Dr. Saturday

UNC’s Erik Highsmith caught plagiarizing 11-year-olds

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(AP)

The North Carolina academics scandal is now affecting elementary schoolers.

Per a report in the News & Observer, North Carolina receiver Erik Highsmith plagiarized content from four 11-year-olds in order to fill a class requirement. Highsmith was required to add posts to blog for 30 percent of his grade and wrote about poultry farming and people and pets — the poultry piece was originally written and posted by kids in grade school.

The first entry was virtually identical to a passage on an education website written by four 11-year-olds for their peers. The second mirrored much of an essay someone posted on Urch.com, a website that helps people prepare for the SAT, GRE and other college entry exams.

But don't let the media tell you what to think. Take a look at the entry from Highsmith and the entry from the 11-year-olds and decide for yourself.

Highsmith's entry: "Poultry farming is raising of turkeys, ducks, chicken and other fowl for meat or eggs. Poultry farms can be breeding farms where they raise poultry for meat, or layer farms where they produce eggs. The 'best' breeds depend on what you want from them. Good egg layers are Rhode Island Reds [brown eggs] and Leghorns [white eggs]."

Entry from the 11-year-olds: "Poultry farming is raising chickens, turkeys, ducks and other fowl for meat or eggs. Poultry farms can be: 1. Breeding farms where they raise poultry for meat, or 2. Layer farms where they produce eggs.

The 'best' breeds depend on what you want from them. Good egg layers are Rhode Island Reds [brown eggs] and Leghorns [white eggs]."

At least Highsmith was "smart" enough to change some of the words around and cut out some of the punctuation and numbers otherwise it would have looked like he totally copied it. He also made sure to make his entry one paragraph instead of two. I bet when Highsmith was (re)writing this, he was cackling and thinking, "No way they'd pick up on that. I'm so freakin' smart."

OK, one second while we have a good, hearty laugh about this.

One more second… One more… OK.

UNC is already serving a one-year bowl ban for academic fraud violations under former coach Butch Davis.

On the plus side, these 11-year-olds have to be pretty smart to be plagiarized by a college student. Their parents must be very proud. As for Highsmith's parents, well, at least he's (probably) going to be a high NFL draft pick. Ya know, if he doesn't copy someone else's Wonderlic.

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