why is "Cheating 3X" not a bigger subject?

Submitted by Blue Blue Blue on November 15th, 2010 at 11:02 AM
The whole "pay for play" thing is out of the player's hands. One cant control one's parents, especially when they see dollar signs. but the "caught 3 times cheating" bothers me much more. 1. How many cheating accusations until a Michigan student is tossed? 2. doesnt leaving early so he could avoid the cheating hearings mean he is unlikely to have successfully completed his courses? shouldnt that cause an NCAA eligibility problem? 3. Has anyone else noticed the denials coming out of Florida related to denying they had leaked the info, not claiming there was nothing to it? After all, indicating claims against a student are false doesnt exactly violate confidentiality. 4. What would the FREEP do with charges that Michigan kept a player on the roster through three accusations of academic cheating? The "pay for play" demands by parents dont seem like a bigger violation than the fundamenttal character of the individual. I am surprised the cheating allegations arent getting more play.



November 15th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

Actually, it's illegal for the person (whoever it was) to release this information to begin with... THAT is probably the bigger story, and why they are claiming they weren't responsible for the information leak.


November 15th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

I have to agree with you.  It's a felony to release student info without their consent.  FERPA guidlines are pretty clear about this.  Although I think the OP is concerned with the integrity of Newton, considering he is the subject of all the controversy, and not the administration at Florida. 

david from wyoming

November 15th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

I'm still a grad student, so officially a TA but I've been getting a lot of substitute roles lecturing. I'm in the science and engineering fields.

To expand a bit more, everything in FERPA is the most common sense, if-you-break-FERPA-rules-you-should-get-dope-slapped, sort of stuff. Don't tell any one other than the student their grades, including parents. Don't talk about your students or their grades to anyone, including the media. Don't leave a pile of exams in a box outside of your door. This is hammered in a half a day seminar for all incoming TA's at Wyoming, but never really talked about at Michigan for TA's since the vast majority of it is common sense kind of stuff.

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

I'm sorry, but FERPA might just be one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever passed.  The number of kids who have died because of colleges and universities hiding behind FERPA obligations is absolutely disgusting.  It's one of those laws that seemily has a noble purposes (i.e. protecting student privacy), but one of the side effects is that information cannot be released without permission to parents without student consent.

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

I know, the law allows for it, but most schools totally ignore this exception and err extremely (and might I say, inappropriately) on the side of caution (i.e. not releasing) because the penalties for a inappropriate release can be so severe and because what constitutes a health or safety issue is not well defined.  It's one of those instances where while the law allows for it the stringency of the penalty combined with the ambiguity of the exception and the lack of resources/understanding by the administration officials who have to make that call results in a paralysis of action that almost always ends in the information not being released to the parents even when there is a legitimate health or safety risk.

david from wyoming

November 15th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

Can you give me any kind of example here? The only situation I could think of that might apply to FERPA and a safety risk is once upon a time I had a student communicate clear suicidal thoughts to me and I walked the kid over to student services THAT EXACT MINUTE. I have no clue if I broke FERPA rules or not, nor do I care, because I honestly might have saved a life. If his parents called me, I would not have disclosed anything to them, but the situation was still taken care of.

david from wyoming

November 15th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

So again, this may not be the best example, it's the only situation that fit what point I think you are trying to make...

In this situation, the school kept it 'in house' and did not inform parents or other authorities since the school had enough resources to help the student and, quite frankly, the parents were the root of the problem. Maybe I'm putting to much faith into the resources that a university can apply to issues like this, but I don't see any reason to bring in parents or police or a local hospital, which would be breaking FERPA rules. The university handled the problem very well, the student's needs were a clear priority and no contact was needed with outside players to further help the student.

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 2:02 PM ^

A lot of times you're probably right, but the bigger problem seems to arise when the school does not alert someone else and something happens to the student.  So while they complied with FERPA, the student didn't get the help they needed and the school may face a lawsuit that may very well cost them substantially more than the FERPA violation ever would have (and plus, the student wasn't protected).


November 16th, 2010 at 1:26 AM ^

I have a couple issues with this. First of all, if someone is mentioning suicide its usually not a 1 time incident. If thats the case and its a ongoing mental disorder as opposed to a 1 time moment of weakness what happens when the student graduates? What happens when he is no longer under the supervision of the university? Just wipe your hands and walk away or does the university continue to follow up with the student for life?


Secondly, if that was your child wouldn't you want to know? I understand that in your instance the kids family was the reason for the threat but what if they werent the reason? If my child threatened suicide while at school, the school chose not to notify me, my child graduated, and then killed himself/herself and I wasnt notified I would furious beyond words.


I understand obeying the law but sometimes there is a moral issue and doing what is right needs to superceed what is lawful. 

Isaac Newton

November 15th, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

It's true most schools, though I think a decreasing number, err on the side of not releasing.  I don't think the reasons behind them not releasing are because of penalties, though.  No school has ever had a penalty handed down, or perhaps it would be better to state that the only penalties ever handed down were instruction to change their process and/or increase education of FERPA on campus.  For the feds to actually take away funding would require an egregious, blatant and repeated series of violations. 

FERPA is often not the only law at play in health/safety issues, HIIPA being the most obvious other.  I agree it is often difficult for administration officials to make a call.  Each case should be measured on it's own; most cases are sensitive and complicated.  It's also the case that administration officials are unaware there is even an issue, or it's severity, until it's too late.  I don't think FERPA, in and of itself, can be blamed for these things.

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

You're absoulutely right.  I'ts not just FERPA.  Other laws, including the HIIPA plays a big part, as well, in those cases where there is actual health care provision and information.  I should have been more clear about what I was intending to say, though.  I'm not saying that FERPA/HIIPA prevent the disclosure of the information, but rather the schools get caught up worrying about the FERPA/HIIPA disclosure requirements and forget that strict compliance could open them up for negligence liability (more so in certain states than others).  In other words, the requirements of these laws, when applied by people who really don't understand them, results in either inaction or inappropriate action.  I do agree, however, that this has gotten better.  Primarily, in my opinion, because the litigation that has resulted from these types of cases has put the fear of God into these colleges and universities to actually understand the laws properly and disclose appropriately.  Unfortunately, though, these laws have also caused another side effect (which is the real reason I was saying it was dangerous) in that it has caused many colleges and universities to intentionally try to limit the amount of information that they receive from students so that a duty to disclose never arises.


November 15th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

Once they hit 18, they aren't kids any more in the eyes of the law.  It doesn't matter who is paying the bills, or how much supervision they may still need.  

Blaming the universities for that is a little off-target, in my opinion.  They are just caught in the middle between kids and parents who aren't talking to each other.



Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

I'm sorry for taking this portion of the conversation way off track based on your comment.  I just got sidetracked by a topic of personal interest.  One of the "textbook cases" in this area involves a close friend of mine who died back when we were in college.  Please don't take anything I've said here as a statement of what the law is, but rather what I've said are just my personal thoughts on the unintended consequences of this law based on my experience in a situation that didn't work out like the situation that you described did.

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

Also, I applaud the person who took the time, and willingly gave their points, to "neg" all of my posts in this thread.  I appreciate your willingness to sacrifice your points to the greater good, although this is one of those rare instances where I really would be curious as to the reason, simply because I cannot fathom how someone could disagree with the underlying point of these posts (in other words, I would hope you would be kind enough elaborate).

Clarence Beeks

November 15th, 2010 at 4:42 PM ^

Haha.  Yeah, maybe.  The only other thing that I can think of is that someone read my prior comment to mean that I was that I didn't actually know what I was talking about (i.e. just stating an opinion without knowing the subject).  No idea.  We'll see if they are kind enough to respond.  Especially if they helped write FERPA!

The Man Down T…

November 15th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

for you.  Don't know why they had a problem either.  Maybe his mom took part of his computer time away and he was in a bad mood.  Maybe his date wasn't impressed by his ability to light his farts on fire.  Possibly he ran into this woman: 


You never know.   But then again, I've been neg-banged on posts I thought for sure would be ignored or pos'ed.  Like when I wished Paterno well this season...  C'est LaVie, can't make everyone happy. 

His Dudeness

November 15th, 2010 at 11:11 AM ^

A) We all know who the subject of this is, but you haven't actually identified the subject.

B) The Freep is an oddity. Not many newspapers openly root for the destruction of the home team. Well I guess the GRPress can be lumped in with them, but I don't know if the papers in Florida openly hate the Gators.


November 15th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

My biggest question aside from the obvious is, why should a student athlete be punished for the actions of their parents if they really had nothing to do with it? I realize that it is hard to prove and extremely unlikely that the athlete wasn't involved, but if he really wasn't why is he punished? 

Mr Miggle

November 15th, 2010 at 11:28 AM ^

If you're talking about Newton, the main reason it's a story is that he allegedly told the Mississippi State recruiter about the money. So he clearly was involved.

If it's only a hypothetical question, he might not get punished directly under those unlikely circumstances. But his school is going to get punished and that could obviously affect him.


November 15th, 2010 at 11:40 AM ^

A few reasons:

(1) NCAA reaching parents?   If the allegatiosn are true, the schools and the student are the only people the NCAA can reach.  (The FBI could bust Dad for tax fraud or something if he took a bunch of cash.)

(2) Forces schools to control this kind of behavior.  A harsh penalty for students and the schools will forces schools to control their recruiting. 

(3) Attempt of promoting fair competition.  If Newton is at Auburn for $, even assuming his dad just told him to go there and he didn't know why, Newton should not be permitted to compete with players who don't get paid. 

Assuming the allegations are true, if Newton is ruled ineligible, that would suck for him.  But if he is eligible, that sucks for the schools that decided to play by the rules (some of those schools losing to Auburn).  What would you do if you were the NCAA? 


November 15th, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

Because if they don't punish the student for the behavior of their parents, then the parent of every top player in the country would start demanding money for their kid to play.  They will use it as a shield. 

This is also why they punish schools for the behavior of their boosters.  If they didn't, it would be too easy to use a booster as a "loophole" to pay for players.

The NCAA puts the oneous on the school to police this. 


November 15th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

1. Usually 2, sometimes 1 (Engineering, though I believe LSA has similar policies). Usually the first instance of cheating will be punished with failing the assignment or exam and 1/2 to full letter grade drop of the course grade. I also know of an instance where a student in a math class erased names on other students homework  in the drop box and wrote in his own name on it (For most if not all homework). This was discovered by a friend of mine (a victim) at the end of the semester when he was borderline for a higher grade in the class. The cheater was expelled for this.

2. I believe Newton was recruited out of the JUCO system, presumably he fixed his eligibility issues there.

3. Sounds like the information was leaked and they don't want to lie/want Newton to be found ineligible, but also need to cover there butts.

4. Yah, the Freep sucks, not much more to say there.


November 15th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

The cheating accusations seem to mirror some of the rumblings I hear about why we lost one of our basketball players in the offseason.  Got caught cheating 3 times, and finally got shown the door.

Enjoy Life

November 15th, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

Newton just seems like a con artist to me. Smiling, acting like nothing is happening. Refusing to comment. Things like "I won't comment on something that may have happened almost 2 years ago."

Really, you cheated, stole a laptop and because it was 2 years ago, all is forgiven and any discussion is off limits?

Does the NCAA and the Heisman folks really want to vacate another MNC and Heisman trophy in a couple of years when the investigation is concluded?

My guess is that they are all hoping Auburn will get beaten and Newton has a bad game and they don't have to make the choice.


November 15th, 2010 at 2:06 PM ^

Well he didn't steal the laptop, he bought a laptop he knows was stolen.  Doesn't make it right, but not quite the same.

I don't think the Heisman takes a chance on Newton unless some major exonerating evidence comes to light in the next few weeks.  As it is, it looks like Newton bought a stolen laptop, failed out of Florida (impressive young man), and had his family solicit money for his recruitment in order to keep his family church solvent.

Or this is a big conspiracy by Auburn haters, yeah that's it, War Eagle!


November 15th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

If you are teaching college, the overall tone for the school is set by the admin. In most places, there is a court or panel to handle issues like suspected cheating.

However, the department chair and dean have a lot to do with when and if a student is turned in for formal process. Many like a 'fail' for the work or the course, and move on, with the student usually being willing to accept that and not appeal to the panel themselves.

Then there are political issues. Not just being black, although that is on everyone's mind--"racist" is an accusation that causes a lot of trouble for the victim, even when not legitimate. Many students in that position also have determination letters due to their alleged disabilities. That leads to the fear of defenses based on 'the instructions were not clear enough for my disabled mind to follow'. Many course outlines now feature direct sectional references to college policies and the honor code on cheating and copying. Each semester my outlines and assignment instructions get longer and longer as the word gets around as to how a student's parent hired a lawyer to beat the student court process somewhere--as do the other teachers.

Some schools require that the instructor inform the conduct court of the event that led to a cheating fail, even if the formal process is not engaged. I suspect that this is one of those schools, and that the reason he was allowed to remain even with his record is that no one did anything other than send a copy of the failing grade and the circumstances for it to the formal body.

Here I something that I do not understand. NCAA communications to the athletic department about a student's in class performance are outside the FERPA rules. I fill out bi-weekly reports on in-season players, as well as a middle and end of the semester report on each student athlete. I have to guess that at a big time school the AD's office checks with the faculty more often than that. How is the AD and head coach going to claim they didn't know what was going on?