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NCAA closes inquiry into alleged Texas Longhorns basketball academic misconduct

Extensive investigations determined that the Longhorns did not provide improper academic assistance, commit academic misconduct, or violate university policies.

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The NCAA Director of Enforcement informed the Texas Longhorns that his office will not conduct further inquiry into alleged academic misconduct in the basketball program under former head coach Rick Barnes as an expert on academic integrity released a 49-page report commissioned by president Greg Fenves.

A lack of cooperation and academic records made the NCAA investigation more difficult, leading to the following conclusion sent to Texas vice president of legal affairs Patti Ohlendorf in September:

Based on available information, it does not appear there is need for further inquiry into this matter at this time.  As you know, the NCAA enforcement staff and theinstitution conducted a cooperative investigation into the matter.  In addition, theinstitution also conducted its own comprehensive review.  Although some individuals participated in an NCAA interview, others outside the institution refused.  Further, the passage of time made some academic records unavailable toboth the institution and the enforcement staff.  Should additional information become available, the enforcement staff will review this information with the institution and determine whether further inquiry is necessary.

The investigation and the review initiated by Fenves were the result of allegations laid out by the Chronicle of Higher Education that former players Martez Walker, PJ Tucker, and J'Covan Brown received improper assistance in classes and in writing papers, along with an allegation of cheating on an exam.

In the review of the Texas Athletics Student Services division headed by current, Gene Marsh, the expert on academic integrity who headed the internal investigation, came to the same conclusions as the NCAA in regard to the allegations of academic misconduct, finding no evidence to support the accusations after interviewing 83 people ranging from coaches to students to faculty members and reviewing data, reports, and university procedures.

Marsh determined that "UT is not afraid to evaluate the academic experience of its student-athletes, report findings to the academic community and other interested parties, and affect positive change where it is warranted."

Despite those positive findings, Marsh was concerned that 70 percent of the African-American athletes at Texas are enrolled in the College of Education. Marsh's discovery prompted Fenves to direct athletic directors Mike Perrin and Chris Plonsky to investigate whether athletes are funneled into less challenging academic majors in an effort to boost GPAs to the detriment of their "total learning experience."

As this report details, academic clustering of athletes is a common practice around the country.

"Our highest priority at Texas is to make sure our student-athletes receive a world-class education and are prepared for life after college," said Perrin. "The Marsh Report highlights our many successes but also identifies the areas where we can improve."