Texas to investigate academic fraud allegations

The University of Texas launches a review of men’s basketball academic fraud allegations
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The University of Texas announced Tuesday that it has hired an outside investigator to review cheating allegations within the men's basketball program that surfaced last week.

President Greg Fenves, who assumed the post on June 3, ordered the probe. The review will be overseen by Gene Marsh, a former chairman of the NCAA infractions committee. The school says the review will be a “thorough examination” of all procedures and policies and will include athletic department’s admissions process, academic advising and tutorial assistance, and interactions with athletic employees and school faculty members.

In a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education published on June 10, a former academic counselor said a math instructor told him she saw former basketball player Martez Walker cheat on an exam. Walker passed the class, but eventually transferred to Oakland University in Michigan.

The Chronicle also reported that former players J'Covan Brown and P.J. Tucker received assistance with classes and with writing papers. Brown allegedly received help from a former community college basketball coach while at college preparatory school after he failed to meet the admission standards at Texas.

All three athletes played for former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes. Barnes and Texas "mutually parted ways" after 17 seasons in March. He was later hired as the head coach of Tennessee.

“We have a very storied athletic program, a long tradition of integrity. The motto has been winning with integrity,” Fenves told the Austin American-Statesman. “As a new president, with all the issues going around collegiate athletics in general, coming into the position, I want to have an independent study of our programs to make sure we’re doing everything we should be.”

Texas officials have said that they have no knowledge of anyone receiving improper help with high school coursework before they enrolled at the school and will review the three cases to see if there was any impropriety.

“We take every allegation seriously, and we are looking into that,” Fenves said. “We felt Gene Marsh will get to the bottom of it, but at this point, I have no concerns there were improprieties. It’s prudent and responsible to look at them in depth.”

- Scooby Axson