Former UNC-Chapel Hill professor indicted in academic scandal

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has charged former UNC professor Julius Nyang’oro with obtaining property by false pretense for accepting money for a class he didn’t teach.

Julius Nyang’oro, the former chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was indicted Monday by an Orange County grand jury on a charge related to an academic scandal at the school.

Nyang’oro could face up to 30 months in prison if he is convicted of obtaining property by false pretense, which is a felony. Investigators said he accepted $12,000 for teaching a class that never happened.

The university reclaimed the money through garnishment of his final paycheck.

While I am mad as anyone that UNC condoned cheating, I think the false-pretense charge is ridiculous. You would have a harder time convincing me that UNC didn’t know this was going on, that UNC wasn’t fully aware of what Nyang’oro was doing, than convincing me that Nyang’oro somehow hoodwinked the university. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. The professor has done this work many times before with no compensation. It was the university’s idea to pay him this particular time and by then it should have been “caveat emptor.”

Again, I can’t stand cheaters and I think the book should be thrown at UNC for their misdeeds. However, this charge won’t result in justice. It will result in quite an interesting trial, though, as Nyang’oro and his attorney summon some very uncomfortable witnesses to testify at his defense.

via Former UNC-Chapel Hill professor indicted in academic scandal :: WRAL.com.

Raleigh’s special events office

The city recently created a special events office, coming in response to the Color Run fiasco, among others. I think this is a wonderful approach, as I think Raleigh should do its best to accommodate the growth of running in our city. Hopefully with staff dedicated to managing events, we can find a way to let runners run and showcase more of our city to the participants.

Can you edit better than a third grader?

I don’t know what it is with the N&O’s editing, or lack thereof. It seems particularly bad for the sports section. It may due to my bias for the N.C. State Wolfpack but it seems there’s a general lack of knowledge for State coverage. I don’t know because I usually only skim the Duke or UNC stories.

N.C. State’s basketball team beat Western Michigan yesterday in a game in Raleigh. Sports writer J.P. Giglio wrote a good story on the game, but because Giglio referenced last week’s game against St. Bonaventure, whomever supposedly edits the sports page listed St. Bonaveuture as yesterday’s opponent on the front of the sports page.

Giglio wrote:

Just like the previous game against St. Bonaventure, Richard Howell fouled out Saturday against Western Michigan.

… and this is what appeared on the front of the sports page:

The Pack played Western Michigan, not St. Bonaventure.


Fewer than two weeks ago, the sports page flubbed the name of N.C. State’s basketball coach in a photo caption on the front of the sports page, calling him Mike Gottfried instead of Mark Gottfried. This error didn’t get by my eagle-eyed 8-year-old son, Travis, so why in the world did it get by the paper’s editors?

The N&O has a chance to offer the best coverage of local sports, and generally the paper does. For many subscribers, sports coverage is very important. That’s why I’m mystified that the N&O has let its sports editing get so bad. It may be enough to drive people away from the newspaper.

Scrooge and Santa (On the Martin Report)

Writing in Indy Week, Thad Williamson sums up my thoughts on the Martin Report.

If the idea of the Martin Report—at least this version of it—was to close the book on the UNC academic scandal, clearly it has failed. Internal campus critics such as history professor Jay Smith as well as the News & Observer editorialists have been quick to point out that the report simply doesn’t investigate in any detail the question of whether athletes benefitted primarily or disproportionately from the suspect courses in the African and Afro-American Studies departments. Because this iteration of the report (a folllow-up is promised for next month) didn’t dig into all the hard questions, it’s hard to see why we should accept former Gov. Martin’s conclusion that this is simply an academic scandal.

via Scrooge and Santa (On the Martin Report) | Triangle Offense.

DeCock: Yow’s culture change continues

Debbie Yow fired N.C. State football coach Tom O’Brien today:

Still, despite [O’Brien’s] losing record in ACC play and the missed opportunities that kept piling up, O’Brien still got the Wolfpack to bowl games on a regular basis, beat North Carolina on a regular basis and kept the program clean. And N.C. State can look no farther than its rivals Chapel Hill for an object lesson on the perils of striving for football glory.

While some of TOB’s recent losses have proven baffling, I’m not pleased with Yow’s decision, particularly with the revelation of how deeply in debt Maryland’s athletics programs became under her leadership. My fears regarding Yow’s apparent focus on winning alone have me greatly concerned for the future of Wolfpack Athletics.

via DeCock: Yow's culture change continues – NC State – NewsObserver.com.

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail State Park


I write this from cabin 4 of Twin Lakes State Park, located near Farmville, VA. It’s Saturday evening, November 24th, 2012 around 8:49 PM. Kelly and I are here alone tonight, the kids preferring to sleep in their grandparents’ cabin a few meters away from ours. As there is no Internet access here (nor no phones), I am writing this to post later.

We’ve been here since the day after Thanksgiving, having felt the urge to go camping one more time this year but not having the guts to tough out another camping trip when temperatures dip to the mid-20s in the morning. Cabins proved to be a good compromise, with the added bonus that Twin Lakes is closer to home for we Turners (we spent Thanksgiving with Kelly’s parents in Warrenton this year).
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Airdevil plans Atlantic crossing using 365 balloons

Raleigh resident and part-time daredevil balloonist Jonathan Trappe will be headed for the skies again next summer, this time on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean!

The big balls in the sky won’t just be the cluster balloons!

AN adventurer who became the first person to fly the English Channel dangling under helium-balloons is now planning to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean.

Intrepid Jonathan Trappe, 38, plans to navigate an incredible 2,500 miles next summer in a seven-foot lifeboat suspended by 365 huge UV-resistant balloons.

His outlandish aircraft will have an open roof with a canopy to protect him from high-altitude winds and frost bite.

Floating at between 18,000ft and 25,000ft – beating his previous record of 21,600ft – Jonathan will have to fly ten times further than his previous record of 230 miles to succeed.

via Airdevil plans Atlantic crossing using 365 balloons | The Sun |News.

Antidoping Agency Details Doping Case Against Lance Armstrong – NYTimes.com

The USADA has released a report on Lance Armstrong’s doping case. After reading the summary here in the New York Times I find it virtually impossible to think that Armstrong wasn’t doping all along.

What a sorry outcome. I used to love watching cycling but now I’ll never trust it again.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday released details of its investigation of Lance Armstrong, calling it the most sophisticated doping program in recent sports history — a program in which it said Armstrong played a key role by doping, supplying doping products and demanding that his top teammates dope so he could be successful.

via Antidoping Agency Details Doping Case Against Lance Armstrong – NYTimes.com.