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An interesting take on UNC b-ball graduations from the Indianapolis Star

An Indianapolis Star report two years ago on basketball team graduation rates is catching attention today in light of  the academic fraud case at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The report notes that seven of the players on UNC-Chapel Hill's 2005 championship team who had graduated by the time the story was published all received the same degree -- a bachelor of arts in African and Afro-American Studies.

The Star interviewed Sean May, who was the center for the team, and his comments have a particular resonance today, with the university now acknowledging a major academic fraud case in that department involving classes with little or no instruction. Many of these classes have high enrollments of athletes in the two big money sports -- basketball and football.

According to the Star: 'May said he started as a double major with communications, but dropped it so he could graduate faster after leaving for the NBA.Afro-American and African studies, May said, offered "more independent electives, independent study. I could take a lot of classes during the season. Communications, I had to be there in the actual classroom. We just made sure all the classes I had to take, I could take during the summer."'

May left the school for the NBA following the 2005 championship, but collected his degree four years later. It's unclear what classes he took or who taught them. The academic fraud centers on the former chairman, Julius Nyang'oro, who is being allowed to retire effective July 1.

The Star's report said the high number of African studies graduates on the basketball team raises issues of "clustering," in which athletes are steered to a particular course of instruction because it's easier to accomplish. But John Blanchard, UNC-CH's senior associate athletics director in charge of student-athletes services, told the Star that wasn't the case.

"The question is whether they are getting a good education," he said, "and the answer is a resounding yes."

May is one of more than a dozen prominent athletes listed as Facebook friends with Deborah Crowder, the former administrative assistant for the department who has declined to be interviewed by university officials investigating the academic fraud.

The Star's report can be found here.

Moton, Noel and May's Celebrity Golf Classic canceled

Scheduling conflicts for two of the headliners have forced cancellation of the Moton, Noel and May Celebrity Golf Classic. 

The event hosted by new N.C. Central University men's basketball LeVelle Moton and former
University of North Carolina basketball teammates David Noel and Sean
May had been scheduled for  Aug. 17 at Brier Creek Country Club in Raleigh.

Moton, Noel and May's Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit Boys and Girls Club, NCCU scholarships

New N.C. Central University men's basketball LeVelle Moton and former
University of North Carolina basketball teammates David Noel and Sean
May will host their second annual Celebrity Golf Classic at 8:30 a.m.
Aug. 17 at Brier Creek Country Club in Raleigh.

Proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh and N.C. Central scholarship funds.

Among the invited guests are many other well-known Triangle sports figures, according to an event news release.

1250043623 Moton, Noel and May's Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit Boys and Girls Club, NCCU scholarships The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

UNC's title teams could face off

From Sunday's College Basketball column:

Ever since North Carolina won its fifth NCAA title in April, there's been a good-natured debate brewing about which championship team is better: 2005 or 2009?

On Sept. 4, those bragging rights will be on the line.

Jordan speaks

Tuesday, Charlotte Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan held a conference call with Charlotte Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell and other media who cover the Bobcats. Jordan made it clear in the interview that he values Bobcats point guard — and fellow Tar Heel — Raymond Felton, but it's no lock that Felton will remain with the team beyond the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

Here's a link to Jordan's responses to questions about Felton, Sean May's health and what he learned after pulling the trigger on NBA draft-day duds Kwame Brown (remember him, Wizards fans?) and Adam Morrison.

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