Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin will lead an independent review of additional academic irregularities that may have occurred before 2007 at the University of North Carolina, the school announced Thursday.
Carolina had originally reviewed 2007-11, but questions about the relationship between athletics and academics have continued. A transcript that appears to have been former football and basketball star Julius Peppers was on the UNC website and appeared on PackPride.com, an N.C. State sports fan site.
“Our focus every day remains on fixing the problems and ensuring they never happen again,” UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement.
Some students on campus Thursday night agreed about the importance of that.
“I don’t really know the full story behind everything, so I can’t really say whether it was needed or not, but I do think it’s commendable that they’re being so thorough in the investigation. So I guess if they do find anything, then I guess it wasn’t in vain," said Ladarian Smith, a junior.
“I think if there’s still some outstanding questions, then everything needs to be answered. Like they’re saying, it’s not really an NCAA issue, it’s more of an academic issue. So, as long as we’re keeping it controlled and just doing an in-depth investigation on campus, it’s fine,” said Reed Romine, a senior.
The scandal first broke July 15, 2010, when InsideCarolina.com first reported the NCAA was investigating the Carolina football program.
Throughout the investigation, UNC insisted it was cooperating fully, and that it was reviewing its procedures. But that raised questions outside the university about whether a school could successfully investigate itself. The UNC Board of Governors
The university said Thursday that it is implementing all of the recommendations in four previous campus reviews: a review of courses in the department, a report on the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, an Independent Study Task Force Report and a Faculty Executive Committee Report.
On Thursday, Thorp announced Martin will be involved. Martin, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, is a former Davidson College faculty member who served on faculty athletics and admissions committees. The former member of Congress also serves on the Board of Directors of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and as chairman and director of the Institute for Defense and Business based in Chapel Hill.
Martin will be assisted by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP, a national management consulting firm with extensive experience in academic performance procedures and controls. The conclusions will be provided to the UNC Board of Governors panel.
Thorp said the review would begin immediately.
In addition, Virchow, Krause & Company will review new academic performance policies, procedures and controls the university already has put in place in the African and Afro-American studies department, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Summer School “to ensure they represent best practices and, if not, to make specific recommendations for improvement,” the chancellor said. “We are determined to make sure that our internal controls are such that irregularities of the past will not recur.”
Thorp also has appointed Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), to help UNC-Chapel Hill examine the future relationship between academics and athletics on campus. Rawlings was president of the University of Iowa and Cornell University, holds degrees in classics including a Ph.D., and was a star men’s basketball player and baseball pitcher in college.
“Our goal is to engage the entire campus community in a meaningful discussion and analysis of the role of athletics in the life of the University,” Thorp said.
The university’s departmental course review found 54 questionable classes among 616 offered between summer 2007 and summer 2011.
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