Former North Carolina standout football and basketball player Julius Peppers has donated $250,000 to the university’s Light on the Hill Society Scholarship fund that supports African-American students, UNC announced in a release Monday.
Peppers, who has been in the news recently because an old transcript of his academic standing at UNC surfaced on the Internet, causing further questions in the on-going academic mess at the school, donated $100,000 to the same fund several years ago.
The Chicago Bears defensive end released a statement last Friday acknowledging the transcript was his. It revealed he had a 1.8 grade point average and failed several classes, including two in the controversial African-American Studies curriculum. Peppers also noted he wished he had been more focused academically when he was at UNC.
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The AFAM department has been under intense scrutiny because a disproportionate number of students in its classes have been athletes, including mostly football players. The courses have ranged from no-show classes to ones with extremely light workloads to speculation some students received grades they didn’t earn.
Peppers reiterated last week that he received no preferential treatment when at North Carolina, but also expressed disappointment the transcript was available, which is a possible violation of the Federal Educations Rights and Privacy Act. Yet, Peppers maintained his devotion to UNC, was clear with his latest gesture.
“After considering the ways that I might be able to help young college students, I decided to continue my support of the Light on the Hill scholarship,” Peppers said in the release. “I would like to endorse this particular fund and encourage other former UNC students who have found success to reach back and assist the efforts of current and future Tar Heels.”
Peppers was an All-American defensive end at UNC and the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2002. He also played basketball for two seasons, including on the 2000 Final Four team.