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A look back at previous cases of academic fraud

Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden speaks to the media during the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C., Monday, July 23, 2007. Florida State was forced to vacate wins in 10 sports from footbal to swimming to basketball. The NCAA put the school on on probation for four years in an academic fraud case that involved 61 athletes and three university employees in 2006 and 2007.
Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden speaks to the media during the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C., Monday, July 23, 2007. Florida State was forced to vacate wins in 10 sports from footbal to swimming to basketball. The NCAA put the school on on probation for four years in an academic fraud case that involved 61 athletes and three university employees in 2006 and 2007. AP

Florida State University3 employees, misconduct spanned 2 years, 61 athletes

FSU was forced to vacate wins in 10 sports, including football, swimming and basketball. The NCAA put the school on probation for four years in an academic fraud case that involved 61 athletes and three university employees in 2006 and 2007.

The fraud involved three employees of the Athletics Academic Support Services: a learning specialist, an academic adviser and a tutor who aided athletes improperly.

University of Minnesota

3 employees, 18 athletes, 4 years

On the eve of the NCAA basketball tournament in 1999, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that a former tutor and office manager for the basketball team had written hundreds of papers for players.

The NCAA found that Jan Gangelhoff completed coursework for at least 18 basketball players. Former academic adviser Alonzo Newby arranged the work with the knowledge of coach Clem Haskins.

The NCAA put the team on probation for four years and vacated all tournament records of the players and team for four seasons, including 1997, when the Golden Gophers won the Big Ten title and made the NCAA Final Four for the first time. Haskins’ record was also stripped of the tournament victories and any mention of the Final Four appearance.

University of Georgia

1 coach, 3 players, 1 year

The scandal centered around assistant basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr., son of head coach Jim Harrick.

Harrick Jr. fraudulently awarded A’s to three basketball players in a course he was teaching, “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball.” The NCAA described it as “a sham class.” One player never went to class, while the other two attended a few times. None took a final exam. The NCAA put the Georgia basketball team on probation for four years and cut back on scholarships.

Purdue University1 coach, 1 player, 1 year

In 2007, the NCAA placed Purdue on probation for two years after finding that a former assistant women’s basketball coach helped a former player commit academic fraud by writing two papers for the student and later lied about it to investigators. The school lost two of its 15 scholarships that year.

The NCAA did not bring academic misconduct penalties in two cases in the last decade involving high numbers of independent studies to which athletes flocked. Officials at the University of Michigan asserted the classes were legitimate, open to all students and not created to specifically benefit athletes, while Auburn University officials noted athletes made up a minority of enrollments.

But not all cases of academic misconduct brought NCAA sanctions. In 1981, professor Jan Kemp complained that the University of Georgia had intervened so that nine football players passed a remedial English course that they had failed. The players remained eligible to play in that season’s Sugar Bowl.

The university later fired Kemp. She sued; a federal jury found the university had illegally fired her and awarded her $2.5 million. The award was later reduced to $1 million.

More recently, The New York Times reported in 2006 that Auburn University’s sociology department chairman was allowing football players to take independent study-style classes that required little or no work, boosting their grade-point averages and helping them maintain their eligibility on the field.

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