UNC Scandal Lessons Being Ignored ???

    UNC Old Well
    BobLee
    December14/ 2015

    In the wake of “The Greatest Academic/Athletics Scandal in Recorded History”, has UNC-CH and its fellow UNC System institutions truly mended its scandalous ways and embarked on a new era of academic integrity or is it “business as usual” behind those UNC Old Wellivy-covered walls? ….. Research done by The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy indicates the latter.

    Numerous “Exceptions” to minimal academic standards continue to be rubber-stamped by UNCCH Admissions for “student-athletes” in Football.

    While such “wink wink” exceptions were not the primary subject of The Wainstein Report, the admission of athletes lacking college-entry level academic prowess (and a lack of serious interest in developing any academic prowess) led to the “paper classes” and other “creative class scheduling & grading”….. a/k/a “Eligibility majors”.

    NOTE:  Our resident “academic-political gadfly” THEBobKennel warns us to summarily reject any/all data coming thru any organization linked to Eeeeevil Art Pope… so by Kennelian Decree, I suppose we must reject these findings too. …. hehehehehe.

    OK, you actually are NOT bound by anything BK says.  I certainly am not.   🙂

    ###

     

    The Biggest Lesson from the UNC Academic Scandal Has Been Ignored

    By Jesse Saffron and Jenna A. Robinson

    The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

    http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=3299

    1 Comment

    December 14, 2015

    For several years, North Carolina higher education news has been dominated by a massive scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The most comprehensive account to date, based on an investigation conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein, revealed that for nearly two decades, systemic academic and athletics fraud had corrupted one of the most prestigious public universities in America.

    The scandal not only brought shame to the state’s flagship university, but it also forced the school chancellor, a head coach, several department heads, and others out of their jobs. In an 18-year span (1993–2011), more than 3,100 UNC-CH athletes and non-athletes took “no-show” classes and received good grades for shoddy—and often plagiarized—papers. Some faculty, administrators, and academic support specialists participated in the scam, which among other things allowed 329 athletes to keep their eligibility. Other officials were aware of this wrongdoing, but opted to remain silent.

    Following such revelations, university leaders in Chapel Hill and the system pledged to right those wrongs and usher-in a new era of accountability and integrity. 

    Unfortunately, it appears that no such “golden age” will materialize. A new report on the state’s intercollegiate athletics UNC Admissionsprograms produced by the UNC system’s general administration shows that the hardest lesson from the largest academic scandal in NCAA history is being ignored. Athletes with weak academic skills continue to be admitted to universities where they have little chance of successfully completing rigorous coursework.

    In fact, universities seem to be going in the wrong direction.

    In the 2012-13 academic year, 23 athletes in the UNC system received admissions standards exceptions, meaning they failed to meet system-wide minimum admissions requirements (800 combined math and reading SAT scores and 2.5 high school GPA). Another 22 received course requirement exceptions, meaning they failed to complete college-track language, math, and science courses in high school.

    In the wake of a protracted scandal defined by its academic impropriety and low standards, one would expect such exceptions to end or at least decline. Instead, the system’s latest athletics report shows that 49 recruited athletes were admitted to UNC institutions with admissions standards exceptions in 2014-15. And 32 athletes were admitted despite their not meeting minimum course requirements. Over 25 percent of the minimum admissions requirement exceptions were made by UNC-CH and NC State University—schools with the most celebrated athletics programs in the state system.

    While those exceptions are cause for concern, some of the academic profiles of students who do meet systemwide admissions standards are equally alarming. For example, the report indicates that for the 2014-15 year, the average SAT of football players at UNC-CH was 982, while their average high school core course GPA was 3.29. This is a decline from the 2012-13 academic year, in which those averages were 1060 and 3.43, respectively.

    East Carolina University—which competes in Division IA, the top tier of college athletics—also has experienced serious declines. In the past two years, entering ECU football players’ average GPA fell from 3.1 to 2.8, and SAT scores dipped from 946 to 897. At other schools in the UNC system, there has been a mix of backsliding and improvement. At NC State, for instance, basketball players’ average GPA fell from 3.14 in 2012-13 to 2.87 in 2014-15, but their average SAT score rose from 780 to 930. (One wonders, however, whether that increase resulted from just one or two good students.)

    To understand the severity of these athletes’ academic ill-preparation, it helps to compare their SAT scores and high school GPAs to those of the general student body, which are often much more competitive, and to the standards recommended by the College Board that creates and administers the SAT. For if an athlete is not ready to compete academically at a particular university, he or she will not—and, in fact, should not—perform well if that institution is maintaining high academic standards.

    A 2010 report produced by the College Board found that, to be “college ready,” or to have “at least a 65 percent probability of obtaining a B- (or 2.67 or higher first year grade point average),” a student needs to score a combined 1030 on the math and verbal portions of the SAT and have a 3.33 high school GPA—a “B” average—after completing courses of average difficulty.

    In the 2014-15 year, the average SAT score for non-athletes in the UNC system was 1105. For football players, it was 902. And the gap in educational preparedness is even more acute at the system’s top-tier schools. At UNC-CH, where non-athletes’ average SAT score is 1308 and average high school GPA is 4.63, the football players’ average SAT score of 982 and average GPA of 3.29 seem to pale in comparison. This raises the question of whether those players can successfully complete one semester, much less four years of high-level coursework.

    “How, if you throw in another 20 or 30 hours per week of football practice, can someone with a 982 make it through school?” asked UNC system Board of Governors member Marty Kotis at last week’s Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs committee meeting, at which the athletics report was a topic of discussion.

    UNC-Chapel Hill’s Chancellor, Carol Folt, responded with a standard but fallacious explanation: “I think if you look at SATs, you are probably looking at something that is not a very good predictor, so we’ve started looking at GPAs more. SATs are notoriously biased against certain students. [Every] student in all of our institutions tends to have an individualized advising program—that is where we have to start looking.”

    Folt’s comment about the lack of predictive ability of SAT scores is refuted by mounting empirical evidence. As just one example, a recent study of 150,000 students from 110 colleges—summarized in this Slate article by psychology professors David Z. Hambrick and Christopher Chabris—found that SAT and high school GPA are on par in terms of their ability to predict first-year college GPA. But the best prediction, the authors of the study concluded, is obtained by using both SAT and GPA.

    Furthermore, SAT scores and GPAs tend to be strongly correlated. In most cases in the UNC athletics report, when GPA falls significantly, SAT scores fall and vice versa.

    And when we consider the problem of grade inflation at the high school level, and the fact that almost all Chapel Hill applicants have high GPAs, the need for some objective measure of student ability becomes clear.

    The notion implied in Folt’s comments, that increased hand-holding via academic counseling or other interventions will ameliorate “student-athletes’” academic shortcomings, is also highly debatable. When athletes are only able to navigate their way through coursework by being coddled by advisors, professors, and administrators, it becomes necessary to ask whether the purpose is education or eligibility.

    Too often, the real answer is that such programs are intended to keep top athletes eligible at all costs, even if they can’t do the work. An institution that knowingly participates in such chicanery loses its claims to having academic integrity.

    To be fair, UNC-CH and other universities deserve some credit for implementing policies designed to reduce the likelihood of a second scandal. For instance, UNC schools now conduct “course cluster” analysis to determine if too many athletes are flocking into easy classes or independent studies.

    Also, in 2014-15, every UNC school satisfied the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate standards—something that hadn’t happened in five years. (Of course, that may merely mean they have better learned to “game” the system.)

    Still, the latest data from the UNC system suggest that higher education leaders in North Carolina refuse to accept the primary cause of the academic fraud scandal: the recruitment of students valued more for their abilities on the field than for their abilities in the classroom. Almost all of the corruption that we’ve witnessed at UNC in recent years has stemmed from just such recruitment.

    On the surface, 2015 has been a good year for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the summer, officials announced that in the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30, the school had raked-in a record $447 million in donations.

    And on December 5, its football team almost beat number one-ranked Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Despite that loss, coach Larry Fedora, who recently signed a 7-year, $13.7 million contract extension, could take credit for leading UNC to its first 12-win season if it defeats Baylor University in the Russell Athletic Bowl later this month.

    So long as the donations keep flowing and the sports wins keep piling up, it’s far-fetched to expect North Carolina’s public universities to adequately police themselves. That’s why, if universities continue to abdicate their responsibilities, the system’s Board of Governors must get involved. At the very least, it can end universities’ practice of admitting students whose SAT scores and GPAs fall below the system-wide minimum admissions standards.

    Intercollegiate Athletics Report 2

    ###

    BobLee
    • TJ Reply
      4 years ago

      Why is it so hard for graduates from any school with a big time athletic program to admit that the vast majority of these four and five star recruits are gladiators toiling on the courts and fields while mom and/or dad are being romanced at home by some agent flashing visions of big bucks at them. The term student athlete has little meaning now.

      Classroom shenanigans have to happen to enable some to stay at least one year and many times these are the kids that get into trouble. The power conferences office sites have to follow the lead of the old line manufacturing companies that had signs at the front gate stating “86 days without an accident.” The ACC sign now says “34 days without a felony.”

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        #1 Rule Of Flaming Hypocrite Fans: When it’s “our players” who get caught they are “good kids” who caught a bad break and need 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th chances “because” ….
        .
        When it’s our hated rivals’ players who get caught they are “hardened criminals” who are a threat to society and must be “put away immediately. …. 🙂

    • wolfdon Reply
      4 years ago

      i guess I must share a bit of BK paranoia, could have sworn the opening paragraph of your intro contained specifically NCSU along with UNC and followed with system schools ……oh well. The Pope Center article is interesting and of course reinforces the scandal across the UNC system. when it comes to big time money sports. We know for sure that such scandal exist across the entire NCAA spectrum for that matter. So what is new and to what degree does the PTB at most schools really give a damn. Still you all will have to cut us some slack when the topic of scandal is addressed in such broad terms……., the TGU seems so unique from the standpoint of outright cheating and the ramifications with regard to SACS and NCAA and the hypocrisy of it all that we ABCers don’t want any confusion as to which Scandal is paramount these days. 🙂

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Then you and BK both need to visit Lens Crafters. I was referencing the Pope Center article but if you want to hold me liable for their words, have at it.

        • wolfdon Reply
          4 years ago

          will make appointment to lens crafters pronto…..:)

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            Take Kennel and see if they give two-fers.
            .
            I got to thinking about what you thought you saw. I’m wondering if you are confusing the two articles on similar subjects. I DO mention NC State in my comments re: the student fees subsidy. But NOT in the TGU column. … Don, I am very much aware of how “knee-jerk twitchy” State fans are about being broad brushed into the UNC-CH mess. BK being the ultimate personification of “knee jerk twitchy” on all matters NCSU. Thats why I would NOT do it, despite what BK’s red-colored glasses think they see. You might want to set The Pope Center straight on the differences between the two institutions.

            • wolfdon
              4 years ago

              thanks for the added comments….

            • BobLee
              4 years ago

              You’re welcome. 🙂

    • MaryLou Reply
      4 years ago

      Is “58WolfKennel” nuts?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        I don’t diagnose insanity. I just enjoy it when it manifests itself in Reader Comments. Mr Kennel is VERY passionate about his various passions.

    • RB Reply
      4 years ago

      How did he Kennel think that article was about NC State?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        You’ll have to ask him. When one occupies his own planet in his own universe pretty much everything is about him… I can usually predict BK’s responses. This one did cause me to blink. 🙂

    • 58 Wolf Kennel Reply
      4 years ago

      BL, both you and your Pope friends go beyond the “everybody” does it. mantra. You are trending toward specifics. First lines in both writings have to do with whether UNC-CH and NC State will learn something. I say hogwash !!
      NC State is certainly not perfect, but I have been close over the past 25 years as to how State does their admissions, how they manage their Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (reporting to Provost, not AD), and how they work with some that do slip through the crack. That’s one reason that Derreck Whittenburg has just been added to the AD staff to reach out to all those former players who left for whatever reason (pro’s, family, flunk, etc) to come back and get their last 20 hours or so. Debbie has asked me to work with him as well, so I’m not “gad-flying” on this.
      My simple point is that neither you, nor Marty K, nor BOG, nor Pope writers should ever put UNC-CH and NC State in the same sentence on the upchuck of this Carolina TGU mess.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        NOTE To Readers: As always Bob Kennel’s opinions are posted unedited.
        .
        FWIW, I don’t know the authors of this article so “your Pope friends” is hyperbolic… as is often the case in your impassioned contributions here. I make no mention of NC State in my comments. The article itself does mention NC State as well as several other System schools. Bob, perhaps you should take out your self-righteous indignation on them.

        • Doug Reply
          4 years ago

          I understand his concern. I mean how can a news article just appear out of thin air that wasn’t first pre-approved and stamped as valid by the McClatchy/Goodman news machine. 😀

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            BK is “a character”. 🙂

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      I guess this is another way of saying “everybody does it” but what it boils down to is that UNC-CH athletics is competing against every other peer institution to sign the top 100-150 athletes. Not students. Not too much of an exaggeration to assert that Harvard would somehow make room for some of them too because they also think, “these kids deserve an opportunity and will be alright once we get them into our program.”

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        “Once we get him into our program” is the mantra EVERY recruiter tells his HC when he has a blue-chipper with “an attitude”. It is a standing joke within every FB staff. It translates into – “he is a loose hand grenade that will likely be dead or in C Block before he’s 25, but maybe we can get a few dozen QB sacks from him before then….” … Juggernaut FB is sooooo nasty!

        • Doug Reply
          4 years ago

          Just my opinion. UNC-CH’s greatest sin was not “cheating.” It was the Carolina Way propaganda machine that rammed (pun intended) TCW down everyone’s throat for 25+ years. Being a UNC supporter, I cringed every time I heard it. Now that the mess has blown up, every step made and that will be made will be examined under a very powerful microscope for decades. Funny, after all that’s happened, they still don’t get it and probably never will.

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            The blatant stoopidity of TCW is why I have estranged myself from my alma mater. Alas it – TCW – is ingrained so deeply in the Baby Boomer faction of UNCers that it cannot be “cut out” without destroying the host. Their investment in TCW is “who they are” to denounce it is to denounce “who they have been” for 30-40-50 years. …. you are correct. “They” will never get it.

    • fayettewuf Reply
      4 years ago

      What is apparent to most people who have any interest at all in this situation is that if UNC had owned up to the past completely, tossed a few middlemen under the bus, vacated some wins, slapped themselves on the wrist and promised never ever to do it again, the athletic program would be going at close to full speed by now. Instead they chose the most disastrous PR strategy I have ever seen. Lesson? The PTB over there remind me of the tee shirt about drinking tequila. Something about how many shots it took to become good-looking, rich and bullet proof.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        No one – except themselves – has ever said the UNC PTBs / Admins have performed admirably at any point in this mess… or shows any indication of ever doing so.

    • GWC Reply
      4 years ago

      Does the Pope Fdtn.’s “Carolina Journal” really want to deny five or six athletes a year ( per school ) who don’t meet UNC’s or N.C. State’s basic admission requirements , but are vetted by an “academic entrance committee” , the opportunity to give it a try ? Keep in mind these recent high school grads are likely eligible at more than two hundred other NCAA schools whose standards don’t exceed the NCAA norms . TGU and “paper classes” aside , and hopefully addressed , surely both State and Carolina have legit counseling and tutorial programs to help a young athlete catch up , learn , grow and make something of him/herself beyond the b-ball court or football field . Keeping such academic support programs above board and on the “up and up” must be the responsibility of the BOG or BOT’s . If we let these students in as exceptions , and “use” them on the athletic fields wearing our colors , we owe them a good shot at a university education . BUT , If we’re not willing to make that commitment to them , then not one student applicant below normal school entrance standards should be accepted . The sign in the antique store says it pretty well , “You break it , you own it !” In this case , ” You take him/her , you educate her/him ! ” Even Art P. might agree with that approach IF adult supervision guaranteed !

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Now you are getting at the heart of Mary Willingham’s concerns… that UNC was NOT that interested in “educating” as much as “keeping eligible”. She is 100% in favor of giving deserving young men “a chance and a helping hand” but not simply “a grade” to stay eligible. … The REAL Purpose of the UNC Athletc Support Dept is the issue in debate.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.