Posts tagged ‘UNC’

UNC Avoids Athletic Sanctions By Arguing their African-American Studies Dept. Had Staggeringly Low Academic Standards

Well, it appears the common Conservative critique that many university race and gender programs have really low standards has a new supporter:  The University of North Carolina.  UNC successfully argued that it was not giving its athletes special treatment in the African-American studies department -- they had low standards for all students in that department.

A years-long probe into widespread academic fraud in North Carolina’s athletic program, including its storied basketball powerhouse, reached an unexpected end on Friday when the NCAA announced it would not issue major sanctions against the school.

The prolonged investigation focused on a major at the university, African and Afro-American Studies, where about 1,500 athletes over 18 years took advantage to make good grades with little to no work involved. The university’s defense did not focus on the legitimacy of the courses—the NCAA said “generally, the facts of this case are not in dispute.”

UNC instead argued that any problem was university wide, not limited to the athletic department, because the courses were available to all students. On Friday, the NCAA accepted the university’s explanation. .

“A Division I Committee on Infractions hearing panel could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules when it made available deficient Department of African and Afro-American Studies ‘paper courses’ to the general student body, including student-athletes,” the NCAA said Friday.

Greg Sankey, the head of the Southeastern Conference who was the chief hearing officer on the panel, said athletes “likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’” but that “the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes.”

Just so we are clear exactly what we are talking about, UNC freely admits, in fact desperately argues, that it was offering courses like this:

UNC’s surprising defense focused on its own systemic shortcomings. It said that the problems were so fundamental at the school, it wasn’t actually an NCAA issue, and therefore wasn’t for the NCAA to govern. One estimate said athletes made up about half of the roughly 3,100 students who participated in the classes.

These classes were generally portrayed and shown to be fake for the most part. The NCAA, in its decision, said the classes did not require attendance. The students rarely, “if at all” interacted with a faculty member. The classes typically required one paper where the person who graded it admitted she did not read them in the entirety. These classes, the NCAA said, had “liberal grading.”

For reference, the entire UNC system (not just this location) consumes about 12.5% of the entire North Carolina state budget.

Update:  I was thinking over the weekend about whether this really horrible level of education for the money could be considered racist, since a substantially disproportionate number of the students in this department are black.  If one argues that the value of college is in the education itself, then it is preposterously racist, particularly since it hurts minorities at other colleges by reinforcing the general stereotype of low academic standards in race studies programs.  If one argues that the value of college is only in the degree itself - the piece of paper - I suppose one could consider this affirmative action.

Increased Education Spending Going to Administrators

For years, I have suspected that a lot of increased per pupil spending in public schools has gone to increasing numbers of administrators rather than teachers or facilities.  I just have to compare the administration numbers at my kids private school and those at the local public school and the contrast is just amazing.

Mark Perry demonstrates a similar effect in state-run college education:

This decade has been good for associate vice chancellors at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their numbers have nearly doubled, from 10 to 19, and the money paid to them has more than tripled, to a total of nearly $4 million a year. The university now admits that some of these people were in jobs that were not vital. They represent the rapid management growth in the 16-campus UNC system that has added tens of millions of dollars to annual payrolls.

Now, with a tough economy and sinking tax revenues, UNC officials and state lawmakers say these jobs need cutting first.

Systemwide over the past five years, the administrative ranks have grown by 28%, from 1,269 administrative jobs to 1,623 last year, UNC-system data show. That's faster than the growth of faculty and other teaching positions -- 24% -- and faster than student enrollment at 14%. The number of people with provost or chancellor in their titles alone has increased by 34% the past five years, from 312 in 2004 to 418 last year. The cost was $61.1 million, up $25 million from five years before.

Perry also show similar numbers in his own university in Michigan.

Kudos to the UNC system for at least considering cuts in these bloated administrator positions.  You never see public grade schools systems ever suggest such cuts - when forced to economize, they always suggest cutting something inflammatory like textbooks for high school or crayons for kindergarteners.  One difference is that UNC faces competition from a myriad of other public and private colleges, while most local grade school districts do not.

I would still like to find similar staffing numbers for our local public school district, breaking out teachers from principals, assistant principals, and administrators, but they seem loath to share such detail.

Bracket Challenge Update

With just three games to go in the tournament, here are the standings:

3 games remaining Must wins for best finish

(125 total)


Final Few Champion
1 (109) Jeff Charleston 1 (25%) 13 (12.5%) Kansas Kansas
2 (108) Ron Gallagher 1 (12.5%) 11 (12.5%) UNC UCLA UCLA
3 (107) Kevin Clary #2 1 (12.5%) 18 (25%) Kansas UCLA UCLA
4 (104) Craig 1 (12.5%) 21 (25%) UNC Memphs UNC
5 (104) Jeff Charleston #2 1 (12.5%) 19 (12.5%) UNC UCLA UNC
6 (103) Jeffrey Peterson 2 (12.5%) 21 (12.5%) UNC UCLA UNC
7 (102) Stan Brown 13 (25%) 32 (12.5%) Kansas UCLA
8 (101) briain's 2 (12.5%) 25 (12.5%) UNC UCLA UCLA
9 (100) Bennett Johnsen 2 (12.5%) 34 (12.5%) Kansas Memphs Kansas
10 (100) Tom Kirkendall 1 (12.5%) 29 (12.5%) UNC Memphs Memphs
11 (100) Wade Condict #2 11 (12.5%) 35 (12.5%) Kansas Memphs Memphs
12 (100) Nathan Lambert 3 (12.5%) 35 (12.5%) Kansas UCLA UCLA
13 (99) Andy Nemenoff 4 (12.5%) 33 (12.5%) UNC Memphs UNC
14 (99) Keith Ehlers 1 (12.5%) 39 (12.5%) Kansas Memphs Memphs
15 (97) Warren Meyer #2 5 (12.5%) 47 (12.5%) Kansas Memphs Kansas

I had show the top 15, of course, just to sneak myself in.  In fact, there are still 6 people who can win.  If you think of the three games yielding 8 possible game outcomes,  Jeff Charleston wins on three of those outcomes, and Ron Gallagher, Kevin Clary, Craig, Tom Kirkendall and Keith Ehlers each will win if one specific combination comes up.

Bracketology Update

Not many people predicted to 12-13 matchups in the second round, but if they had, they would have runup some nice points given our upset-bonus in the scoring system.  Here are the standings to date, which I reproduce only because, well, I am in them:

Bracket Rank Points Correct Games Upset Risk % Possible Games
Jeff Charleston 1 74 37 16.7 52
hopeful 2 71 34 23.4 44
Keith Ehlers 3 70 36 16.7 48
Warren Meyer #2 4 70 33 21.4 46
Ron Gallagher 5 69 36 10.8 47
Nicholas Stergion ii 6 69 32 35.3 43
Dawn Werner 7 69 31 29.2 40
Stan Brown 8 69 30 32.0 43
Wade Condict #2 9 67 35 25.0 44
Craig 10 67 35 10.3 47
Paul Noonan 11 66 31 26.3 42
Warren Meyer 12 65 34 14.3 47

The good news is that both my brackets are in the top 12.  The bad news is that I do a good job every year of picking early upsets and racking up early round points, and then I fall by the wayside in later rounds.  We will see if I can hang in there.  By the way, my loud-mouthed, smack-dealing son is in 76th place.  The leader has 14 of his sweet-16 still intact, while my brackets have 11 and 9 respectively, which are pretty good leading indicators for future problems for yours truly.

One of the reason I like is that they have some cool analysis tools.  Here is my favorite, analyzing who has the best chances to win:

15 games remaining Must wins for best finish

(125 total)


Super Sixteen Exciting Eight Final Few Champion
1 (74) Jeff Charleston 1 (29.6%) 47 (<1%)    
2 (71) hopeful 1 (7.1%) 90 (<1%)    Wiscon     
3 (70) Keith Ehlers 1 (4%) 85 (<1%)     Memphs     
4 (70) Warren Meyer #2 1 (7.2%) 83 (<1%)        Xavier  
5 (69) Ron Gallagher 1 (<1%) 67 (<1%)    
6 (69) Nicholas Stergion ii 1 (4.3%) 100 (<1%)    
7 (69) Dawn Werner 1 (<1%) 95 (<1%)     Memphs   Xavier   Memphs
8 (69) Stan Brown 1 (19.5%) 92 (<1%)    
9 (67) Wade Condict #2 1 (<1%) 95 (<1%)     Memphs   Xavier   Memphs
10 (67) Craig 1 (1.5%) 68 (<1%)    
11 (66) Paul Noonan 1 (3.1%) 101 (<1%)    
12 (65) Warren Meyer 1 (2.9%) 89 (<1%)    
13 (64) Jeff Charleston #2 1 (<1%) 64 (<1%) UNC       UNC    UNC
14 (63) briain's 1 (<1%) 66 (<1%)    
15 (63) Kevin Clary #2 1 (<1%) 62 (<1%)   Kansas  Memphs    Kansas 
16 (62) Tom Kirkendall 1 (<1%) 74 (<1%)     Memphs      Memphs
17 (62) Andy Nemenoff 1 (1.6%) 85 (<1%)    
18 (62) Random 2x Risk 1 (1.6%) 104 (<1%) Tenn       Tenn   
19 (61) Derek Jankowski 1 (<1%) 93 (<1%)    Davdsn  Stanfd UCLA Xavier    UCLA UCLA UCLA
20 (60) Tony Casciano #2 1 (1.2%) 112 (<1%)      Texas    Texas Texas Texas

See the whole analysis here.