Disgraced former UNC professor indicted by grand jury

More shame and stain has come to the academic reputation of the University of North Carolina.

Julius Nyang’oro, the former UNC professor/chairman of the African studies program at the university, was indicted by a North Carolina grand jury on Monday. The basis of the charge was that Nyang'oro accepted $12,000 for not really ever doing his job/teaching specific classes for the money he was paid. This report comes via the Raleigh News & Observer.

Per the story, jail time for Nyang'oro is not a realistic possibility, should he be convicted. Nyang'oro became a centerpiece in the scandal for UNC-Chapel Hill, which conducted a number of internal investigations and discovered academic impropriety on behalf of its staff dated back to the 1990s.

Nyang'oro will be fighting the charge, according to his lawyer.

Because of the widespread academic issues within the school, the NCAA never came down on the athletic department and handed out punishments. The reason for this being: the NCAA does not consider itself responsible or appropriate to dole out punishment when academic fraud well exceeds the bounds of student-athletes, meaning when the problem isn't contained specifically to players, the NCAA sees that as a university issue, not an athletics one.

Athletes accounted for just under half of the grade changes. Athletes enrolled in the classes in disproportionate numbers. They made up 45 percent of the enrollments, despite representing less than five percent of the student body. The football team had the highest number of athletic enrollments, with the men’s basketball team a distant second.
But UNC officials and the probe they commissioned that was led by former Gov. Jim Martin found that athletics did not play a role in the fraud because non-athletes had the same access to the classes and received the same grades. They also found no evidence that athletic officials played a part in setting up the classes.
The 2011 summer class at the heart of the SBI investigation into Nyang’oro also had strong ties to athletics. Nyang’oro created the class, AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina, a few days before the summer semester began. It quickly filled with 19 students – 18 of them football players, the other a former football player. UNC records show Nyang’oro was expected to teach the class, but it never met. “
The allegation is that he was paid to teach a face-to-face, lecture-style class and he accepted and kept $12,000 for that, when in fact he didn’t teach that class in a face-to-face, lecture-style manner,” (District Attorney Jim) Woodall said Monday.

The investigation by Woodall is more to the criminal notion than specifically dealing with UNC's academic problems. Woodall's report notes Nyang’oro eventually paid back that 12K by way of docked pay from UNC. He resigned in August of 2011.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories