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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Classes? We don't need no stinkin' classes!

Looks like Auburn might have to rename itself "Independent Study U." after the NY Times revealed that 18 members of the 2004 Tiger team - that finished undefeated and #2 in the country - took a combined 97 hours of "courses" from the same sociology professor who isn't real picky on students actually showing up for class. More than a quarter of the students in this guy's class were athletes.

Yes, "independent study" means not going to class but, according to the NYT, the classes in question include core subjects like statistics, theory and methods, which normally require class instruction.

Former Auburn RB "Cadillac" Williams took only two clases the spring of his senior year, both one-on-one courses with Petee. One was a statistics class. When Petee was asked if that course, considered the most difficult in the sociology major, was available to regular students as a directed reading, the professor said, “No, not usually.”

Cadillac described the class this way: “You’re just studying different kinds of math. It’s one of those things where you write a report about the different theories and things like that.”

Yes, things like that. Sound like your stats class?

Cadillac went on to say in the Times story that he appreciated the convenience of the two courses, because he was traveling around the country auditioning for N.F.L. teams at the time. Naturally.

When he found out Petee was being investigated, Caddy said, "I didn’t do nothing illegal or anything like that. My work was good. It was definitely real work. To be honest with you, if they think that’s a problem, they need to investigate all the teachers at Auburn."

Gee, no wonder in the NCAA's new rankings of student athletes' academic progress, Auburn had the highest ranking of any D-1 public university among college football's six major conference.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Put it this way, Vandy, the only private school in the SEC had a graduation rate of 88%, Auburn's was 48% yet, according to the NY Times story, Vandy finished well behind Auburn in those NCAA rankings.



Thanks to MZone reader "BamaPerry" for the tip.

UPDATE: For more on the story, check out Orson's post over at EDSBS.

33 comments:

ferenc said...

it is a sociology class. when exactly is attending a sociology class ever actually attending a class anyways?

Anonymous said...

97 COMBINED hours divided by 18 players equals an average of 5.388889 hours per person. That is barely enough to make a blip on someones GPA. One quarter of the students were athletes???? No way??? It isn't like no student athletes ever take independent study classes or any other easy classes at other schools. This is a non-story.

Yost said...

Non-story? Keep believing that Aubu-- I mean, "Anon".

Bo Jackson said...

War Eagle !!!!!!

The King said...

I have to agree that this is a non-story. I took a class at UM called "Oceans" that was basically DESIGNED for football players. I'd say at least 75% of the class were football players, and they not only never came to class, they had special "review sessions just for athletes" taught by the prof to help them prep for the tests.

This kind of thing happens with total regularity at any D1 program in the country, and anyone who thinks their program is above it is hopelessly naieve.

Anonymous said...

They have independent study classes at UM also. Guess what, no one goes to class there either. Its because it is an independent study class, you meet with the professor and do the work on your own.

Yes I am an AU fan.

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michigan88 said...

King: I took the Oceans class you are talking about (almost 20 years ago) and got a "c". I was no football player, but it was not a blow-off class that I expected.

blue2004 said...

likewise with my dinosaurs class at UM. Didn't take it seriously, and got a C+

Maize n Brew Dave said...

Anon- Most Indepent Study classes require more than a 10 page book report on Clifford the Big Red Dog in return for three credit hours.

King- I took my share of the blow-offs too. The thing was, Oceans and Waves (I think that was what it was called) was a class with hundreds of students, and worth 1 credit. The classes in question were "one-on-one", some worth three credits, required no attendance, and a faceless 10-pager or less to turn in at the end of the semester. My independent studies required a lot more than that.

One of the alleged classes that was "taught" by this guy was statistics. I sat through hours of in class lecture, albeit with a foreign professor and grad instructors, and was completely lost. I'm not buying it that joe-starting/benchwaming football player was gonna pick it up without actually talking to a professor who spoke english.

It's partly a non-story because we've come to expect this kind of crap is being pulled.

The problem here is just to blatancy of it. If this was caught going on at osu, we'd flip out and say "Dammit, I knew it!" Its a story, because if its true, its cheating and its also a SERIOUS problem for Auburn following their not-so-legal courtship of Bobby Petrino. Aurburn's got a history of this stuff, and its big news because of that.

John Frum said...

Hmmm. It appears to me that Dr Petee wears an professorial version of a Buckstache.

michigan88 said...

In general, I agree that FB players get somewhat easier treatment in just about every major D1 program (UM included). I am not surprised by this story about Auburn. It could just as easily come from Michigan State/Ohio State/Texas/Alabama/Florida State/Fill in the blank university.

This is the type of stuff that makes radio talk show hosts and bloggers very happy.

Anonymous said...

wow. many football players take easy classes. That took some real hard nosed investigative journalism to figure that out.

Is there anybody who didn't already know this?

Anonymous said...

Considering that of 272 students to take the class only 18 were involved in sports it doesn't appear to be a class designed specifically for football players. The large number of students alone taking that IS class should indicate it was easy.

Taken a couple of independent studies, one involved alot of time and the other was a joke.. read textbook and two take home tests.

Plenty of regular students across universities that obtain alternate methods to complete coursework or substitute classes to finish degrees. Also plenty of students that get late IS classes added for various reasons.

Took statistics myself, first time had a guy that gave all problems and said screw that. Researched instructors and took the guy that gave all multiple choice based on understanding the concepts. Like any other class its as easy or as hard as the instructor makes it.

Course the NYT doesn't mention things like the guy making accusations was passed over for a position by the guy he is accusing.

Findings will probably resemble what happened with Duke and its sociology basketball players couple years back. Sociology is a easy major and there are easy instructors in the major.

Not sure how you can label it as cheating, don't believe there is a NCAA rule that says a class must have X pages of reading, X number of tests, or X number of papers.

Takin a couple of upper level research classes that had not book, no lecture, it was all independently researching articles on a chosen topic and grade completly based off one paper.

At most its a departmental problem and the instructor in question could be punished for not requiring his students to perform at what the university deems a proper academic level in accordance with the class level.

Cool Hand Mike said...

Bo was named Bo cuz he couldn't spell Bob. Now Moo Eagle U got popped. hehehe. That's what you get you cow tippin motherfuckers.

P.S.: WHEN the NCAA drops the bomb Auburn's asses, I'll just smile and remind you that you'll be back in 4-6 years. Plus, why aren't you out rolling Toomer's Corner now like you did the day Bama was butt fucked by the NCAA. Remember? Because we all do.

Bacon said...

As much as defending the war chickens makes me want to puke, I think this is much ado about nothing.

Anonymous made a couple of good points, and I'd like to add one--they accommodated Cadillac when he was going to NFL minicamps. If a non-athlete was flying around the country for job interviews, professors would have an obligation to accommodate them, and this is no different.

/off to take a shower...ugh!

Reed4AU said...

I'm not suprised and I don't care. The joke's alway been in the SEC if your not cheating your not trying.

Nothing is gonna happen, remember a couple years ago when Tennessee players got caught having some woman write their reports, nothing happened.

CH mike, it's not remotely the same thing as what BAMA did to get probation or even remotely closed to what got Aubrun put on probation in the 90's.

Everyobdy does it, some just get caught. Since this is a Michigan site, do you honestly believe most of the football players would even get in to your school if they didn't play football? Of course you don't because they play for your team. A small minorityof schools such as Duke(although they certainly waver on Bball), Vandy, Stanford, and a couple others require their athletes to meet their academic standards or at least close to them.

Yes I think the SEC might be the worst at it, but just look at the rosters of OSU,Miami,FSU,OU,TEX, even your beloved UM, all of them have some players(Miami 90%+) who can barely read let alone deserve to attend that school.

CH mike, and although I felt it was stupid to celebrate Bama's probation I did find it funny. But don't forget it's a 2-way street. I remeber when Auburn went undefeated but couldn't go anywhere due to the probation. Although I didn't like it, Bama's chant of "11 and O and no placed to go" was funny albeit disheartening.

harry hasselhoff said...

Just to jump into the "I took ___ class at UM" discussion, I took "Waves and Beaches," (I still laugh when I think about it) but it was not a total blowoff - had to earn that "A," and I can still have a halfway intelligent discussion about why seawalls and jetis lead to more beach erosion than they prevent. God I'm a dork...

Anonymous said...

Just took History of the Oceans for 1 credit with Prof. David Rea last semester - walk in the park.

Anonymous said...

If there is one shocking thing bout this kinda news, it's that it was only 18 players or so. This is much more common then all these sports writers want to believe at just about every school, with the Stanford's and Vandy's of the world being the exceptions. Just take a glance at the requirements to get into Michigan, see how its ranked with the Ivy League schools as far as best schools (thats not the official name of the ranking, its late, blow me), and then explain how a guy like Larry Harrison gets in, he of the man who unloaded his seed on a fellow students door.

Anonymous said...

Bacon, you make a fair point about Carnell. These type of classes are also given to students that are doing co-ops and internships.

I know a girl at Texas that got a IS class midway though the semester. Her advisor had her drop a class saying she didn't need it and then turned out he was wrong. She was slated to graduate and had a job lined up and living accomadations arranged in the state she was moving to. She was given the class so she could graduate. The instructor took it real easy on her to because of what had happened.

These things also go on at the Vandy's and Stanfords. I have a cousin that is a Vandy graduate, and she will laugh and tell you the hard part about Vandy is getting in.

BAMAPERRY said...

The hypocrisy of the NCAAzi is that they feign an "academics first" approach when an athlete intially tries to enter an institution, with various standards, and then say they have no control over a schools academic policies once admitted. If they're admitted by an institution, shouldn't they be declared eligible to compete in athletics immediately? I mean, if schools are cheating to keep players eligible (most do) what difference does it make if they cheat to get them into school?

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments on here are correct that many schools do this, but they miss the point. This is not an NCAA issue but an issue for Auburn University whose athletic department has once again severely embarrassed the parent institution. I hope the athletic department has a back-up plan for finding easy majors because I can't imagine they will be welcome in Sociology any more. That will impact recruiting athletes, but, perhaps more importantly (!), will impact recruting regular students looking for an honorable school to attend. I also can't imagine the faculty will be supportive of the athletic department in this, but you never know...

Anonymous said...

I can't beleive the excuses being made here. This is blatant cheating! What ever happened to that reputation for academics that UM is supposed to have? Is this college football or just a farm system for the NFL?

The bottom line is that there are rules. The rules are for everyone: eleven players or a side, 60 minutes of play, no holding, catch the ball in bounds, etc.

If you are doing 95mph on I96 and see a cop, you slow down because you know you are breaking the rules. If you don't slow down and get pulled over, you fully expect to get a speeding ticket, regardless if others are speeding. If you sister or daughter is assulted on campus, you don't say it is ok because it happens all the time.

This is the Big Ten. Do we really want to be grouped with and compared to SEC schools?

Anonymous said...

This aint your daddys big 10. People do what they have to do. Just ask Jim Tressel.

Anonymous said...

so do they have a class on how to blow a fourth quarter lead, because a lot of UM's football players must've taken it, and lloyd carr must be teaching it.

good luck in the alamo bowl this year and WDE.

Anonymous said...

When he found out Petee was being investigated, Caddy said, "I didn’t do nothing illegal or anything like that. My work was good. It was definitely real work. To be honest with you, if they think that’s a problem, they need to investigate all the teachers at Auburn.

You took this out of context as I am sure the NYT did. He was referencing the fact that Petee asked for an autographed football, then said basically any Auburn prof would do the same. Please fix this.

Yost said...

Read the article again, Anon. It's not out of context according to the NYT article. He wasn't referring to autographed footballs.

Anonymous said...

Has the idiot at the NYT ever attended college? Is is scandalous that students seek out easy courses? Is it unusual that people don't take classes from the a-hole professor that gives "C"s as high grades? It is understandable that the trailer park bammers who have never set foot on a college campus don't understand how it works. At least they can calculate scores and can count to 5. WDE!

Anonymous said...

This is not the Auburn athletic departments doing in this. It is the sociology departments doing, again of 272 people to take that class over two years only 18 of them were athletes.

Gundlach, the accusor, in other articles talks about how he feels Petee over stepped with the number of students and teaching classes that Gundlach teaches. Even today in a article he said this wasn't about athletics, but without athletes noone would care.

This is a internal dispute between two sociology professors about how classes in that department should be taught and AU athletics got dragged into it cause of 18 athletes. It makes for alot prettier story. Gundlach used the athletes, do you really think the NYT would have printed this story if all they had was interviews from John who went into sociology to have a high GPA to improve his chances of law school acceptance? Or Mary who aspires to insure section 8 housing is better for the poor?

Maybe Carnell wasn't referring to the football. It follows him saying he did real work. If having students do work is a crime then he is correct, you would have to investigate all the other instructors. Williams was being sarcastic.

And for the person that said it is blatant cheating, sorry it isn't. For it to be blatant cheating the athletes would have had to had preferential treatment vs the non-athlete students in that class. Even Lagenfeld adding Petee course late is not unique to athletes, Gundlach said that in an article today.

Not all degrees are rocket science. Sociology is actually the degree that a majority of athletes across the United States goes into, perhaps because it is easier than most others.

I'm sure if you go through all of UM's athletes you will find a pattern of alot being in a paticular major, and it will probably be one of the easier ones at UM.

So maybe some kids will see this and say wow, I'm not going to Auburn for a sociology degree. To be honest, I'd slap my kid and tell him to pay for it himself and not waste my money if he wanted a degree in that.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha .... BamaPerry lecturing others on hypocrisy. That's got to be the funniest thing I've seen in a long time

Blou said...

Haha, I too took Dinosaurs. What a class.

Anonymous said...

Yost, Thanks for setting me straight.
Mr. Williams said Professor Petee asked him to autograph a football once when they met in his office. “To be honest with you, if they think that’s a problem, they need to investigate all the teachers at Auburn,” Mr. Williams said.
They were trying to prove Petee was a Carnell fan by asking for his autograph.