In UNC Case, No Watchdog for Major Academic Fraud

Oct 14, 2017 by

By Eric Kelderman –

In 2012, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill acknowledged that a widespread scheme of academic fraud had been taking place on its campus. Eventually a report revealed that more than 3,000 students had taken sham courses, over two decades, that gave generous grades for little or no coursework. Nearly half of those students were athletes at the university.

Now, some five years after that revelation, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has spared Chapel Hill from penalties in the case, saying it could not conclude that the university had actually violated the association’s rules.

The announcement that UNC had essentially avoided punishment served as a reminder that neither the NCAA nor the university’s accreditor has been willing or able to level an effective punishment, even for the kind of extraordinary shortfall that this scandal represents.

And that has left many observers in higher education frustrated over the reality that there is no adequate watchdog in such cases, and no penalties available beyond the shadow of public shame.

A report by the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions pointed to a “singular principle” that it said had guided its decision not to hand down penalties against the university. The question of whether fraud occurs, the panel said, is a question to be answered by the association’s member institutions, and not by the NCAA itself.

Source: In UNC Case, No Watchdog for Major Academic Fraud – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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