The Washington Times - September 4, 2007, 10:06AM

\ This weekend brought one of those instances.\

\ When it was revealed Saturday that Maryland quarterback Josh Portis was suspended for the year due to a “mistake involving the University Academic Code of Conduct.”\

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\ As it turns out, there are two major conduct codes at Maryland, neither of which go by that specific name. There’s the a “code of student conduct” that handles most legal infractions and a “code of academic integrity” that is pretty self-explanatory.\

\ And naturally, both of them are online.\

\ Obviously, an “academic issue” as delineated by the athletic department release distributed before Saturday’s game will fall under the code of academic integrity. And sure enough, that code includes an explanation that fits with the facts available — that is, a season of ineligibility and a decision handed down by the university.\

\ That would fall under the subhead of The Grade of XF in the academic code. An XF is the grade the university assigns “to denote a failure to accept and exhibit the fundamental value of academic honesty,” a catch-all phrase that covers cheating, plagiarizing, fabrication and helping someone else cheat.\

\ According to section 31 of the code, “No student with an ‘XF’ on the student’s transcript shall be permitted to represent the University in any extracurricular activity, or run for or hold office in any student organization which is allowed to use University facilities, or which receives University funds.”\

\ Section 32 covers how to get rid of the XF, which is considered an academic scarlet letter. A petition might be filed to the student honor council, which can remove the XF if :\ a) 12 months have passed since it was imposed; \ b) The student completes a non-credit seminar on academic integrity; \ and c) There is no further evidence of academic dishonesty or similar acts.\

\ And that, it would seem, probably provides some explanation of the process behind Maryland’s biggest surprise of the first week.\

\ — Patrick Stevens