For Discussion: Auburn’s Football Team Graduation Rate At 100% For White Players And 49% For Blacks

- By Bossip Staff

Auburn’s top-ranked football team, which is preparing to play Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., for the national title on Monday, has tumbled in the N.C.A.A.’s most important academic measurement to No. 85 from No. 4 among the 120 major college football programs.

The decline came after the university closed several academic loopholes following a New York Times article in 2006 that showed numerous football players padded their grade-point averages and remained eligible through independent-study-style courses that required little or no work. Auburn has earned a certain sort of praise from those who were its toughest critics in 2006.

“Auburn was in a rogue position and they corrected it,” said Gordon Gee, who in 2006, when he was Vanderbilt’s chancellor, was stunned that Auburn was ranked higher than his university. Gee is now president of Ohio State. “When those loopholes are closed and the issue is dramatically different, it shows that the loophole was being used. I applaud Auburn. They really did make a concerted effort to curb those abuses. We should applaud them even if they dropped 80 points.”

Auburn’s drop in the Academic Progress Rate, a four-year assessment of the movement toward graduation for a team’s players, is the third largest in college football since 2006, behind Mississippi’s (to 113 from 18) and Florida State’s (to 105 from 17). Since 2006, both Florida State and Michigan have endured academic scandals, with Michigan’s ranking falling to 84 from 27.

Among all the bowl teams this season, Auburn has the highest disparity in the graduation rates between white players (100 percent) and black players (49 percent), according to a study at the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

Jim Gundlach, the Auburn sociology professor who uncovered the academic abuse, saw the decline in the team’s ranking as progress. “A genuine consequence to this has been that the people who want to do things right have gotten a bit more grasp over what the university is trying to do,” he said.

Auburn’s athletic director, Jay Jacobs, declined to comment. The Tigers’ second-year football coach, Gene Chizik, said of his team’s academic performance and support, “We do a great job, so we’re not concerned with that.” When pressed on the issue of graduating black players, Chizik said, “Those are circumstances; there’s all kinds of different things.”

In 2006, Auburn football was No. 1 among public universities in the academic ranking, alongside private institutions like Duke and Boston College. But some irregularities had caught Gundlach’s attention two years earlier.

He saw on television that an academic football player of the week was an Auburn sociology major, yet Gundlach was surprised that he had never had him in class. He asked two other sociology professors, who also did not recall having him as their student. Gundlach dug through records and soon found that Auburn football players were graduating as sociology majors without taking sociology courses in the classroom.

He found that 18 players on Auburn’s undefeated 2004 team had taken 97 directed-reading course hours — independent study-style classes — from Thomas Petee, the sociology department’s highest-ranking member. Petee taught 252 independent studies in one academic year, 2004-5, astounding Auburn faculty members, who said that overseeing 10 independent studies would be considered ambitious.

In investigating the situation, the university found that another professor, James Witte, had taught an inordinate number of directed-reading classes. The investigation did not find fault in the athletic department because the courses were available to and taken by all students. The N.C.A.A. investigation yielded secondary violations. Witte, the program coordinator for adult education, and Petee stepped down as department chairmen, and Petee was later forced to stop teaching after an audit revealed that he had changed grades without the approval of professors.

Petee did not respond to a request seeking comment, and a woman who answered the telephone at his house said that he was not available. Petee’s lawyer also declined to comment. Witte did not return a call or respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Another factor in Auburn’s precipitous drop was the university’s decision to hire Chizik to replace Tommy Tuberville as the football coach two years ago. Kevin Lennon, the N.C.A.A. vice president for membership services, said that rankings can dip after coaching changes because of the number of players who transfer.

But Thomas S. Paskus, the N.C.A.A.’s principal research scientist, said that a drop as large as Auburn’s was irregular.


Via NYTimes

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  • YokoDMV

    whatever man…i think they should pay college athletes

    • Lucy

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      Are yawl surprised???? They play in the SEC (deep south). Most of these black players went to public schools in the deep south. 90% of those schools don’t prepare you for college. Not surprised.

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  • childrenofthenow

    These numbers are ridiculously believable.

  • some sense

    I played collegiate sports and these stats can be easily misunderstood. The graduation rate doesn’t mean they aren’t graduating. It means they aren’t graduating in 4 years at the school where they start. I transferred and had to write a letter to my old school saying I left for my major. With all that being said, the academic dept should be in trouble for being starstruck. Also, this article makes it seem like all the players messing up are black.

    • Kendra R

      Exactly. This doesn’t take into account those black athletes who may graduate in 5 or 6 years. I’ve heard stories of some black athletes returning to finish their long after they have become superstars in the NFL or NBA.

  • Keep it Real

    Has anyone listened to the black athletes speak? They have the communicational skills of a fourth grader. This is the end result of 70% legitimacy caused by that welfare crack they have these black girls hooked on. Babies having babies grandmothers at 30 great-grandmothers at 45.

    • coldt7

      Kir10,yeah right.

    • this is it

      You sound stupid and by your comment it shows you will listen to anything that comes out of anybody’s mouth. Did you come up with those so called statics yourself, doubt it, you read it on a blogsite.

  • kellekel09

    i hate auburn university, and i live in auburn.

  • ProphetOnye

    Are yawl surprised???? They play in the SEC (deep south). Most of these black players went to public schools in the deep south. 90% of those schools don’t prepare you for college. Not surprised.

    • OooLaLaLa

      Your stats are completely off. and what does the fact that some of the students went to public school in the south have to do with anything? Some of players came from other areas of the US as well.

    • jay32

      Your statistics are completely off.I went to a great public school in the south.Last time I checked NY was only graduating about 50% of black males from high school and they have some of the worst test scores in the country.Poor education isn’t just a southern problem its a nation wide problem.

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  • Adjour

    Who cares?? Black football players are dumberer anyway.

    • DaHonestTruth ~ Always Keeping it Real

      Are you by any chance a black football player because there’s no such word as dumberer?!?!

  • The Commenter Formerly Known as White Devil

    Major college football and basketball have nothing to do with academics. They need to stop the charade.

    • Curious1 aka Flawless Beauty

      10000% agree…

  • im always right

    why should college players get paid? they already have a full time scholarship and are going to the expensive school for flippin free anyways! and also in case some of you didn’t know your gpa doesn’t have to even be high in college if you play a sport. all you gotta have is a 2.0


      There is no such thing as a Four Year Scholarship. Those scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis,and can be taken away at anytime the University,feels that the player is not living up to the level they believed him to be on. They can yank that Golden ticket away anytime they want,so don”t think for a minute that it’s a free ride.

  • Go Mama


  • Slide Like a Fresh Pair of Gators

    Auburn footb@ll players were graduating as sociology majors without taking sociology courses in the cla$$room

    Major college football and basketball have nothing to do with academics. They need to stop the charade


  • WithAllHonesty

    I’m guessing they aren’t putting half the time into their education as they are putting it toward practice, the play book, the gym, and on the field. All I can say is don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

  • FutureMrs

    Ooh ooh I have the answer *raises hand

    Blk men are dumb 😐
    They didn’t make a plan B. They didn’t stop to thing “hey, what if I don’t make it to the NFL and may actually need to get a job”.

    On the other hand I hope that stats are false

  • if anything be noble

    @ FutureMrs, you have been well-indoctrinated if you think the answer ever is Black men are dumb. You are a job well-done.

  • FutureMrs

    @noble thank you *takes bow

  • rose by any other name 350 8914 ™

    @DaHonest.. girl you aint never lied, they talking crap about grandma’s at 30 and great-grands at 45.. well it has to be a grand-dad at 35 and a great-grand-dad at 45, what is their problem, these girls aint making these babies with the tooth-fairy!!wtf?? SMDH at such nonsense on here and then they come back at you under all these stupid imposter azz names which aint nobody but some damn fool that has a attitude because you tell the truth! so transparent till it makes you just want to kiss this site good-bye!!

  • Michael

    Black athletes need to stay out of the clubs so much and stop chasing women 24/7. Use that time to study instead of throwing away the opportunity to get a university education. The ones who don’t make it into professional football will end up poor and stupid. Working for minimum wage somewhere when they should have applied themselves to earning a degree in something that will afford them a decent wage. People have to take control over their own destiny and futures.

  • Chocolat

    Black MOTHERS AND FATHERS this is your fault! You need to push the value of education to your children. Pursue higher! Black children need to be more competive! look at how well the other races are doing! why are we so far behind? We are concerned about stupid stuff! stupid unproductive values! it’s ridiculous! think sustainability! The goal for your should be- educated athlete!

  • jt

    a loot of black people don’t like education and love ignorance.

  • juliemango

    Hey if the footballin and the academics dont work out for these ambitious fellas they can always get a skills trade which pays well not every brain is cut out to study and grasp or learn what university has to offer!!!

  • Curious1 aka Flawless Beauty


  • WithAllHonesty

    I think you’re both right. Its the parenting,the system, and the athletes not having their priorities straight.

  • Curious1 aka Flawless Beauty


  • chaka1

    We can make excuses for the black players all we want. HOWEVER, white players = 100%!!!!! We’ve got to do better than this…

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