UNC: Football players focus of fraud

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Football players at North Carolina made up more than a third of enrollments in suspect classes within a department the school investigated for academic fraud.

The school said Tuesday football players represented 246 of 686 enrollments (36 percent) in the 54 courses within the Department of African and Afro-American Studies between summer 2007 and summer 2011. Those classes lacked appropriate supervision and were called "aberrant" or were "taught irregularly" with limited contact between instructors and students, according to a university report released Friday.

Men's basketball players represented 23 enrollments, roughly 3 percent, during that span.

The school's investigation found fraud and poor oversight, including unauthorized grade changes and reports of grade rolls with what appear to be forged faculty signatures. The report found no evidence of favorable treatment for student-athletes or grades awarded without written work.

The News and Observer of Raleigh first reported the athlete enrollment figures Monday.

The probe was a result of an NCAA investigation into the football program. In one of the suspect classes, a former football player wrote a research paper that later led to accusations of plagiarism.

The report directed blame toward the former department chairman and a now-retired administrator.

Julius Nyang'oro resigned as chairman last year and will retire in July. His name is on the grade rolls or he was listed as instructor for 43 courses considered aberrant or taught irregularly from 2007-09. He was also the instructor for the only two classes that qualify as taught irregularly after 2009, according to the report.

The administrator, Deborah Crowder, worked under Nyang'oro and wouldn't talk with school investigators. UNC found no aberrant courses or unauthorized grade changes after her September 2009 retirement, according to the report.