ISU Professor Probes Academic Fraud For NCAA

Mar 26, 2019
Originally published on March 25, 2019 3:54 pm

An Illinois State University marketing professor plans to use her new role with the NCAA to help it root out academic misconduct.

Jeri Beggs, who also teaches an ethics class at ISU, has been named to the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors. She said the association's own rules made it difficult to sanction the University of North Carolina after it allegedly ran fake classes for years to help keep students eligible to play sports.

“(The university) basically went back and said we don’t consider this to be cheating and because they didn’t consider it to be cheating, the NCAA could do nothing,” Beggs conceded. “We are looking to change those rules. Basically, if a jury of your peers, so to speak, would say this was cheating, maybe we don’t care what the institution says anymore.”

She said the NCAA is looking to create a separate jury which could decide whether a school had committed wrongdoing and is seeking to use evidence collected by outside parties, such as testimony stemming from court cases, something which has been off limits in the past.

"The board is trying to figure out how we stop that situation from happening again because it made the NCAA and it made college athletics look awful."

Beggs also serves on the NCAA's academic committee which will soon be reviewing the recent college admissions scandal.

She said the challenge in punishing these schools for misconduct is the perpetrators are usually long gone.

“I felt bad for them, but I had to make peace with the idea that we would never punish anyone if all (a school) had to do was get rid of everyone that participated in it,” Beggs said.

Beggs added schools generally consider postseason bans to be the most severe punishment because student athletes are then free to transfer to other schools.

Beggs is just the second faculty representative ever appointed to the NCAA Board of Directors. Those positions are typically given to university presidents.

She is also the second in her family to serve on the board. Her father-in-law Donald Beggs, the president of Wichita State University, represented the Missouri Valley Conference on the board from 2001 to 2005.

Beggs said she is grateful to work as an institution like ISU which hasn’t had academic problems in its athletics department.

“It’s always good to say that I’m a Redbird and we do things right here,” Beggs said. 

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