A lapse in student record-keeping on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's computer system led to the online release of a former football star's grades, Chancellor Holden Thorp said Thursday, in explaining a disclosure that's prompted new questions about special treatment for athletes at the elite public college.
Thorpe spoke to a UNC Board of Governors panel digging into academic fraud at the school after campus investigations found no-show classes, altered grades, and forged signatures in courses offered by the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM).
Thorpe said the school apologized to NFL player and former Tar Heels star Julius Peppers after his academic transcript was discovered on an unprotected part of the school's data-storage system and reported by news organizations. The transcript shows Peppers got low grades in several courses, but likely remained eligible thanks to much better grades in AFAM classes.
Academic irregularities linked to the department and its former chairman beginning five years ago sparked the scandal. Peppers' transcript raised the possibility that the AFAM troubles go back much further than the four-year focus of the investigation, though the school's report in May acknowledged the misconduct could reach before 2007.