Wainstein follow-up

Still digesting some of the implications of the report. Here are a few more items of interest: 1) the report states that both John Bunting, head football coach from 2001-2006, and Butch Davis, head football coach from 2007-2010, knew about the paper classes. From the report:

“Coach Bunting also candidly told us that he knew about the AFAM paper classes, and fully understood that they could be satisfied by submitting a paper without any class attendance. He knew that they yielded consistently high grades for his players, and was told by ASPSA counselor Cynthia Reynolds that they were a key element of her strategy for keeping some players eligible. He had not realized, however, that an office administrator was managing the classes without any faculty involvement. In short, Coach Bunting knew the irregular courses were available and knew they were being used to help keep some players eligible, but believed that they were worthwhile classes.”

About Davis, the report stated:

“he certainly knew by the time of the November 2009 presentation from Beth Bridger that football players in these courses “didn’t go to class… didn’t take notes… didn’t have to meet with professors… [and] didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material.”

It’s striking that Bunting, in particular, had a level of awareness of the paper class system, when he led a program comprising over 100 players at any one time, that the head basketball coach, with about fifteen players at any one time, apparently lacked. 2) one very significant area of difference between the 2012 Martin report and the Wainstein report is this:

“Governor Martin found that ‘[t]he percentage of student-athletes enrolled in anomalous course sections was consistent with the percentage of student-athletes enrolled in all courses offered  by the Department.’ After a comprehensive examination of the Registrar records, we came up with a very different statistical picture. We found that student-athletes accounted for 48% of all enrollments in the irregular classes, but only 8.3% of the enrollments in the regular AFAM  courses. Accordingly, unlike Governor Martin, we found that student-athletes were far more represented in paper classes than they were in other courses offered by the department.”

The Martin narrative suggested that student-athletes were drawn to AFAM in part because it was a generally easy major and that it was something of an added bonus that the department offered a particularly accommodating route for players to complete their work. By contrast, the Wainstein report suggests that the attraction of student-athletes to AFAM wasn’t primarily because it was a slide major in general. Indeed, the gap in GPA between the paper classes and regular AFAM courses was substantial. The clustering in AFAM among athletes, it seems clear, resulted specifically from the introduction and extension of a parallel curriculum comprising bogus classes. At UNC, that bogus curriculum happened to be housed in AFAM. In other similar scandals, like those at Auburn and the University of Michigan, key offending departments were sociology and psychology, respectively. But the existence of the parallel curriculum in AFAM at UNC really had little to nothing to do with the nature and rigor of AFAM generally. 3) Two additional pieces of data from the report struck me: a) Per Wainstein: “Of 154 students who enrolled in five or more [non-independent study paper classes], 109 (70.8%) were student-athletes.” This cohort didn’t merely rely on paper classes for the occasional breather. Instead, paper classes were essential to their ability to graduate or, at a minimum, maintain eligibility. b) of the 3,900+ student enrollments in the paper classes, about 47% were athletes, when athletes make up about four percent of the student body. Even more disproportionate, football and basketball players accounted for nearly 25% of paper class enrollments. Their proportion of the student body – about seven-tenths of one percent.


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