Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tarnished Heels -- Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight
No-show classes; internal report reveals more academic fraud

            Following the release of the university’s AFAM report in early May that dealt with academic fraud, the opinions, comments, and fallout would commence from various entities who were in some way connected to the university.  Some expressed outrage, while others seemed to offer veiled excuses.  All the while the media (and especially the investigative team at the Raleigh News and Observer) seemingly recognized the blatant fraud and cheating for what it clearly appeared to be – a method to keep athletes eligible via easy and/or nonexistent classes – and continued to report on various aspects of the story.
            A May 11, 2012, article by the Raleigh News and Observer indicated that UNC was considering taking monetary action against former African and Afro-American Studies chairman Julius Nyang’oro.  It stated that he had taught a course the previous summer with 19 students enrolled.  However, following an inquiry the newspaper made about summer school payments to Nyang’oro, university officials said they might seek action against the professor for not teaching a class as they had anticipated.  According to Nancy Davis, a UNC spokeswoman, “Through our review, we learned that Professor Nyang’oro provided instruction for a course in independent study format that had been approved to be taught in lecture format.  Had the summer school been aware that he was treating it as independent study, he would not have been paid for the course.  We are reviewing appropriate next steps.”
            Nyang’oro was the instructor of record for 45 similar classes, and university officials said they followed the same pattern: A course typically intended for classroom instruction was converted into an independent study format, which meant no classes and an expectation that a paper or other project would be produced at the end.  This would appear to be the format that was followed in the class that former football player Michael McAdoo took, and in which he turned in a paper that was heavily plagiarized.  That paper would eventually lead to the NCAA ruling him permanently ineligible.  The university refused to investigate how many other athletes may have followed the same impermissible blueprint as McAdoo, and to date the NCAA has not investigated the matter, either.
            With growing regularity certain words would be spoken by university individuals in positions of influence that supported the “let’s look forward, not into the past” plan of action in an attempt to protect the university’s reputation.  Wade Hargrove, chairman of UNC’s Board of Trustees, said, “All of (the academic issues are) deeply troubling.  My concern at this point is making sure that measures are in place to prevent these things from ever happening again at this university.”
            Nyang’oro received money for teaching courses during the summer sessions, as well as $8,400 for being a summer school administrator, according to university records.  The particular class in question, AFAM 280, reopened questions as to whether additional investigation was needed, according to the News and Observer.  Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said the evidence regarding the prior forgery allegations did not appear to be enough to launch a criminal investigation.  “But,” he said, “if there were some payments for a teacher teaching classes that were not taught, well, that would be a different issue.”  The potential payment information that Woodall referred to was not included anywhere in the university’s investigative report on the AFAM department.
* * *
            Art Chansky, a graduate of UNC and the author of several UNC-related books, had been a long-time employee of Tar Heel Sports Properties, a company that owned and managed the multimedia rights for the university.  Chansky had worked for the company for 18 years, most recently serving as Associate General Manager and Account Executive, according to a story by WTVD-TV.  Depending on which account of the events was true, he either resigned or was fired from that company almost two years earlier in December of 2010.  The break came just days after an email sent by Chansky to Chancellor Holden Thorp was made public.  The email was dated October 6, 2010, which was several months after the initial football issues arose, and the subject line was “Private and Confidential.”  In the letter Chansky offered the names and numbers of people who could assist Thorp with a potential search for a new football coach, should Thorp choose to fire Butch Davis.  Once the email became public, Chansky’s tenure at Tar Heel Sports Properties quickly came to an end.  (Davis would not be fired by the university for another eight months.)
            After leaving Tar Heel Sports Properties, Chansky would move on to work with various other business entities, and also penned occasional articles for the Chapelboro.com website.  An article posted on May 21, 2012, touched on the topic of the AFAM investigative report, and specifically on former chairman Julius Nyang’oro.  In the article Chansky began by pointing out the timeframe of the investigation into the department, and how it coincided with Butch Davis’s time on campus.  This may have been due to Chansky’s possible dislike towards Davis (based on his email sent to Thorp that had become public), or it could simply be that Chansky repeated the party line that many associated with the university had hoped to suggest at the time: this started and ended with Butch.  He even threw in a quote in an apparent attempt to absolve basketball, when he noted that a week prior coach Roy Williams had said of his players, “They went to class and did the work that was assigned them.”  To which Chansky followed up with: maybe all the basketball players did, but apparently not all the athletes; again insinuating the issue was a football one.  His article concluded with a seeming call for justice.  “Let’s hope”… any criminal fraud is detected… “quickly and the right people are held accountable.”  Of course, similar words of “wanting to get to the bottom of things” had been heard before from others in positions of administrative and/or media influence.  The sincerity of those claims would soon be put to test, however.
* * *
            Members of the university’s Board of Trustees finally began to weigh in on the subject after being briefed on Thursday, May 24, 2012.  An article that appeared the following day in the Raleigh News and Observer indicated that the trustees had asked “pointed questions” about accountability in the university’s academic operations.  Chairman Wade Hargrove described the findings of the internal AFAM investigation as “major indiscretions that raise serious questions of unprofessional and unethical conduct.”  He went on to say that he read the report with a mixture of “disappointment and dismay and outrage,” and that “academic freedom is not to be confused with academic irresponsibility or academic fraud.  We all know the difference.”  According to information the trustees were given, new rules would now govern independent study courses, and a review of teaching assignments would be conducted annually – apparently a practice that had not taken place beforehand.  Chancellor Holden Thorp was quoted as saying, “I know that you’re all as deeply troubled as I am, as disturbed as I am and as angry as I am that these things could have happened.  They are completely at odds with what we stand for as an institution.” 
            Trustee Peter Grauer asked how courses with little or no supervision from professors could have gone unnoticed for years.  Karen Gil, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences answered him, saying, “That’s a good question, and I understand the concern.  There are checks and balances all over the system, but in this case they did not detect the problems.  There were no student complaints about these courses.”  The obvious follow-up questions were not asked by the trustees, nor were they offered by the university officials: Why were there no complaints?  What would have been the possible reasons that students – many of them student athletes on the basketball and football teams – would continue to take classes that were in essence fake, and never say anything?  More than just “taking” the classes, though, they were actually signed up for those classes by their sports programs’ academic advisors.  But again, those deeper issues were never sought out by the adult leadership of the university.
* * *
            William Andrews, a senior associate dean who was one of the investigators, indicated that the AFAM review took nine months and was difficult to piece together.  He said that lax oversight in the department was part of the problem in reconstructing what happened.  When asked by one trustee why the review covered only four years, Andrews said it was clear that many of the problems ended with the 2009 retirement of the department’s longtime administrator, Deborah Crowder.  Furthermore, four years of data revealed issues linked only to Nyang’oro and Crowder, he said, and there was no evidence to indicate others would have been involved even if the probe had covered a longer period.  This statement – and reasoning – appeared to be grossly flawed, however.  While Nyang’oro was the teacher of record of the majority of classes, he was not the only one.  He had been the department head since 1992, yet the school chose to only look back to 2007?  And Crowder had worked for the school since 1979, yet the school chose to only look back to 2007?  Essentially the statements by Andrews were assumptions, and not based on the available data at his disposal.  As would be proven less than two months later, in fact, Andrews was indeed incorrect in his statements regarding the beginning point of the fraudulent classes.
            Bobbi Owen, a senior associate dean for undergraduate education, said it was hard to know why students ended up in any particular course.  “Word of mouth is potent,” she said.  “Students drift to places where they understand they will be accommodated.”  What she did not mention, however, was that scholarship athletes of major programs (such as basketball and football) have team academic advisors who were largely responsible for enrolling his/her team’s athletes in classes.  The basketball team had such as person.  A much closer look at that individual will be given later.  The football team also had such a person.  According to a New York Times article that was published in April of 2012, former UNC player Deunta Williams said that athletes could only take the classes the athletics department wanted them to take.  It was always better that the classes not be too difficult, he said – otherwise, there might be eligibility problems.  He went on to indicate that freshmen football players took Swahili as their language requirement, because the athletics department tutors were strong in that language.  Swahili was one of the main courses taught by Julius Nyang’oro.
            The May 25, 2012, News and Observer article that covered the Board of Trustees meeting ended with a quote from Holden Thorp:  “I’m chancellor at this university, but I’ve been a student and a faculty member, and I’m still a faculty member,” he said.  “These findings are a kick in the gut to those of us who take great pride in what we do here.”  He said he hoped the investigation would send a strong message that the university took its academic reputation seriously.  Unfortunately for the school, the stronger message that was eventually sent dealt with the information that the report purposely ignored.
* * *
            On June 7, 2012, Chancellor Thorp offered a letter to the university’s Board of Trustees giving an update on the ongoing scandal.  In it, Thorp said that the school had sent a letter informing Professor Julius Nyang’oro that it would be taking back $12,000 that Nyang’oro had accepted as payment for a summer school 2011 course.  The letter went on to explain that Nyang’oro’s teaching of the course did not meet the university’s instructional expectations, and they did not believe that he should have been paid.  What was not mentioned in Thorp’s update to the Board of Trustees was whether restitution would be sought for the over 50 other courses that apparently did not meet the university’s instructional expectations, either.  A key point that showed up near the very beginning of Thorp’s letter was the reasoning/rationale that had already begun to spread amongst UNC leaders and administrators.  The chancellor made sure to include that “most of the irregularly taught and aberrant classes detailed in the review of courses in the department included both student athletes and students who weren’t athletes.”  As touched on various times before, this would be key in the university’s eventual insistence that the academic fraud should not be an NCAA issue.
            Thorp said in the letter to the trustees that the school was trying to determine how the summer school 2011 class was created, and how students were registered for it.  This uncertainty seemed odd in the current era, where virtually every on-campus scheduling transaction happened via computer.  Furthermore, as pointed out earlier, most major-sport athletes got preferential (and early) treatment in terms of signing up for courses in order to accommodate their practice and game schedules, which was often performed via the team’s academic adviser.  Thorp even went so far as to confirm that staff in the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes helped the students (who were all athletes) register.  As would become a pattern over the months (and years) to follow, the university either neglected to check the emails of its various staff members for clues as to possible motives – or else the university checked but never revealed those findings. 
            Thorp also stated his official reason/stance on why the covered period of the AFAM report was only from the summer of 2007 through summer 2011, instead of spanning further into the past.  The letter said, The review focused on the last five consecutive summers and four academic years because we wanted to obtain the most accurate recollections and records available.  We also wanted to cover the summers of 2007 and 2009, when the first irregularities known to us had occurred.  The further back we go, the less reliable and available the data become since faculty are required to keep course records for only one year.  People’s memories also become less clear and less reliable going back in time.”  Many in the social media world were expecting there to be a punch line after this line of “reasoning,” but it truly was the actual explanation given to the university’s Board of Trustees – despite the fact that computer records at major universities are kept intact for decades, and that any individual student can return to campus and request his or her past transcript, which would show the classes taken and the grades received – no matter the year of graduation.  Yet according to Thorp, going back any further than 2007 would have yielded data that was “less reliable and available.” 
            As noted above, Chancellor Thorp indicated that older records of grades given in a particular class would be difficult to locate.  Even if that were the case, a transcript for each individual student (who took that particular class) would be available for perusal.  According to the UNC’s Office of the University Registrarwebpage, Transcripts can be ordered online by current students and alumni of the university. Online transcript ordering is convenient, can be done from any location 24/7, and provides emails to inform students/alumni on the status of their request.”  Nowhere on the site does it give a limitation of how far back (in terms of a student’s graduation year) it can provide a transcript.  The frequently-asked-questions page of the site notes that a request can take up to two weeks to fulfill due to the large volume of transcript requests it receives, which in reality is a very reasonable turnaround time.  But Chancellor Thorp and other administrative leaders would have the school’s Board of Trustees, as well as members of the media, believe that it was virtually impossible to get accurate data on AFAM classes prior to 2007 – despite all of that pertinent information being available in the registrar’s office if anyone had taken the time and effort to do the research.  The initial university-sanctioned report on AFAM’s courses would prove to not be the last time that the school avoided obvious methods of data-collection.  Specific methods would have most certainly led to clarity into the academic and athletic fraud that had taken place over several decades, yet they would continue to be overlooked in the future.  As a result, a pattern of seemingly deliberate laxity in uncovering the truth would be repeated time and again.
* * *
            The Raleigh News and Observer continued its strong coverage of the scandal, releasing an article on June 8, 2012 – a day after Thorp’s letter to the Board of Trustees.  The article focused on the summer 2011 class that was filled entirely with athletes (which was also created just days before the summer session began), and also noted that the academic advisers had known that there would be no instruction.  The academic support staff reported to the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, the article said, but was actually housed in the athletics department’s student support center within Kenan Stadium. 
            Thorp could not be reached by the newspaper for comment, but new Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said he was concerned.  “I just think this has uncovered some information that quite frankly, the university, we’re not proud of.”  He would then repeat a line similar to one that was earlier spoken by Board of Trustees chairman Wade Hargrove, and which was the same sentiment that would be repeated later by others in positions of leadership within the school: “But we’ll continue to work to ensure that it doesn’t happen going forward.”  Future prevention was clearly in the university’s plans.  Past detection and accountability were apparently not.  Members of the Board of Trustees either declined comment for the article or could not be reached.
            Email correspondence that had been recently released showed that Professor Nyang’oro went to another professor in the AFAM department, Tim McMillan, on June 14, 2011, to add the summer course in question (AFAM 280) to the summer calendar.  McMillan was reportedly the one who normally taught the class.  “Sure,” McMillan replied via email.  “How many students will I have?”  To which Nyang’oro responded, “No more than 5.  I will be the instructor of record and relieve you of responsibility and bother.  A big relief for you?????”  Nyang’oro then talked to a journalism professor, Jan Yopp, who also was serving as the dean for summer school that year.  On June 16, 2011, the day the summer semester began, Yopp sent word to Nyang’oro that the class was open for registration.  Four days later, Nyang’oro revealed in an email to Yopp that 18 students had enrolled in the class, though there was no mention that all of them were athletes.  “I am totally taken by surprise!” Nyang’oro expressed in his correspondence. 
            Nancy Davis, a spokeswoman for the university, and Jonathan Hartlyn, a senior associate dean who oversaw the African Studies department and was one of the staff members who conducted the internal review, were contacted for the News and Observer’s article.  Echoing almost word for word what Chancellor Holden Thorp said in the previous day’s letter to the UNC Board of Trustees, both Davis and Hartlyn continued to stress than non-athletes also took the suspect classes and received the same treatment grade-wise. 
As pointed out earlier, the university had hired a public relations firm the previous year (which was still employed by the school at the time – and troubling data would eventually emerge regarding just how much money the university had spent for PR assistance).  Ben Silverman is a businessman totally unrelated to the UNC scandal.  His past professional experience, however, helps to put UNC’s use of a public relations firm into perspective.  For over six years Silverman was an author for PR Fuel, an award-winning consultancy that was launched in 2001 and has won numerous awards.  According to Silverman’s LinkedIn page, his work for PR Fuel was “Author of weekly, best practices newsletter for the public relations industry.” 
In one of Silverman’s past articles, “Note to PR Pros: Keep Your Key Messages Consistent,” he wrote the following:  “Consistency in public relations is important. Public relations consultants and corporate executives are often told to ‘stay on message’ and not to stray from a script. Companies and organizations put an enormous amount of time and energy into hammering home a consistent key message, be it through public statements, advertising, or simple branding. Consistency gives comfort to people, and public relations professionals are charged with providing a comforting view of a company or client.  When a public relations strategy is inconsistent, trouble usually follows. That sense of consistency was exactly what began to emerge through the comments of various UNC officials.  They stressed that they would be looking towards the future to make sure that the issues never happened again (with a veiled inference being that they did not want to look back).  They also stressed that both athletes and non-athletes were enrolled in the classes (with the inference being that as a result, the NCAA should not view it as an athletic scandal).  These patterns fit standard PR operating procedures; multiple people were repeating the same message, in an effort to provide “a comforting view of a company or client.”
Several final and important pieces of information were included in the N&O’s June 8, 2012, article.  It was now being reported that 58 percent of the enrollees in the fraudulent classes were athletes, as opposed to the originally-reported 39 percent.  More insight into the information-gathering process for the report was also given.  Once again the point was stated that it was unclear how the students – athletes and non-athletes – ended up in the classes.  Jonathan Hartlyn interviewed students for the probe, according to the article, along with Jack Evans, a professor who had been a liaison to the athletics department, as well as university counsel Leslie Strohm.  Hartlyn, however, declined to say what those interviewed students said.  As before, information that could have given insight into motive was either ignored or was purposely withheld.
* * *
Details would continue to emerge and questions would continue to be asked by those not associated with UNC.  The university itself, though, would carry on with its obstinate nature and would deflect direct questions that otherwise might clarify aspects of the ongoing scandal.  On July 8, 2012, the Raleigh News and Observer reported that athletes did in fact account for the majority of the enrollees in the fraudulent courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.  Furthermore, data had emerged that suggested the irregularities within the department and university might go back as far as 1999. 
The first parts of the article penned by tenacious investigative reporter Dan Kane indicated that past students who possibly wanted to enroll in summer courses taught by Julius Nyang’oro would have been met with obstacles.  This was due to the fact that of the 38 courses the university said he was responsible for over the five summers covered in the AFAM report, 26 of them listed a maximum capacity of just one student.  Despite that restrictive parameter, however, university records show more than one student was enrolled in most of those courses.  Furthermore, a substantial number of those students were often athletes.  Registration records showed that many of the courses had no classroom or class time.
To augment the confusion of the situation – as well as to hint at the possibility of a third, influential party being in the equation – was the fact that Julius Nyang’oro was not officially paid by the university for 29 of those suspect summer classes.  Professors were typically paid per class because the summer work was considered beyond their normal nine-month work year.  According to summer school Dean Jan Yopp, faculty were generally only allowed to be paid for two courses each summer, which might explain why Nyang’oro did not receive payment for some of the 29 courses.  It does not, however, explain why Nyang’oro would so readily agree to take on the workload to teach (or at least grade papers in) more than two dozen courses for no apparent and traceable compensation.  Overall, 75 courses were linked to Nyang’oro over a four-year period, according to the News and Observer.  University officials said that was an extraordinary number for a professor, let alone a department chairman, to have responsibility for.  No one apparently noticed the exorbitant number until the AFAM fraud investigation began.
While very few members of UNC’s faculty had spoken out publicly up to that time about the academic fraud, Professor Jay Smith had made his opposing opinions known.  He and Willis Brooks, a fellow UNC history professor like Smith, told the News and Observer they were concerned about the case’s impact on the university’s academic integrity.  They said the enrollment and pay data suggested Nyang’oro had set up a system for athletes to get into classes they could pass.  “The only logic I can conjure is (Nyang’oro) was protecting seats,” said Brooks, a professor emeritus who served on the faculty athletic committee in the early 1990’s.  “And since the preponderance of people who took the seats are athletes, there is circumstantial evidence,” he said.
The Raleigh newspaper reviewed a number of archived internet pages that showed that as far back as 1999, some of the same AFAM class offerings were listed with a maximum of one student.  When questioned about the more than decade-old pattern, the university said it would be difficult at the current date to determine how many of the students in those classes were athletes.  However, as detailed in an earlier section of this chapter, the information was readily available to the school via a review of past athletes’ transcripts.  It would, however, require that the school display not only the effort to determine whether athletes had taken part in those much older courses, but also the desire.
* * *
At the end of the News and Observer’s June 8th article a month earlier, the percentage of athletes in the fraudulent courses had risen from the school’s initial reporting of 39 percent up to 58 percent.  In a newer July 8, 2012, article, the percentage had risen yet again.  The university said that athletes and former athletes made up 64 percent of the enrollments.  While it may have been frustrating to the media that the initial numbers had been incorrect and continued to change, what was more troubling was the fact that, according to the News and Observer, UNC officials had released little information beyond the enrollment figures to back up their claims that athletes didn’t receive special treatment. 
The university had not released any of the information about its interviews with students regarding how they got into the classes.  Furthermore, it revealed very little from its interview with Nyang’oro, an individual who seemingly would have been able to give some very insightful details into the courses and the reasons for their fraudulent nature – especially considering that he had chaired the department for twenty years.  At a recent UNC Board of Governors meeting, the News and Observer attempted to ask Chancellor Holden Thorp about what Nyang’oro said in his interview.  University spokeswoman Nancy Davis quickly interjected, preventing Thorp from answering.  “You need to talk to (Nyang’oro) about that,” she said.  “That’s not for us to answer.”  It was well known at the time that Nyang’oro had given no comment to virtually every question and interview request by the media – something that Nancy Davis, given her important position as university spokeswoman, was likely very aware of.
That blocking of information was a far cry from Holden Thorp’s claims from the summer of 2010.  When the football program was first being scrutinized for impermissible benefits and academic irregularities, Thorp and many other influential figures surrounding the university boldly proclaimed that they would do whatever it took to get to the bottom of the issues.  Former Athletics Director Dick Baddour felt that the school had handled the football investigation in “The Carolina Way,” and had used certain guiding principles during the process – one of which dealt with integrity.  Now, however, lawyers were being hired, PR firms had their fingerprints on quotes and statements, and information was being withheld from the media. 
Another person whom UNC officials could have interviewed had they truly desired to discover the nature and intent of the fraudulent athletic courses was Deborah Crowder, the AFAM department’s former manager.  The school had claimed that she and Nyang’oro were the only two in the department suspected of improper behavior, and that Crowder had responsibility for scheduling classes.  Once again, the extensive degree of Crowder’s longstanding (and easily uncovered) ties to the school’s basketball program should have been all the school needed to ask pointed questions on the matter.  Whether they ever spoke to Crowder, however, is unknown.
The PackPride.com message boards once again helped with portions of a news story, as the July 8, 2012, article in the News and Observer noted that a fan on that website posted other information regarding some archived registration records.  The data showed that 44 of the suspect AFAM classes listed the maximum seating at one student.  Other university records show that 31 of those one-seat-maximum classes had athletes as the majority of the enrollees.  University spokeswoman Nancy Davis and others said there were several possible legitimate reasons why a class might be listed as having only one seat available.  One example given was that a teacher might be trying to protect seats for students who needed the classes to complete their majors.  This was, unfortunately, yet more speculation and hypothetical excuses on a matter that could have been definitively verified through a simple review of past records and data.  Those suspect class rosters could have been pulled, and the students’ majors reviewed.  If there were situations that did not fit the legitimate reasons Davis offered, then there would obviously be another explanation.  Were the students who did not fit those legitimate parameters athletes?  Did they benefit by taking the courses by way of receiving a high grade that boosted their grade point average?  Simple questions and simple methods of getting the answers, yet the university chose to ignore that logical and morally-correct path.
* * *
            Following the report and data regarding the AFAM program and the 54 fraudulent courses from 2007 to 2011, UNC had a special faculty committee look into the academic fraud scandal at the university.  The 13-page report was released in late July, and its authors were Steven Bachenheimer, a professor of microbiology and immunology; Michael Gerhardt, a law professor; and Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, a professor of religious studies.  The Raleigh News and Observer ran an article on July 26, 2012, to cover the findings of the report.
            According to Dan Kane’s article, the committee found “an athletics program divorced from the faculty, academic counselors for athletes improperly helping them enroll in classes and poor oversight of faculty administrators who have wide latitude in running their departments.”  Bachenheimer, Gerhardt, and Maffly-Kipp called for an independent commission of outside experts in higher education to review athletics and academics at the school.  The report was almost entirely focused on what it called an atmosphere of distrust on a “campus with two cultures,” one academic and one athletic.
            The report said an unidentified “departmental staff manager” within African Studies may have directed athletes to enroll in the no-show classes, and that “it seems likely” someone in the department was calling counselors for athletes to tell them “certain courses” were available.  Deborah Crowder was clearly the referenced staff manager, as that was the position she had long held up until her retirement in 2009.  No mention in the report, however, was made regarding her extremely close ties with the basketball program.  Neither her email nor phone records were checked in order to verify the suspicions, either.  The report went on to say, “We were told that athletes claimed they had been sent to Julius Nyang’oro by the (Academic Support Program for Student Athletes).”
            The report in many ways described an athletics program that had too much control, noting that the admissions office under its then-current director had never rejected a student athlete with a subpar academic record that had received a recommendation from a special advisory committee.  The report’s authors went on reveal a troubling side note: the academic support program for athletes was supposed to be run by the College of Arts and Sciences, but its funding came from the athletics department.  And its director, Robert Mercer, also reported to John Blanchard, a senior athletics director.  “This reporting system is ambiguous, lacks clarity, and is likely not very productive,” the report said.
            The report went on to suggest that the university should examine athletes’ course selections over a period of roughly 10 years to see if they were clustering in certain classes and departments with the intent of protecting their eligibility in sports.  According to Chancellor Holden Thorp’s earlier words, however, that would be a very formidable task – and was the main reason why the initial AFAM investigation did not go back any further than 2007.  Yet there were three respected university professors, who presumably were well versed in the data-collection methods currently at the university’s disposal regarding past records and results, who were suggesting a larger view of the past be taken.
            In a section of the report with the heading “Need for Institutional Transparency Regarding Athletics,” the following bold statement was made:  “Generally, (the faculty) call for an external review of athletic advising, independent of the athletics department, as well as more forthright statements from the administration about the compromises made to host Division I athletics at UNC.”  Ironically, it would later be shown that prior to its release the three-member report had been altered and partially censored by people within leadership positions at UNC in yet another attempt to shield the school’s top athletic programs from future penalties.  Those details would not emerge for another year; another, different startling discovery would be made less than two weeks later, however.
* * *
The essential (and unanswered) questions:
-- Why weren’t papers from athletes in other AFAM classes ever checked for the same types of plagiarism that showed up in Michael McAdoo’s assignment?
-- How had the university managed for years to overlook dozens of unsupervised courses?
-- Who was ultimately responsible for the decision to only go as far back as 2007 in the initial AFAM report?
-- Why did the school seek restitution for only one of Nyang’oro’s improperly-taught classes?
-- Why didn’t the university simply look at past students’ transcripts if they wanted information on older AFAM courses and grades?
-- Why were the information and data gathered from the student interviews (conducted during the AFAM report) never released?
-- Why did Professor Nyang’oro agree to teach (or at least have his name connected to) so many classes filled primarily with athletes, yet apparently do so without compensation?
-- Why did the university refuse to state what its interviews with Nyang’oro had revealed regarding the originations and motives behind the fraudulent, athlete-filled classes?
-- Why did Chancellor Thorp and others in positions of leadership offer full transparency and cooperation in 2010 during the football portion of the scandal, but then in 2012 block the release of so much pertinent information?
-- Why was Deborah Crowder never contacted and interviewed by the school?  Or if she was, why was the resulting information withheld from the public?
-- Why had the school purposely avoided mentioning Deborah Crowder’s personal ties to the basketball program?
-- Did the athletes who eventually enrolled in the “one-seat-maximum” courses benefit, in terms of athletic eligibility, from the fraudulent classes and final grades they received?
-- Why did the athletics department fund an academic support program that was supposed to be run by the College of Arts and Sciences?