North Carolina Academic Scandal: Documents Show Close Relationship Between Athletic Department and Professor

Julius Nyang'oro got to be on the UNC Sidelines

The African-American Studies Program at the University of North Carolina has been at the center of the academic scandal, as a result of several classes that did not require attendance. These “paper” classes allowed students to submit a paper at the end of the semester, and were a frequent target of athletes. That in and of itself would not be troublesome–word gets around at a school about certain classes to take, and students will gravitate there.

[RelatedNorth Carolina Academic Scandal: Why Did Basketball Players Stop Majoring in African and Afro-American Studies in 2009?]

The University has tried to pin the blame on fraudulent classes on the professor who headed the program, Julius Nyang’oro and his Department Manager, Debbie Crowder. However, correspondence obtained a year after a public records request by the Raleigh News & Observer shows a stronger relationship. Take for example this exchange between an academic adviser for athletes named Jaime Lee, and Nyang’oro.

“I failed to mention yesterday that Swahili 403 last summer was offered as a research paper course,” wrote Lee, who was helping football players at the time. “I meant to (ask), do you think this may happen again in the future?? If not the summer, maybe the fall?”

Nyang’oro responded: “Driving a hard bargain; should have known…..:)Will have to think about this, but talk to me….”

Nyang’oro did not schedule the Swahili class, but he did create another one for the summer. Later that day, he emailed Lee: “I have added AFAM 398 to our Summer Schedule….:).”

Lee responded with a similar emoticon: “:-) thanks! I appreciate that!”

[RelatedNCAA Ruling on North Carolina Academic Scandal Was to Protect the Basketball Program, Right?]

Another e-mail from an associate director of academic support for football players said “I hear you are doing me a big favor this semester and that I should be bringing you lots of gifts and cash???????”

Other e-mails show that athlete support counselors discuss giving food and football tickets to Nyang’oro and his family. One even references allowing him to be do some “guest coaching” by getting to come down to the sidelines during a game.

[RelatedNorth Carolina Academic Records Continue to Show Corrupt Culture that NCAA Will Ignore]

Surprisingly (sarcasm font) the internal investigation did not uncover these e-mails. This is the pattern. The University claims the investigation has been thorough, while using delay tactics to not release records. The records eventually show more. Rinse, repeat.

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