Plagiarism discovery complicates McAdoo's case against UNC, NCAA
When I wrote my
"(1) Football players shouldn't rape women or teammates or have sex with women who are drunk and passed out in their own apartments; (2) Players and coaches and recruiting assistants shouldn't ever use sex, drugs and alcohol to recruit players, and recruiting assistants and players shouldn't hire women to come to hotels; and (3) There will be zero tolerance -- especially for coaches and athletic directors who say 'I wasn't aware' and 'I didn't know' and 'I can't be held accountable for what happens late at night' and 'I forgot' and 'I don't recall' and 'She was a terrible player.'"
But I couldn't. First, those sentences wouldn't have made much sense in the context of the column. Second, they weren't my thoughts. Those sentiments emerged from the brain of
Which brings us to the case of North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo. On Wednesday,
Sounds like McAdoo has a fantastic case. The NCAA clearly ignored the facts when it sentenced him.
Here's where it gets complicated. When McAdoo's attorney filed the suit, he included as evidence the paper in question. This week,
McAdoo's paper included the following passage:
Careful readers might have spotted a few oddities. First, in 2010, the Population Reference Bureau estimated Africa's population at 1.03 billion. That is more than six times larger than the population figure referenced in McAdoo's paper. Also, "Mohammedanism" is more commonly known as Islam. But it wasn't in 1911, when Scottish missionary Donald Fraser published
Had McAdoo paraphrased the material -- a perfectly acceptable practice given his use of citations -- he might have noticed the irregularities. But this looks like a select, control-c, control-v job. Here is that passage pasted directly from the source (which might look a little funny because whatever program transcribed the text didn't quite read it all correctly):
The NCAA may try to re-litigate that case, though. Plagiarizing a paper is a more serious offense than having a tutor reformat the citations. NCAA attorneys almost certainly will seize on the plagiarism as evidence that their sentence was fair.
If a judge is willing to consider that before rendering his decision, then Huffstetler probably will counter with a question: How does plagiarizing a paper stack up with being fed test answers by a tutor? Because that's what happened a few years ago at Florida State. Then, the same body that banned McAdoo handed the athletes in that case a suspension of 30 percent of their sport's season. If the NCAA prevails in Wednesday's hearing, it will have stripped McAdoo of two full seasons.
Of course, the NCAA's student-athlete reinstatement staff didn't appear to worry about precedent or common sense in previous cases. After all, these are the same people who allowed Ohio State's tattoo crew to play in the Sugar Bowl win
If McAdoo hadn't plagiarized, he might have had an airtight case that would have a) Gotten him back on the field, b) Made him a chunk of change in a settlement, c) Forced the NCAA to examine the consistency and quality of the decisions made by its student-athlete reinstatement staff or d) Some or all of the above. That could all still happen, but the NCAA's attorneys now have a prime opportunity to cast doubt on McAdoo's entire case. We'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out whether the exposure of the plagiarism had any effect.
Until then, I'll be working on Cheating for Dummies: Student-Athlete Edition.
Rule No. 1: Always paraphrase, or at least make sure your tutor does.