What appears to be the UNC academic record of football star Julius Peppers ’02 surfaced on a UNC website late last week and was publicized by The News & Observer of Raleigh as part of its coverage of the football and academic scandals at the University. The newspaper said it had found and shared with UNC officials what the UNC officials said was a test transcript used to help students and advisers use a computer program that helps plot a students course of study. UNC told the paper it was a made-up transcript not belonging to a real student.
According to The N&O, individuals affiliated with N.C. State University researched the website and found a transcript tied to Peppers that matched the test transcript almost identically. That transcript, which was on UNC’s Student Information Services site until it was taken down on Monday, contained the name “Peppers, Julius Frazier.”
On Monday, UNC officials acknowledged that publishing a student’s transcript was strictly improper. UNC’s statement read: “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. 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.”
The implications of the Web publication of the transcript — if, in fact, it belongs to Peppers — have yet to fully emerge. Peppers majored in African and Afro-American Studies when Julius Nyang’oro was chair of the department Nyang’oro and his relationship with athletes is at the center of two investigations, one by the State Bureau of Investigation and one by the UNC System Board of Governors. In addition, the UNC trustees are working to retain an outside party to review the University’s controls on academics, related to the other probes.
The transcript shows a low-performing academic record for three years a 1.824 grade point average, including 12 courses in the major. Peppers was enrolled in the University for three years before leaving to play pro football. He also played on the basketball team in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
Peppers’ current agent is Carl Carey, whom Nyang’oro was found to have hired to teach a course in the summer of 2011 called Foundations of Black Education. Carey taught the same course in 2000 and 2001. In 2011, Carey was a registered sports agent who was representing some former Carolina football players, and his appointment was approved by Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who said she was unaware that Carey was an agent. Improper contact between athletes and professional agents was a key issue in the NCAA investigation of the football program, and last year then-Athletics Director Dick Baddour ′66 advised athletes not to take Carey’s course.
Carey, who also was Peppers’ academic adviser when the player was at UNC, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that the possible transcript leak was irresponsible. The paper quoted Carey as saying, “As his former academic adviser, I know what his academic experience was at The University of North Carolina. So Julius and I are not concerned at all, with issues about courses or any of that.
“People, unfortunately, are trying to link a decades-old transcript to some issues that are going on now, and that’s irresponsible.
“While Julius was a student at The University of North Carolina, the courses he took were in line with his academic major. And it’s a legitimate major, and some of the grades he received in some of the African-American studies department were satisfactory, and others of those were challenging for Julius. Anybody who sees his actual record will [see] some success in the major and some challenges. We have no concern at all about the quality of the courses he took.”
The paper said, Carey said Peppers has expressed an interest in completing his degree from North Carolina, at some point, and that he has about a year and a half of study remaining.