A former University of Missouri tutor said she can document at least a dozen instances of serious academic fraud involving men’s and women’s athletes during a 16-month period.
Math tutor Yolanda Kumar said that she felt pressured to keep athletes academically eligible , especially football and men’s basketball players, according to the Kansas City Star.
Math and stats tutor Yolanda Kumar, above, has been tutoring athletes since 2010 – she sparked a probe after confessing she took exams for athletes
Kumar (right) was part of the Total Person Program, but she resigned earlier this month after dropping a bomb about potential academic fraud
Math tutor Yolanda Kumar, who has been tutoring Missou athletes since 2010, said she helped them to the extent that it constituted academic fraud
Her allegations come less than a year after the school sanctioned its men’s basketball team for violating NCAA rules.
Hours after Kumar posted in her personal Facebook account Tuesday afternoon that she had taken entrance exams and completed entire courses for Mizzou athletes, the university issued a statement announcing its investigation.
‘The University of Missouri has received allegations of potential academic rules violations by a former tutor in the Athletics Academic Services area,’ the athletics department said in a statement. ‘Consistent with our commitment to rules compliance and to operating our athletics program with integrity, we are conducting a review of the allegations.’
‘I was groomed to do this’ Kumar said of taking exams for athletes and answering questions for them on tests
Of the hundreds of Missouri athletes she has tutored since 2010, Kumar said, 15 involved serious academic fraud. Kumar resigned earlier this month.
She said that she met with a lawyer but realized she can’t afford one.
She said she felt like she had been ‘groomed’ over time by her superiors to participate in what she described as ‘academic dishonesty,’ according to the St. Louis Dispatch.
‘I was groomed to do this, yes. It doesn’t happen in a day or in a week, but it does happen over time and one day it just hit me,’ she said.
The last straw for Kumar involved a male athlete she said needed help during the summer on a core class she was told he needed to graduate. The student passed, she said, ‘but he really was struggling with very basic things that my eighth-grader could do.’
The same student, whose sport she would not identify, was assigned to her in the fall and became depressed after he was unable to grasp basic statistics equations, she said.
‘No matter how many times I told him, how many examples I gave him, he couldn’t do it. It was just (expletive) adding. That was all he had to do was (expletive) add it up, and he couldn’t do it. It was me. I was looking at what I had done, because I helped this,’ she said, according to Kansas City Star.
Missou is rocked by another academic scandal involving athletic departments – this time from a long-time tutor who said she ‘knowingly participated in academic dishonesty’
‘This kid, he has no hope,’ Kumar said. ‘He’s so lost, and I helped. I helped ruin him. I probably can’t take it all, because it’s not all me. It’s not all me at all, but he was the one who forced me. That was enough. I couldn’t do it anymore.’
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Kumar said she ‘knowingly participated in academic dishonesty in my position as a tutor,’ and that she ‘just can’t carry this burden anymore.’ She apologized for disappointing her Facebook friends.
During an 18-minute phone call on November 2 with Mary Ann Austin, the university’s executive associate athletic director for compliance, Kumar came clean about her involvement.
Initially it felt good to have provided that information, she said, but she soon realized ‘the evil was out of the box and you can’t put it back in.’
‘Missouri deserves the chance to defend this, but it’s probably hard to believe someone would make a public statement like this if it’s not true,’ David Ridpath, an associate professor of sport management at Ohio University told the St. Louis Dispatch. ‘If a tutor is taking classes, helping out with entrance exams and providing other assistance that’s generally not available to the student body, it would be the definition of academic fraud.’
In her Facebook post Tuesday, she said at least two academic coordinators for athletes in revenue-generating sports encouraged, promoted and supported her activities.
Kumar resigned her position November 7 prior to a meeting with a member for compliance, general counsel and ‘an individual that reports to the chancellor.’
The university’s announcement comes 10 months after it self-imposed sanctions against the men’s basketball program stemming from a sham internship program and impermissible benefits received by players and their families at Tan-Tar-A resort at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Third-year basketball coach Kim Anderson’s team was banned from the 2016 postseason and forfeited two scholarships as part of the sanctions that were accepted by the NCAA when it closed the case in August.