Julius Nyang’oro, whose name has surfaced in connection with three different aspects of the investigation into the UNC football program, has resigned as chair of the department of African and Afro-American studies, effective immediately.
Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 said in a prepared statement, “The University has been reviewing academic issues related to some courses in our Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The questions that we have concern possible irregularities with courses that included undergraduate students. We will continue to review the facts to determine whether there have been any violations of university policy and to determine what additional actions are necessary.
“Because academic integrity is paramount, we have every obligation to get to the bottom of these issues. This process has been difficult, and we’ve been through a lot this past year, but the only right thing to do is to pursue the facts and fix the problems.”
Nyang’oro, who has been on the UNC faculty since 1990 and will remain on it, is the professor who missed football player Michael McAdoo’s plagiarism, which came to light in McAdoo’s lawsuit against the University and the NCAA seeking reinstatement to the team after he was suspended last fall. McAdoo sat out the entire 2010 football season as part of the NCAA investigation into the UNC program. The NCAA’s decision was based on its concurrence with the UNC Honor Court that he had committed academic misconduct.
McAdoo’s suit led to the public release of a paper he submitted for a class that appeared to show multiple instances of plagiarism. The News & Observer of Raleigh published comparisons of excerpts from the paper alongside the text of multiple original sources, in which the two matched word for word. Nyang’oro was his professor in the class.
A court denied McAdoo’s petition for an injunction that would have permitted him to play while his lawsuit progresses.
Concern over the presence of sports agents on campus emerged again in August, when Nyang’oro was found to have hired Carl Carey Jr. ’00 (PhD), a registered sports agent who was representing some former Carolina football players, to teach a course over the summer called Foundations of Black Education. Carey taught the same course in 2000 and 2001.
Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said she approved the appointment, unaware Carey was an agent. At the direction of Athletics Director Dick Baddour ’66, athletes were advised not to take the course; an Olympic-sport student was permitted to, since agent contact was not an issue with her. Four of the NCAA’s nine allegations against the University’s football program involve relationships with sports agents.
“In Dr. Carey’s case, his [resume] reflected a Ph.D. in educational psychology and experience at other institutions,” Gil said. “He had also taught the same course about 10 years ago. So he had the right credentials and experience for the course. At that time, I did not know he was a sports agent. In hindsight, it would have been better to know. But I understand that Dr. Carey let Athletics know [that he was hired to teach the course].”
John Blanchard, senior associate athletics director, said Carey was one of four agents who was made available to four groups of football players in April 2010 who could visit him for 15 minutes and learn about his services and ask him questions.
The News & Observer has reported that Carey was representing two UNC players chosen in this year’s NFL draft — Robert Quinn and Bruce Carter ’10 — at the time he was teaching the summer class.
The newspaper also has reported that another football player, Marvin Austin ’11, was enrolled in a 400-level course taught by
Nyang’oro in the summer before his first full semester at UNC. The paper reported that the course had no prerequisites but that it did require permission of the professor and that Austin received a B-plus in the course.
Austin was dismissed from the program last fall by the University for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules.
Thorp said he had discussed with Board of Trustees Chair Wade Hargrove ’62 and UNC System President Tom Ross ’75 (JD) the means by which the University will to review the issues concerning Nyang’oro. Thorp said he also will brief key elected faculty groups and keep the UNC System Board of Governors and UNC faculty committees informed throughout this process.
The website for the African and Afro-American studies department says Nyang’oro’s curriculum vitae is “currently not available.”
The N&O reported that Nyang’oro came to UNC in 1984 as a visiting professor, was made a professor in 1990 and became department chair in 1992. It said he has a law degree from Duke and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Miami.
Evelyne Huber, Morehead Alumni professor and chair of the political science department, will serve as interim dean of African and Afro-American studies.