UNC Chair Fired Over No-Show Classes Was Close to Athletes' Academic Counselors

June 11, 2013

The former department chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was widely blamed for no-show classes and grade inflation that may have helped many athletes remain eligible was offered gifts like football tickets and scheduled classes for athletes' academic counselors, potentially undercutting claims by Chancellor Holden Thorp and an internal investigation's findings that the classes were not designed to benefit athletes. E-mails obtained by the Raleigh News & Observer show that Julius Nyang'oro, who retired under pressure in July, scheduled no-show classes at the behest of academic support staff, who steered athletes to those classes, the newspaper previously reported.

Thorp and other officials have maintained that the systemic scandal, which dates to 1997, was an academic and not athletic one because about half the students enrolled in the classes were non-athletes. Additionally, the National Collegiate Athletic Association declined to punish UNC for the scandal because there were no explicit NCAA rules violations; the "extra benefits" were not provided strictly on the basis of students' status as athletes.

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