it's entirely feasible that even some legit classes had athletes added to them (in the computer) after the professor submitted grades. So the professor never even knew the athlete was "in" the class. And that would explain why there aren't cases where professors are blowing the whistle on this. They may not even KNOW those athletes were added to the classes.

    I realize this is all conspiracy theory and tin foil hat stuff. But I don't trust ANYONE at Carolina any further than I could throw them. There are things we DO KNOW that are unfathomable (like the forged signatures of professors). If that was happening, pretty much EVERYTHING I listed could happen. If there were no checks and balances to police these things, they could have gotten away with ANYTHING.

    As long as the computer spits out reports of athletes with grades good enough to be eligible, that is ALL that mattered to some of those people.

  • Objective Scientist Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    I do not think we differ on this. My contention is that McAdoo should never have been admitted to UNC, and who is at fault with that? Clearly it is not McAdoo!!! If he were not a football player with at least "repectable" skills and the height and weight he was... McAdoo's probability of being admitted to UNC would have been ZERO!!!

  • heelsforever Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    The problem with your plan is that the people who have been tasked with making sure everyone plays by the same rules (the NCAA) are ill staffed to keep track of school and have proven numerous times that they have a vested interest in their "cash cows" staying "clean".

  • UConnrulz Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    pig suuuuiuuieeeeeeeee

  • heelsforever Sep 11, 2012

    View quoted thread


    I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe that even someone who doesn't belong in college doesn't know it is wrong to do what happened here. They may all be guilty, but I seriously doubt young Mr McAdoo is innocent.

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