Texas Basketball Allegedly Involved in Academic Scandal

According to Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Texas is facing allegations of academic misconduct involving a number student-athletes, namely its basketball players, during the Rick Barnes era.

His report hones in on three players in particular: Martez Walker, who has since transferred to Oakland University, and former players J’Covan Brown and P.J. Tucker.

Texas later released a statement on the allegations:

Academic integrity is at the core of The University of Texas. Our student-athletes’ academic progress rates are among the best in the nation. And we continually seek to foster an ethical culture that reduces the risk of wrongdoing, manages our internal controls, and responds to inappropriate conduct.

The university takes any suggestion of wrongdoing extremely seriously. We are always looking to identify problems that may exist and ways we can do better.

Working with external NCAA bylaw and academic compliance experts Gene Marsh and Geoff Silver, UT is investigating allegations raised by The Chronicle of Higher Education and has contacted the NCAA about them.

We determined that the university had no knowledge of two former student-athletes allegedly receiving improper help with high school coursework before they enrolled. We now are reviewing three other cases purported to have occurred over a nine-year period since 2006 to determine if any university or NCAA rules were violated and if any action is needed.

The university has no information that suggests former Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Barnes knew of or was involved in any academic improprieties.

President Gregory L. Fenves is actively working with his leadership teams in both Student Affairs and Athletics to pursue the highest levels of integrity for all UT students.

Math instructor Pamela G. Powell allegedly caught Walker taking pictures of a test on his phone and seeking answers to those questions, “according to two former academic advisers informed of the incident.” Powell passed on the information to “Adam Creasy, her liaison with the athletic department,” and the information was then sent to several other folks within the university.

The result? Walker passed the class and “was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, for earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average.”

Per Wolverton, “One former academic mentor in the athletic department told the Chronicle that he had helped write papers for J’Covan Brown,” while a final paper was submitted on Tucker’s behalf for his “Leadership in the Community” class, despite the player reportedly being out of state at the time preparing for the NBA draft.

Texas is already investigating prior allegations of academic fraud, as “a Chronicle investigation detailed how hundreds of college athletes, including two former Texas basketball players, had reportedly gained NCAA eligibility through the use of bogus online coursework,” so this latest batch of allegations adds to the school’s growing list of accusations.

If Texas is found to have harbored an institutional culture of academic fraud, the university could face major NCAA sanctions—as could Barnes, now the head coach at Tennessee.

Hopefully the punishment will go to Barnes at Tennessee and not the current head coach, Shaka Smart.

Written by Nick Endress

Nick Endress

Nick the Quick Endress is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?