Cheating in UNC Football Program Sparks Criminal Probe

News from the Charlotte Observer of a suspicious summer course offering at UNC-Chapel Hill shows that a class with no instruction time was created just days before the summer semester began which was filled exclusively with football players.

The records show that in the summer of 2011, 19 students signed up for AMFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina. 18 of these students were current football players; the other man was a former player. Post #2 criminal image 6.28.jpgThe players had the support of their academic advisors who knew there would be no actual instruction. The whole affair is now the subject of a full scale criminal investigation.

Additional records show that football and basketball players made up a majority of nine other suspect classes in which professors listed as instructors deny ever teaching. They are also claiming that their signatures were forged on records related to the courses. This amounts to significant evidence of academic fraud taking place at UNC. An internal search discovered there were 54 such classes, all but nine of which were taught by Julius Nyang’oro, the longtime chairman of the African and Afro-American Studies Department. In each course the students were given one assignment, such as writing a term paper, and told to turn it in at the end of the summer term.

Bubba Cunningham, the current athletic director hired since the scandal took place has said that he is troubled by the news. “I just think this has uncovered some information that quite frankly, the university, we’re not proud of,” he said in an interview. “But we’ll continue to work to ensure that it doesn’t happen going forward.”

The issue began as a result of an investigation into the summer pay Nyang’oro received for the AMFAM 280 course. The search uncovered evidence that the university had paid the professor the standard fee for such a course, $12,000, but that it was contingent on the course being taught in lecture format. Nyang’oro decided to change the course to an independent study. The school is now trying to get the money paid out to the professor back.

Nyang’oro resigned as chairman of the department last September as UNC began an investigation into numerous independent studies and other suspicious course offerings in his department. He had been the department’s only chairman and earned as much as $171,000 per year.

The information has come to light thanks to an investigation by the NCAA that began two years ago regarding improper financial and academic benefits for football players. The investigation culminated with a one-year bowl game ban and the loss of five football scholarships per year for the next three years.

If you or someone you know needs to speak to a North Carolina criminal defense attorney about any criminal matter, please do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704-370-2828.

C football players flocked to suspect class,” by Dan Kane and Andrew Carter, published at

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