Martin in Attack Mode

Inside Carolina
Posted Jan 8, 2013


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Since delivering his Academic Anomalies Review to the UNC Board of Trustees on Dec. 20, former N.C. Governor Jim Martin has been proactive in addressing criticism and correcting mistruths by media outlets and the general public surrounding his findings.

Martin and national consulting firm Baker Tilly reviewed an 18-year period (Fall ’94-Summer ‘12) that included 172,580 course sections, 118,611 undergraduates and 12,715 instructors at the request of University leaders to address the possibility of further academic anomalies beyond the scope of the internal Hartlyn-Andrews Report.

As it relates to UNC athletics, Martin offered the following: “Based on our work, we conclude that this matter was truly academic in nature and not an athletic scandal as originally speculated.”

Since that time, Martin has publicly responded to criticisms of his findings.

On Dec. 29, the Raleigh News & Observer disputed Martin’s claim that officials tried to alert the University’s Faculty Committee on Athletics in 2002 and 2006 about independent study enrollments.

Dr. Stanley Mandel, the committee chairman in 2002, told the News & Observer there was no reference to the red flags in the committee meetings because they didn’t exist.

“There was no discussion,” Mandel told the paper. “Nothing was brought up.”

A review of the meeting minutes, however, proves otherwise. Dated Apr. 2, 2002, the minutes classified the third matter of business as “Independent Study Registrations by Student-Athletes.”

Committee members John Blanchard and Jim Murphy presented a listing of independent study courses in which student-athletes had registered during the previous academic year.

“Based on this review, the committee did not feel that the level of independent study registration by student-athletes reflects abuse of the opportunity,” the minutes read.

Martin responded to the News & Observer’s criticism in a strongly worded op-ed that ran in the paper on Jan. 2.

The former governor also took issue with the N&O’s editorial that ran on Dec. 21 that included the subheading “It’s not over.”

“Your Dec. 21 editorial lamented that our review did not go deeper,” Martin wrote. “Specifically, you complained that we did not interview [Julius] Nyang’oro or [Deborah] Crowder. Neither did your excellent reporters. Neither you nor we had the power to compel anyone to talk, and we assumed they had legal advice against it.”

Also on Jan. 2, Forbes.com published an article asking if North Carolina’s fraud ran deeper that what Martin’s findings suggested by highlighting Mandel’s quotes to the News & Observer above.

The article’s author, Darren Heitner, went so far as to write, “it seems as if Martin has potentially made some borderline fraudulent statements.”

A lengthy response, signed by Martin, appeared in the comments section addressing the article’s claims. Martin confirmed to InsideCarolina.com on Monday that he authored the response, which concluded with the following two paragraphs.

“No evidence was found that any other academic department had any similar abuse. No evidence was found of collusion with any coach or other official in the Athletics Department, or its booster club, whose financial records we examined in detail. You and others may find this hard to believe, but I believe that findings and conclusions should be based on evidence, not hearsay and imagination.

“For your writers to use innuendo to accuse me of 'borderline fraudulent statements' is rather harsh, given that they know nothing, and rely on one erroneous news story. Mark Twain said ‘If you don't read the newspapers, you are uninformed. If you do read newspapers, you are misinformed.’ He was joking about that, of course, as am I.”

Forbes.com has since pulled the story. When asked about his article being removed from the website, Heitner offered the following explanation on his Twitter account: “I pulled it myself. Didn’t think the article represented the quality of work my readers should demand of me.”

Martin has also penned a response to a blog suggesting that he was corrupted by serving as chairman of the board of the Institute for Defense and Business.

“To me, this is about civic responsibility,” Martin wrote in the response provided to IC. “You may see it differently. I have not requested, been offered or received any compensation from the Institute for Defense and Business or the UNC Nutrition Institute or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Typically, I have not submitted expense reimbursement claims for most of their activities, but will probably submit claims for expenses associated with my trips to Chapel Hill these past four months.”

Martin closed his comments in a fitting manner considering his proactive approach since delivering his review less than three weeks ago.

“Thank you for offering your suspicions so that I might respond,” he wrote. “That is a strength of our society.”

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