This is an A-minus paper?

 
University of North Carolina football players run onto the field in 2010. The University of North Carolina has been rocked by allegations of academic fraud in its athletic department

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The ongoing academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina's athletic department has been at a slow burn for months, as salacious bits of news have been unearthed by investigative journalists.

The latest piece of evidence that North Carolina (UNC) athletes were getting passing grades in their college courses with little or no work comes in the form of a "paper" on civil rights icon Rosa Parks, provided to the ESPN sports network by former UNC tutor turned whistleblower Mary Willingham.

Here's the text, in its entirety:

On the evening of December Rosa Parks decided that she was going to sit in the white people section on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During this time blacks had to give up there seats to whites when more whites got on the bus. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Her and the bus driver began to talk and the conversation went like this. "Let me have those front seats" said the driver. She didn't get up and told the driver that she was tired of giving her seat to white people. "I'm going to have you arrested," said the driver. "You may do that," Rosa Parks responded. Two white policemen came in and Rosa Parks asked them "why do you all push us around?" The police officer replied and said "I don't know, but the law is the law and you're under arrest.

The work was the final essay in a class for which an unnamed athlete received a grade of A-minus. (And as freelance writer Bryan Graham points out via Twitter, the piece was probably plagiarised from the first page of Rosa Parks' autobiography.)

According to the website of the UNC registrar's office, "A" level work requires:

Start Quote

Those who think that most big-time college athletes are at school first and foremost to be educated are fooling themselves”

End Quote Jordan Weissman Slate

Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment that can reasonably be expected of students at a given stage of development.

The A grade states clearly that the students have shown such outstanding promise in the aspect of the discipline under study that he/she may be strongly encouraged to continue.

With the college basketball tournament known as "March Madness" in full swing, the ESPN story received extensive media commentary.

"If this is the kind of education that student-athletes can get away with, then student-athlete is a totally meaningless term," writes the Washington Post's Alexandra Petri. "Student is already a meaningless enough term for the majority of the body. But this definitely does not amount to an A-. It doesn't even amount to a paper."

Slate's Jordan Weissman says that although UNC has been singled out for criticism, this is likely happening at all universities with high-profile college athletic programmes.

"Those who think that most big-time college athletes are at school first and foremost to be educated are fooling themselves," he writes. "They're there to work and earn money and prestige for the school."

A friend of mine who happens to be black recounted to me a joke told by liberal comedian Bill Maher last week, "March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the labour of unpaid black people."

The reality is the combination of race, sports and lots and lots money are turning college athletics in the US into a powder keg, and stories like the ones coming out of North Carolina have helped light the fuse.

The day after ESPN ran its piece last week, the federal National Labor Relations Board decided to allow athletes at Northwestern University in Illinois to proceed with their plans to unionise and collectively bargain with their school for greater benefits - possibly including financial compensation beyond tuition and room and board.

The notion that participants in major college sports are still "scholar-athletes" becomes more and more difficult to defend with each new revelation from schools like UNC.

Add in the mounting scientific evidence that high-contact sports like US football can cause long-term brain damage, and it seems increasingly likely that intercollegiate athletics, as it is now structured, is an unsustainable proposition.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 18.

    This type of 'paper' can be found at all major sports Universities. It is obvious the student is not college material. Such cheating keeps coaches in multi-million-dollar jobs. It keeps $-donating alumni happy when their school wins. The money runs the show in the US. I have had friends threatened with job loss if they didn't pass illiterate athletes. Most academics are aware of this fraud.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 17.

    True Story:
    My wife, a marketing professor in a Massachusetts University, had a student copy-paste an entire Wiki page. Including links.
    When asked about it, the student first denied it, then claimed that Wikipedia copied his "original work", then finally said that "He was never told that you could no copy from the Internet".
    My wife was told to give the student a C. (They are *Customers*)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 16.

    Bate: you can't divorce race from the issue of college athletics, the disproportionate representation simply won't allow it

    Majority of black people in America speak English and are American

    Majority of illegal immigrants in America speak Spanish and are Mexican or hispanic

    bate: Football is getting a lot of flak

    Everything that represents America is getting a lot of flak

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    American college football rakes in billions of dollars yet the costs of tuition are continuing to rise along with the national student debt; a debt shackling ACTUAL students.
    An overhaul on the privatized college system is much needed.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 14.

    Proposition 48 (NCAA), was created to prevent the above. But I guessing we may soon hear it was all an oversight.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 13.

    "Add in the mounting scientific evidence that high-contact sports like US football can cause long-term brain damage"

    Just a coincidence, but it's worth point out that UNC's sports science program has been leading this area of research for the past decade.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    LeadMyHeart: These students are raised in corruption, deception, and fraud

    USA since 2010 has implemented the Common Core standards
    in which many American parents have complained online these new standards are making their kids less smart
    such as teaching math equations stating 3 x 4 = 11

    http://news.yahoo.com/second-grader-revenge-against-common-core-math-day-141806961.html

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    Not really a surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in American collegiate sports.

    Although we hoped for better, everyone suspected the NCAA 'system' to be broken. The scandals over recruitment of players (who "can't be paid") is a joke. Sports programs bring $$$'s to colleges, so rules are bent.

    Transparency is long overdue.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    @1 you can't divorce race from the issue of college athletics, the disproportionate representation simply won't allow it.

    @7 Football is getting a lot of flak right now due to the recently revealed intental misleading players about the potential for long term brain damage by the NFL.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    These students are raised in corruption, deception, and fraud. What is expected of them when they hit the real life on the road?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Is this really a shock to anyone? Read the story of Chris Washburn, this has been going on for at least 30 years, possibly much longer and the only thing that has changed in the meantime is the amount of money involved. I think there’s a lot to be said for the NCAA collegiate system (look at the US athletics/swim teams) but student grade/payment controversies are an inevitable side effect.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    'that high-contact sports like US football can cause long-term brain damage'

    The majority of sports can cause long-term brain damage, not just football but also skiing, snowboarding, soccer, ect

    Everyone focuses on football because it is the most popular sport in America but I think to focus brain injuries solely on one sport is wrong as its not factual

    Surfing can also be very dangerous

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 6.

    Did the whistle-blower give the A-?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    I don't think this is just in college as it happens in high school, too

    Uber talented athletes often get treated favorably but so do rich kids, connected kids, ect

    Its not fair but its just kinda part of life

    That being said they are not being held to the same standards as everyone else which should be changed

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    Once again, making money takes precedence over absolutely everything else. There is nothing that won't be sacrificed on the altar of uncontrolled (and now uncontrollable) Capitalism - including the democracy itself.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 3.

    ...And your point is?
    The Beeb still taking potshots at the American way of life. Very Well.

    Wherever there is BIG MONEY there is inevitably corruption.
    Doesnt matter whether it be sports or politics, its what humans do.

    Most athletes suffer in the brain department anyway but perhaps the amount of income is disproportional. Its like giving a child the lottery winnings. Same end effect.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 2.

    "March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the labour of unpaid black people" : famously tweeted by Bill Maher, who is so very white. Now I'm wondering who this friend of yours who happens to be black is

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    A friend of mine who happens to be black joked last week, "March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the labour of unpaid black people"

    I hate how some people make issue about race- no matter what you talk about, they make everything about race every time

    America was founded on being an independent, sovereign nation

 

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