Photo of Jamell Walker by Frank Becerra/The Journal News
My investigation revealed that two NCAA Division I basketball players at Florida A&M, who previously played at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY had their scholarships yanked because of transcript fraud and that a WCC coach was fired after the college said he was to blame.
I exposed that one of the players, Jamell Walker, wasn’t even eligible to play at WCC because he only took one class there. My coverage prompted the National Junior College Athletic Association to investigate all WCC athletes for potential eligibility violations going back three to five years. It also prompted WCC to inspect all transcripts of its athletes during the same time period.
I revealed that WCC was tipped off to the suspected transcript fraud more than a year ago through an anonymous email that alleged a WCC coach changed grades of “star players,” added “credits for classes never taken,” and “tampered with” transcripts. The email was also sent to the SUNY Chancellor’s Office and the New York State Office of the Inspector General, but ther’s no indication school officials took action. The NJCAA told me that they sent the email to the WCC president, who confirmed receipt of it:
My ongoing coverage prompted St. John’s University to review the transcript of player Keith Thomas. He was then booted from the team:
It prompted Quinnipiac University to review the transcript of player Giovanni McLean. He had been cleared just a month earlier, but was then suspended from the team:
It also sparked investigations by Concordia College in Bronxville and SUNY Purchase into transcripts of all athletes who transferred to those colleges from WCC.
Then, it prompted WCC to suspend its men’s basketball program:
As a result of my coverage, I was named a Top 10 finalist in the Associated Press Sports Editors national contest in the Investigative Reporting category:
Here’s a link to me discussing this scandal on the radio:
Here’s other coverage on the case: