CHAPEL HILL — If you read News & Observer reporter Dan Kane’s latest story from over the weekend about the academic issues that continue to plague the University of North Carolina, you know that the story referenced a mysterious, unidentified academic transcript that, at some point, found its way online.
In short, the transcript belonged to a UNC student from the late 1990s and early 2000s who was majoring in African and Afro-American Studies, who arrived at UNC in 1998 with an 870 SAT and who struggled through – or failed – most non-AFAM courses. University officials had described the transcript as a “test transcript” posted to help students and advisers navigate a website that would provide academic progress information.
It seems, though, that the transcript is not a “test transcript” at all, but one that belongs to former North Carolina football all-American Julius Peppers, who also helped lead the Tar Heels to a share of the regular-season ACC basketball championship in 2001.
Here is the apparent link to Peppers’ transcript, which posters on the popular N.C. State site "Pack Pride" discovered and posted late Sunday night.
And here is the link to the alleged “test transcript” that The News & Observer had previously written about.
As you can see, the name of the student on the “test transcript” is “Jones, Test One.” The transcript lists an SAT score of 870, and the date that SAT was taken as April 1998. The grades on the two transcripts – the “test transcript” and the transcript that appears to belong to Peppers – are nearly identical. Peppers, a former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end with the Carolina Panthers who now plays for the Chicago Bears, also graduated from Southern Nash High School in 1998 and could have feasibly taken the SAT in April 1998.
Of course, there remains a chance that this isn’t Julius Peppers’ transcript. Perhaps this is all a bizarre misunderstanding of some sort. But if this is Peppers’ transcript, what might it mean? Some thoughts:
--First, according to the transcript, the individual to whom it belongs earns two D’s and one F in the fall semester of 1998. That translates into a 1.075 GPA. If that GPA belonged to Peppers, he would have been ineligible to play basketball during the 1998-99 season and, indeed, he didn’t play basketball his freshman season, and instead joined the team for the first time during the 1999-2000 season. (In football, Peppers sat out the 1998 season as a redshirt.)
--There is a clear divide on the transcript between AFAM courses and non-AFAM courses. In the 12 non-AFAM courses for which grades are clearly listed on the transcript, the individual earned either a D or an F in eight of those courses. In the 18 AFAM courses for which grades are easily identifiable, the individual earned a B in exactly half of those classes.
--The transcript includes four independent study courses in AFAM, and the transcript reflects a B grade in three of those independent study courses. There is no grade listed for the other independent study class. Independent study courses in AFAM, of course, have come under fire at UNC, which identified those courses as problematic in a recent university probe into the AFAM department.
Stay tuned for more …