Meeting and beating cheating working in Charlotte schools, Guilford stepping up

Posted by Andy Durham on September 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm under High School | 21 Comments to Read

The word in the Charlotte Schools is that Play Fair is a bear(mountains of paperwork), but it is working to turn around the problem of students changing schools like they are playing musical chairs……. Here’s the word today, and it shows how the procedure is working within the CMS System…..

Very interesting article today from on-line in Charlotte and to get it all just go to Charlotte Observer Click Here.

One year into an anti-cheating program, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say they’ve slowed, if not stopped, a wave of high school athletes who had lied about their addresses to play for elite teams.

Parents and school officials say the new initiative, called Play Fair, enforces attendance zones and makes it harder to cheat. About 20 documents are required for each student-athlete, and a widely publicized anti-cheating hot line makes potential violators more fearful of getting caught.

But the new system also makes the jobs of high school athletic directors tougher, some say, giving them more duties when budget cuts prevent hiring additional help. Skeptics say families are still working the system to get their kids on elite teams – only now, they actually move instead of pretending to.

“It’s kind of hard to imagine when you go around the (school) system and you see the discrepancy among some teams, why there are these clusters of athletes who wind up on good teams and other teams have such a lack,” said Adam Bernstein, a parent who once reported a family he suspected of violating the rules. “It’s hard to image that there’s not something other than just geography going on.”

Superintendent Peter Gorman announced the creation of Play Fair in August 2008 after an Observer investigation found widespread cheating on eligibility rules in high school athletics.

Subsequent CMS investigations resulted in more than 20 student-athletes being declared ineligible, four coaches resigning or being removed and five high schools forfeiting football seasons.

Play Fair, which includes mandatory honor codes as well as the hot line and address-checking procedures, is meant to eliminate such violations. In one year, CMS has fielded more than 400 e-mails and calls from tipsters.

The new system has uncovered four team violations and 10 honor code violations involving residency problems, grades or other issues.

The latest penalty was assessed against a West Charlotte football player who must now sit out from CMS sports for a year. West Charlotte won’t forfeit the game he played in because it was a loss.

George Walker, an Independence High teacher who has closely followed the eligibility controversy, said the phone hot line and new residency forms seem to have spooked potential cheaters. Parents and students must also attend mandatory meetings where they learn the rules and penalties, and sign honor code forms.

“A big chunk of (the cheating) is gone,” Walker said. “Nobody wants to get caught.”

Guilford County schools last month announced that its superintendent, former CMS official Maurice Green, was launching an identical anti-cheating system called Fair Play. The Greensboro initiative follows a school system investigation at Northern Guilford High that ended in the resignations of the school’s principal and athletics director, the banning of two coaches and the dismissal of a custodian.

CMS instituted the crackdown despite the system’s inability to put full-time athletics directors in schools to handle the workload. Athletics directors teach classes in addition to supervising sports programs.

Gorman, in announcing his plan last year, said he intended to ask for full-time directors. But budget shortfalls have prompted CMS to lay off teachers this year. The 2009-10 budget doesn’t include money for full-time directors, said Andre Mayes, a CMS lawyer who helps oversee the anti-cheating program.

Greg Clewis, athletics director at Myers Park High, said athletics directors now must collect about 20 documents for each student. He said he gets an assistant principal to help him double-check addresses, and keeps in close contact with the school registrar.

“It’s a bear. It’s a tough process, and time-consuming,” Clewis said. But, he said, “I would say folks are much more willing to make a call and report this kid or the other kid. I can think of two or three examples off the top of my head… of people who signed documents and falsified information and got caught.”


  • not a gcs fan said,

    Hmmmmm. Cheating…..? Is it cheating when a parent(s) wants the best for their child and decides that means a particular school with good academics and a great coach and team in a particular sport? Falsifying documents is cheating. Moving into a particular district is not. At some point y’all gotta admit that athletics are important for a lot of kids. Why do we pay taxes? Who do these jokers work for? How about assigning a committee of ex-athletes that get the big picture vs. a bunch of dweebs that never played a sport in their life

  • Tiger10 said,

    No, it is not cheating when a parent wants the best academics for their child or the best coach. However, it most certainly cheating when a parent lies about where they live in order for their child to be coached by a certain coach so they can win a state championship! If you want your child to go to a particular school, for whatever reason, then MOVE! Do it the right way! What these parents have taught their children is that rules and laws do not matter and that they can do whatever they want. And, that “not a gcs fan” is WRONG no matter how you look at it! It doesn’t matter who sits on the “committee”, academics or ex-athletes, high school recruiting is illegal!

  • not a gcs fan said,

    As I stated in my 1st post, “Falsifying documents is cheating.” I didn’t say anything about recruiting. My point about non-athletes making athletics rules refers to what I see as a bias against athletes. I don’t see rules prohibiting drama students from going to the best drama school. The larger point in all this this is the dysfunctionality of Guilford Co. Schools, county commission, etc.

  • Andy said,

    Mo Green(superintendent) and Leigh Hebbard(athleitcs director) saw changes were needed in Guilford County and they made them.

    Guilford County very similar to Charlotte plan. Hopefully continuity in County Schools here in Guilford will come from this new plan.

    The complaints we have been receiving have been minimal.

  • Eddie Willis said,

    I would have been a little more impressed with a name for the new system tha did not mirror the name of the Charlotte proram quite so closely. It’s almost like plagiarism in school. I wonder how close the actual wording is! I guess it’s too much to expect a little bit of creativity!
    Eddie
    PS. The captain of the 2008 Dudley football team was a student in the Academy ( a very capable student I might add who received an appointment to a very prestigious school )— did he live in the Ragsdale school district?

  • point given said,

    if it was equal thats fine. Its not, there are more non athletes using false addresses then actual players. Why isn”t Jill Wilson, Mo Green investagation that. The whole thing is political Andy. Rob Crisp changed schools this summer and no one in orange county complained. We have a bunch of winers in guilford county and it hurt the city as much as it hurt the kids. Espn was going to pay Northern Guilford $125,000.00 to play the #1 ranked team in Alabama. What a lost of revenue for a city that played $47,000.00 on the northern investagation. What a waste. However there will be good news on thursday Andy, despite the haters. Big announcem.ent coming Thursday. Stay tuned.

  • mark said,

    Not sure where he lived but I do know he went to Jamestown Middle. No offense to Dudley or their Academy but when schools can have magnet programs or academies they can use to pull in athletes it renders the whole “fair play” program moot. Nobody from outside the district can go to Ragsdale or Western or Northeast but if they want to go to Dudley or Central or Grimsley or Southern (or any other magnet/academy) they can get in to play sports by joining those programs.

    And if anybody thinks there aren’t kids that join the academy at Dudley just so they can play sports there then they are kidding themselves.

  • Eddie Willis said,

    Maybe Mr. Green will read this blog if he really wants to deal with the issues. Everyone in guilford knows we have an unfair system—I am not condoning cheating, but the investigations and the punishments are not equal. Oh well, life’s not fair is it?

  • dave said,

    Eddie, I think Mo started the program in Charlotte. that may be why they are very similar. have to agree with your other comments.

    Mark is correct. Not sure where Josh lived. He did attend Jamestown Middle where he was a terror on the football team. One of his sponsors to get into Navy was a science teacher at JMS. The Academy appears to be a huge tool for athletes as well as students.

    Point Given, may want to research the Crisp transfer. They actually live in their new district. Not condoning it but they appear to be legal.

  • Damon said,

    I am so tired of excuses being made for this mess in Guilford County. Most parents want the best for their children and are willing to do what it takes within their means to make sure that it happens. If you get caught trying cheat/beat the system….YOU GOT CAUGHT! That should be the end of story. Instead we get this since everyone else is doing it, it’s ok for me to do it crap. So, let’s all jump off the bridge together. NO, take ownership of your decision.

  • Tom said,

    An additional part of the investigation into eligibility should require that participants in the academies/IB programs prove that they have remained in these programs while they are at the schools. If they drop out of the programs, they should have to return to their home schools. I just had to provide proof of residency (license and power bill) so I don’t think it is unreasonable for the academy/IB students to show that they are still in the program. If we are trying to keep everything “FAIR”, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  • KH said,

    Say what you will about what players should or should not be at Dudley or is using the academy to get in just to play sports. Another school in the city did it for years and built a very strong dynasty and it was hardly a peep of complaining from folks around the city. Back to the point you guys are acting like the kids in the academy are not up to par many of them go on to college of full academic and yes athletic scholarships which mean these kids are doing work in the classroom. Stop using the excuse well because one school is supposedly doing makes it right for this school to do it.
    Did anyone complain when folks were going to Nothern for the academics and they just happen to play a sport very well. All I heard from folks around the city is that a certain player(s) was transferring for academics and now one of those same players left because of academics partly.

  • Tom said,

    Yes they did complain and that is why there was the investigation. They complained all of the time. The only reason Mo Greene started the investigation was because of the number of complaints about Northern. It ends up that their complaints were justified. I am sure that the majority of the kids in the academy/IB programs are there for valid academic reasons. I am sure they are excelling and are obtaining academic scholarships. In order to make the system “FAIR”, we need to identify the people who are using the system inappropiately. This should be applied equally to all schools.

  • Coach said,

    I just have to ask, how can you be saying this about people wanting the best education for their kids when the school we all know your talking about has only been open two years? They have gotten that good of a academic reputation that fast? If that is the case then why isnt Grimsley or Northwest busting at the seams with transfers? I believe those two schools are supposed to be the best academic schools in the county. No, I am not involved with either of those two schools.

  • dave said,

    I was wondering when someone was going to make the point posted above.

  • Damon said,

    Good point Coach….my families’ decision to move to the southeastern part of Guilford County was based on my experience with certain teachers and administrators at SEG. If it were based on winning Football games, we would have been somewhere else.

  • stop said,

    People need to get a life and stop trying to keep a story going. I have many associates in the Northern district and they know for sure that the problems started within. They are also trying to move forward. Stop piggy backing on an old story.

  • Andy said,

    I may be flat-out wrong, but there still seems to be some interest in this topic.

    If this one’s not appealing, we have plenty of others to choose from.

  • Tom said,

    Once the investigation of Northern had been completed, it has become apparent that Mo Greene’s search for the “TRUTH” was simply a pin point attack. He wanted to take Northern down and he did. Did Northern need to be fixed? It does appear so. Mo instituted the new Fairness doctrine to make sure that things are better going forward. I find it funny that a lot of people want the investigation to stop. The same people that were calling for the Northern investigation want it to stop before it comes to their backyard. Mo needs to have the backbone to complete the investigation at all of the questionable schools. I doubt he will.

  • joe said,

    Why would Mo want to “take down” a brand new school that is to be a shining star in the County? I think you are imagining things. You may still be looking for the shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas.

  • Tom said,

    You needed to be at the two meetings Mo had at Northern. He is a true lawyer and politician. He answered the questions he wanted and said that the investigation would not stop at Northern. You could tell he was appeasing the crowd. It was obvious he was going to use Northern as the example for his new fairness program.