Academic Fraud and College Athletics


College sports are big business in the United States. Unpaid student athletes help bring in millions of dollars for top collegiate teams. These athletes are also expected to attend classes and stay in good academic standing. The demand for athletes to succeed on the field and in the classroom puts pressure on coaches, academic advisors, and, of course, students. Last month the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released a report that showed evidence of nearly two decades of academic fraud perpetuated by the school’s Afro-American Studies Department. An investigation found certain professors and administrators had an unwritten policy of “propping up” student athletes. According to the report, UNC’s Afro-American studies department offered sham classes that required no attendance and asked students complete just a single research paper. This week on the podcast, we look at academic fraud at colleges with high-stakes sports programs. Our guest is a former college basketball player herself and has studied the corruption in college sports programs. Kadie Otto is a professor of sports management at Western Carolina University, and former president of the Drake Group, a faculty watchdog organization.