Docs: NCAA Nixed Academic Fraud Recommendations

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In the wake of sweeping academic fraud at the University of North Carolina involving student-athletes, the NCAA recommended taking steps to better police academic fraud, especially in egregious cases. 

The Raleigh News & Observer reports, however, that those steps were quickly abandoned — despite having a plan to identify such cases.

University of Oregon president Michael Schill came up with a plan to identify academic fraud: allow a panel of university presidents not serving on any NCAA committees to do it. Leaving the decision on academic fraud to academics would, Schill argued, address concerns surrounding the appropriateness of NCAA officials determining academic fraud. 

That proposal failed to earn the support of the Division I Presidential Forum and the Division I Board of Directors, which declined to take up a proposed bylaw aimed at catching egregious academic misconduct. 

Records obtained by the News & Observer reveal that a compromise proposal, which would create a distinction between “egregious” and “non-egregious” cases and distinct procedures for each also failed to gain support from those committees. 

“Comments trended toward concern that such a provision would be unnecessary and that recent changes in the infractions process will capture systemic academic malfeasance,” a presidential forum steering committee report detailing the results of a forum vote. “As such, the Steering Committee decided not to submit the concept at this time.” 

Ellen Staurowsky, a sport management professor at Drexel University, told the News & Observer that the abandonment of the proposal suggests that NCAA members are worried about more fraud being revealed. 

“The fact that the association is so resistive to this kind of scrutiny suggests that there is so much (academic fraud) out there than they want to have revealed,” Staurowsky told the News & Observer.

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