Last month North Carolina’s football program was hit by a NCAA Notice of Allegations (NOA PDF) detailing nine major violations. Among the violations cited by the NCAA against UNC was academic fraud committed by Michael McAdoo during 2008-09.
McAdoo was one of seven Tar Heels initially ruled ineligible by the school on Sept. 3, 2010, for academic wrongdoing and receiving improper benefits. In the aftermath of that initial suspension, North Carolina formally appealed to the NCAA twice for McAdoo’s reinstatement, with each appeal including a personal plea by UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour.
But despite UNC repeatedly warring with the intercollegiate governing body over McAdoo’s academic status - and the University of North Carolina honor court clearing McAdoo last October to play for the Tar Heels in 2011 - the NCAA ruled McAdoo permanently ineligible on Jan. 27, 2011.
In response to that ruling, last Friday McAdoo filed a lawsuit in Durham Superior Court against the NCAA and UNC in a bid to have his football eligibility restored by the school. The NCAA acknowledged McAdoo’s lawsuit today, with a hearing for the case set for July 15 in Durham, North Carolina.
The heart of the NCAA’s case against McAdoo was a term paper the footaball player turned into a UNC African Studies class on July 13, 2009 titled, “The Evolution of Swahili Culture on the East Coast of Africa From 1AD to the Present.” (PDF - Page 127)
In twice upholding its permanent ban of McAdoo’s playing status, the NCAA confirmed that McAdoo received “impermissible assistance on multiple assignments across several academic terms” from tutor Jennifer Wiley while specifically citing Wiley for adding footnotes and a bibliography to McAdoo’s African Studies paper.
After North Carolina first suspended McAdoo on Sept. 3, 2010, the school appealed to the NCAA to have his eligibility restored in a Sept. 28, 2010, letter from North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour. In his plea to the NCAA on behalf of McAdoo, Baddour wrote:
He (McAdoo) stated that the writing throughout all of these papers was his, aside from the minor corrections (described above), references, and citations that she (Tutor A, aka Wiley) would make.
After Baddour’s reinstatement request to the NCAA on behalf of McAdoo, on Oct. 14, 2010, the UNC honor court reinstated McAdoo’s football eligibility - at least from the school’s perspective - for the 2011 season.
The NCAA denied McAdoo’s intial appeal by UNC AD Baddour in late November, so the school once again appealed to have McAdoo’s eligibility restored during a December 14, 2010, conference call with NCAA officials.
During his reinstatement hearing with NCAA officials, McAdoo said of assistance he received on his African Studies term paper from Wiley:
“Uh, well, like I say, I’d, , uh, I guess we’re referring to the Swahili 402 paper and my, so I’m just gonna start by saying, I wasn’t assigned to that tutor at first. I had another tutor so i mean I worked on the paper but when, um when it got toward the end I sent her the paper or whatever and she reached out and I mean, just help like that.
“I just wanted her to look over my work. Check it for grammar, make sure my ideas made sense and check my citations so I would not be plagiarizing.”
Also during McAdoo’s hearing, Steve Keadey of the University of North Carolina Legal Counsel Office made the following remarks to NCAA officials:
“So what happened here was Michael completed his Swahili paper then he asked Jennifer for help with the citations and as I think you will hear he wanted help because he was worried about plagiarism; he knew that you have to cite ideas that are not yours.
“Michael was concerned about his academic responsibility. He was worried about plagiarism and is keeping faith with academic mission of his time in college.
Had Keadey taken less than a minute to google much of the text contained in McAdoo’s African Studies paper, he would’ve found that the exact opposite was true.
Beginning on page 126 of documents recently posted by the RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER, you can find the text of McAdoo’s entire African Studies paper. A quick, basic search of the text in McAdoo’s paper revealed that much of what was presented as the UNC football player’s work was instead copied and pasted word-for-word from other academic works previously posted on the web.
Now for the bizarre part: McAdoo’s paper cited the sources from which huge swaths of exact text were lifted.
In other words, McAdoo, tutor Wiley (and apparently Baddour, Keadey, other UNC officials and the UNC honor court) thought it was okay to plagiarize long passages from other academic works so long as they footnoted the source!
Below is three quick examples that took less than five minutes to find via Google.com.
From McAdoo’s UNC paper published on July 13, 2009:
In other words, the Swahili are a result of the coming together of two distinct cultures: a blend of the African and Middle Eastern whose origins lie lost in the mists of time.
For centuries, while most Africans lay scattered across the interior of nomadic Africa, the East African coast had developed an urban civilization within which its people lived in houses, engaged in maritime trade on an intercontinental scale, used one of Africa’s first languages, enjoyed a sophisticated deeply religious culture whose leaders lived in houses inlaid with gold, silver and ivory. The development of the Swahili civilization is linked with trade.
The Swahili people who lived here before them, have been engaged in overseas trade for at least three millennia, providing a range of luxury goods unsurpassed anywhere in. the world.
From the opening paragraph of a paper published on May 31, 2009, by Hungary-based Educational Researcher Charles Cornelius titled, “The History of the East African Coast“:
On the fringe of both the African continent and the Indian Ocean, the Swahili are a result of the coming together of two distinct cultures, a blend of the African and Middle Eastern whose origins lie lost in the mists of time.
For centuries, while most Africans lay scattered across the interior following a nomadic lifestyle, the East African coast had developed an urban civilization within which its people lived in stone houses, engaged in maritime trade on an intercontinental scale, used one of Africa’s first written languages, enjoyed a sophisticated, deeply religious culture and whose leaders lived in palaces inlaid with gold, silver and ivory. Here was one of Africa’s oldest and greatest civilisations.
Cornelius’ work is cited elsewhere in McAdoo’s paper, but there’s no discernible, nearby attribution to the above paragraph.
More from McAdoo’s paper, note the citation this time:
Africa of today presents a complex picture. In area, a “vast ill-formed triangle,” (The Future of Africa, p. 1), the continent covers eleven and a hslf million miles in space. Each side of the triangle is pierced by a mighty river; on the north the Nile, on the west the Congo, on the east Zambesi. An African traveler has roughly classified the great continent thus: “north Africa where men go for health South Africa where they go for wealth., Central Africa where they go for adventure” (page 10. Its population of about one hundred and sixty million seems enormous, yet, in comparison to the area, it is small. It is computed at fifteen to the square feet.
Its races are innumerable; its dialea a iiaziL confusion. The climate of Africa is modified by its elevation above the sea level, but two thirds of the continent lies within the tropics. The religion of Africa may be unequally divided under three heads: Christianity, Mohammedanism. and Paganism. Africa’s territorial divisions are, in the main, a matter of recent history. Eight million square miles of its area are partitioned amongst the various European powers.
From “The Future of Africa” - a Scottish textbook authored by Donald Eraser and first published in 1911:
Africa of to-day presents a complex picture. In area, a ” vast ill-formed triangle,” the continent covers eleven and a half miUion miles in space. Each side of the triangle is pierced by a mighty river ; on the north the Nile, on the west the Congo, on the east the Zambesi. An African traveller has roughly classified the great continent thus : North Africa where men go for health, South Africawhere they go for wealth. Central Africa where they go for adventure. Its population of about one hundred and sixty miUions seems enormous. Yet, in comparison to the area it is small, and computed at fifteen to the square mile.
Its races are innumerable ; its dialects a vast confusion. The climate of Africa is modified by its elevation above the sea-level, but two-thirds of the continent Hes within the tropics. The rehgions of Africa may be unequally divided under three heads : Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Paganism. Africa’s territorial divisions are, in the main, a matter of recent history. Eight milhon square miles of its area are partitioned amongst the various European powers.
Apparently McAdoo and Wiley were unaware that “Mohammedanism” is what we today call Islam. The previous term has long been outdated. (The source material of the lifted passage was published in Scotland in 1911.)
Last example. From McAdoo’s UNC paper:
The Arabs called this region al-Zartj, “The Blacks,” and the coastal area slowly came under the control of Muslim merchants from Arabia and Persia. In other words, these Arabs and Persian settlers took over. They made this land their own. They infiltrated it and by• the 1300s, the major east African ports reached from Mombaza in the north to Sofala in the south.” It had become thoroughly Islamic and cultural ceniers.
From Richard Hooker’s web page titled “The Swahili Kingdoms” and first published in 1997:
The Arabs called this region al-Zanj, “The Blacks,” and the coastal areas slowly came under the control of Muslim merchants from Arabia and Persia. By the 1300’s, the major east African ports from Mombaza in the north to Sofala in the south had become thoroughly Islamic cities and cultural centers.
I could cite more examples, but you get the idea.
Unless the University of North Carolina has enacted a radical new academic standard without telling anyone outside Chapel Hill, the McAdoo UNC class paper cited by UNC AD Baddour and other North Carolina officials to the NCAA in multiple reinstatement appeals was filled to the brimmed with blatant plagiarism.