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Thursday August 11th

Paper in McAdoo lawsuit shows evidence of plagiarism

Revised at 4:00 p.m.: The previous version of the story said reported the information. Instead, information within the site led to the story being reported.

The term paper on which former North Carolina football player Michael McAdoo was found to have received impermissible help from a former tutor also shows several plagiarized passages.

Want to know more about how UNC defines plagiarism? Then take this quiz

According to information first found on and later reported by, McAdoo appears to have committed plagiarism throughout the paper and in varying amounts. He was found guilty on one count of academic fraud — having his citations formatted by former tutor Jennifer Wiley — by the UNC Honor Court in October.

“This work reflects his ideas exclusively,” said Steve Keady from UNC’s legal counsel during McAdoo’s appeals teleconference with the NCAA. “It is not a rip off. This really is his work.”

McAdoo’s lawyer Noah Huffstetler submitted the term paper as part of his client’s lawsuit against the NCAA and UNC to reinstate his collegiate eligibility. In numerous cases, several passages were taken verbatim or nearly word-for-word by McAdoo from sources that were either referenced later in the paper or not at all.

“I just wanted (Wiley) to look over my work, check it for grammar, make sure my ideas made sense and to check my citations so I would not be plagiarizing,” McAdoo said at the appeals hearing.

“And I never thought for a second that we were breaking any rules. I was working hard and she was there to make sure I was on the right track. She was willing to look over my work to make sure I was straight and I thought that’s what most students do. My biggest concern was trying to make sure I would not plagiarize so that’s why I wanted her to check all of the citations.”

Huffstetler, reached by phone on Friday, said he would not comment until the hearing, scheduled for July 13.

“Academic integrity is critically important to intercollegiate athletics and something that is expected from all student-athletes,” NCAA spokesman Christopher Radford said in a statement Wednesday. “As a result, the NCAA plans to vigorously defend the process by which penalties related to academic misconduct are ultimately determined by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, comprised of representatives from member institutions.”

McAdoo’s paper uses three consecutive paragraphs from a Tanzanian journalist’s blog post “Know the history of Swahili language and its original culture.” The paragraphs are nearly word for word from the blog post, which was written less than two months before McAdoo’s paper was turned in on July 13, 2009.

The paper also takes two paragraphs from an article entitled “The Brief History of the Swahili Language,” which was found on the Zanzinet Forum.

There is no mention of the blog post anywhere in the paper, including the works cited page that Wiley was found to have done for him.

McAdoo’s paper takes a substantial amount of work from Charles Cornelius’ “The History of the East African Coast.” McAdoo cites some usage of the book but claims several paragraphs as his own throughout his paper. On page four of his paper, McAdoo uses an entire paragraph that is nearly verbatim from the second page of the book’s introduction.

According to the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance, Section II.B.1, plagiarism is defined as “the deliberate or reckless representation of another’s words,thoughts, or ideas as one’s own without attribution in connection with submission of academic work, whether graded or otherwise.”

McAdoo’s professor Dr. Julius Nyang’oro is out of the country and did not immediately respond to emails.

“We are arguing that this was Michael McAdoo’s work, even the citations were his work. They were not formatted correctly, however,” UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said during the appeals teleconference.

McAdoo was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA on Nov. 15 after receiving $110 in benefits from a prospective agent and improper academic assistance from Wiley. The Honor Court gave McAdoo a failing grade for the assignment, suspended him for the spring 2011 semester and ruled him eligible to return to the team for the 2011 season.

The NCAA separately ruled him permanently ineligible. At that time, Baddour said the “facts of the cases simply do not support permanent ineligibility” and that UNC would appeal aggressively.

The NCAA heard McAdoo’s appeal on Dec. 14 and upheld its ruling on Feb. 9. Later, McAdoo, who had previously been under UNC counsel, retained individual counsel, something he was unaware he could do according to the lawsuit.

At the end of the appeals teleconference, the NCAA asked McAdoo if he had anything else to say.

“I would like to clarify one thing,” he said. “I wrote the entire paper and found all my sources and identified them. The tutor helped me with formatting because I thought that was okay. I did not intentionally seek out impermissible assistance.”

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