Sports Outside the Beltway

Auburn Clears Self in Grade Scam Scandal

Auburn has investigated itself and found that it did nothing wrong.

Auburn athletics officials were cleared of wrongdoing by a university probe of claims that athletes improperly boosted their grades with an easy independent study course.

Interim university president Ed Richardson said at a news conference Thursday that an internal investigation determined athletes were not steered to the courses of sociology professor Thomas Petee, who was accused by a colleague of helping football players stay eligible by offering classes that required little work or no work. Petee and another professor, who also gave “directed-reading” courses, have resigned their administrative posts. Both are professors have tenure at Auburn and will continue to be members of the faculty, Richardson said.

Richardson said the probe, launched after sociology professor James Gundlach made the allegations reported in The New York Times last month about Petee’s courses, found it was purely an academic matter. He said 82 percent taking the courses were non-athletes, 18 percent played a sport of some kind and 7.5 percent were football players.

I have respect for Richardson, who was a superb Secretary of Education for the state for many years, but find these findings hard to swallow. The NYT story on this was quite damning and the fact that non-athletes also took the courses hardly matters. Rather clearly, Auburn football players found out about Petee’s “independent study” courses and began flocking to them.

Background: Auburn Football Players Got Top Grades for Bogus Classes

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