The NCAA is currently investigating alleged academic violations surrounding the Kean (N.J.) University women’s basketball team, according to a piece from columnist Dave D’Alessandro in today’s Newark Star-Ledger.
Embattled former athletic director Glenn Hedden, fired after 22 years on the job shortly after NCAA investigators showed up in April, claimed that women’s hoops coach Michele Sharp, a history professor and two of Hedden’s superiors created a fake class for nine Cougars, changed grades so an all-New Jersey Athletic Conference guard could maintain eligibility with a 2.0 GPA (D’Alessandro doesn’t actually name the player in his column, but based on the fact that she “torched [Amherst] for 28 points in an 85-82 Kean victory,” it doesn’t take much to figure it out), and engaged in other forms of academic fraud.
According to D’Alessandro, Hedden tried to do the right thing and encouraged his officials to self-report, but got canned isntead:
Hedden says he reported these violations to the NCAA both early and midway through the season, each time making the internal recommendation to suspend the player, while reminding school officials that a self-report would be seen more favorably by the folks in Indianapolis.
And then there’s D’Alessandro’s absolute obliteration of the Kean administration. In response to a PR statement from the University, which took two days to e-mail and failed to capitalize “Hedden” and “May,” D’Alessandro wrote:
Perhaps this is the kind of inexactitude one expects from a place that takes so many liberties with letters.
The Star-Ledger got its hands on the 19-page wrongful termination suit, filed by Hedden under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and apparently some of the allegations, if true, are “are going to look very bad once the NCAA releases its report this summer.”
D’Alessandro speculates that the Kean administration, based on e-mails turned over to the NCAA, will go the predictable route in defense of letting Hedden go:
But it’s clear [executive VP Phil] Connelly and the university will claim — spoiler alert — that Hedden’s charges are the specious accusations of a disgruntled employee whose own oversight was lacking.
Remember, Tufts’ women’s basketball team lost to the Cougars in the NCAA Tournament second round at Kean, 75-56, on March 6, 2010. The aforementioned star player had 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting in 30 minutes. Additionally, Amherst’s loss to Kean on Jan. 11 this year was the Lord Jeffs’ only defeat of the season. They went on to win the NCAA Tournament, while Kean was bounced by third-place Christopher Newport in the Sweet Sixteen.
Stay posted for more information on the alleged NCAA violations by one of the nation’s premier Div. III women’s basketball programs, one that’s reached the Elite Eight in three of the past four seasons.
Source: D’Alessandro: As NCAA investigates Kean, former AD Glenn Hedden stands tall (Star-Ledger)