UNC investigating how possible Peppers transcript ended up on website

Was Peppers whole transcript online? (US Presswire)

Over the weekend, Dan Kane of the Raleigh News & Observer wrote an article entitled "UNC reluctant to dig deeper on scandal." In that article, Kane mentions a "test transcript" on UNC's website that the university claims is a made-up transcript, but which, as Kane writes, bears a remarkable resemblance to that of an athlete.

It turns out, the resemblance is more than coincidental: the transcript in question is actually appears to be that of current Chicago Bears star Julius Peppers. Members of the message board community PackPride.com discovered remarkable similarities between Peppers' academic career and the fake academic career of "Test One Jones."

The similarities could be dismissed as incredibly coincidental. However one of the pages currently indexed on UNC's website features an entire college career's transcript under the heading "Grade Summary for Peppers, Julius Frazier."

The grades for Peppers are nearly identical, semester-by-semester, with those of Test One Jones, the made-up transcript. Both pages were removed from UNC's website on Monday morning. The N&O preserved a copy (.PDF) of the test transcript as part of their investigation into UNC. A screenshot of the purported Peppers transcript is below:

Peppers purported transcript has now been washed from the web. (UNC.edu)

One theory as to how Peppers' name appears is this: UNC created a set of web pages for demonstration purposes and based the hypothetical student off of Peppers' time at UNC. But whoever created the model likely simply forgot to scrub Peppers' name off of one page, and now Peppers' alleged transcript is up on full view for the world at UNC's website.

UNC has previously declined comment on specific transcripts, citing protection under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It is possible that either Peppers waived his FERPA rights or posting his transcript wouldn't cause any sort of violation of said protection. Around noon on Monday, UNC issued a statement regarding the transcript that was posted online.

The Associated Press reported Monday that North Carolina is investigating how this transcript ended up on the school's website.

"Student academic records should never be accessible to the public, and the University is investigating reports of what appears to be a former student transcript on the University’s website," UNC officials said in a statement released by the school. "The University has removed that link from the website. University officials are prohibited from discussing confidential student information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act."

It is also possible that the transcript in question is not that of Julius Peppers. However, an ESPN article by Tom Friend on Peppers and then academic advisor (and now agent) Carl Carey details Peppers struggles in a specific class -- Drama 15 -- during the first semester of his freshman year. That class is accurately reflected on the transcript displayed.

This transcript is particularly interesting because of the number of "Independent Study" courses in Afro-American Studies that Peppers, who played at UNC from 1999 to 2001, attended.

The university previously investigated 54 similar classes, which took place from 2007 to 2011, for academic fraud and determined that said classes were "aberrant."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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