In the wake of our reporting on the academic fraud scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill, reporter Dan Kane has attracted a bit of attention of his own.
More folks have noticed a web site, dirtydankane.com, that went up earlier this year after some of Dan's reporting about the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The web site bigleadsports Tuesday morning raised the question of whether Julius Peppers' agent had set up a web site to vent his anger about Dan.
In a word, yes. But the site set up by Carl Carey Jr. goes back a few months, and it isn't related to Dan's work Monday and Tuesday about the UNC transcript bearing Peppers' name. His professional relationship with Peppers, which goes back to when he was Peppers' academic adviser at UNC, is coincidental to this story.
Carey was first aggrieved when Dan reported last August that Carey, a sports agent, had been invited by department chairman Julius Nyang'oro to teach a summer course in the African and Afro-American Studies department at a time when UNC was under investigation by the NCAA for, among other things, athletes receiving improper inducements from agents. (The AFAM department classes were very popular UNC football and basketball players)
Carey has a Ph.D in educational psychology, and had taught the class as an adjunct 11 years before, so it's not that he was unqualified to teach. But most everybody we talked to agreed that Nyang'oro's timing was lousy, particularly since Carey was representing a just-departed UNC athlete at the time. "Sure, I picked a horrible time to go back and teach at UNC," Carey wrote in one email to us. "I was totally unaware of the depth of the issues going on there."
Those issues, as revealed in subsequent stories and a UNC internal investigation, include dozens of classes involving little or no instruction, extensive use of independent study classes requiring only a paper written at the end of the semester, and lots of athletes in both. In short, Nyang'oro had grown very, very close to the athletic mission. Carey felt that he had been somehow linked to all that, and he resented it, at one point threatening to sue us.
That article shows up when you Google him, he said, and he wanted something negative to show up when someone Googles Dan. I won't critique the whole site, but there sure are a lot of copies of the same picture there.
I'm Dan's editor, and I can tell you that I've never seen a more dogged and determined reporter. But I've also not seen one any more dedicated to being fair and placing things in their proper context. He will keep reporting this story, regardless of the web site assembled in his honor.
-- Steve Riley