A few weeks ago, I told you all about some trouble brewing up in Chapel Hill. Well, it looks like we were just scratching the surface back then.
In March, the University of North Carolina football program was hit with sanctions by the NCAA due to players receiving impermissible benefits along with academic misconduct. The time leading up to the NCAA’s decision and shortly after, the focus was on the “gifts” given to players and the ridiculousness of NCAA rules. One player was cited for receiving about $20, while another got in trouble for sleeping on a former teammate’s couch. Stupid, I know. However, the NCAA’s job is to ensure these guys stay broke so that they can reap millions on their backs. It’s nothing new when it comes to the NCAA.
But little did we know that these insignificant gifts were the least of UNC’s worries…
The Raleigh News & Observer has been really digging around Chapel Hill for the past year and discovered some serious issues surrounding the school’s African American Studies program. More specifically, why did UNC athletes flock to this department?
As I mentioned in my previous article, the further people dig, the more questions that are raised. Up until this past March, we’ve been told that this was simply a football issue and that the firing of Head Coach Butch Davis would solve the problem. However, we all know UNC is a basketball school first and foremost. So, what involvement have they had with this program?
Well, it turns out the basketball team was no stranger to the AFAM program either. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead informed everyone that seven members of the 2005 national championship team actually majored in this department. In case you’re wondering, Men’s basketball is allowed 13 scholarship players. That’s over half the team for you UNC graduates.
Then, this past Saturday, it really hit the fan for UNC. Somehow, former UNC star Julius Pepper’s college transcript was released on UNC’s website. A trolling NC State fan saw said transcript and quickly took a screen shot of the document. While the University quickly took the transcript down, the damage was already done.
It turns out that the dual sport athlete (he played on UNC’s 2000 Final Four team) didn’t do very well in his classes. Well, other than the numerous AFAM courses he took. He actually received a B or higher in every one of those classes. Still, his 1.8 GPA makes one wonder how the star was even eligible to play.
This means that UNC athletes were being directed towards fraudulent courses for at least the past ten years. The enormity of this scandal is like nothing we’ve ever seen. Gregg Doyel made the following point today in his scathing article:
This one is worse than what happened in 2007 at Florida State. I mean, it’s not even close. Florida State had some numbers that looked bad — 61 athletes from 10 different teams — but this UNC scandal dwarfs it.
FSU had 61 tainted players, almost all from the same class.
North Carolina has at least 54 tainted classes.
Let that sink in for a moment. An entire department filled with fake courses. Whether or not the department was created for athletes or not, the fact remains that the school used these courses to keep their players eligible.
So what are our friends at the NCAA doing about this? Well, as of right now absolutely nothing. But the pressure is growing. Maybe the NCAA doesn’t want to admit the missed the gigantic elephant in the room when they investigated last year. Or maybe they looked the other way in order to protect a school known for doing things the right way.
The “Carolina Way”, as they like to say in Chapel Hill.
I seem to recall another program that used to brag about it’s squeaky clean history when it came to NCAA violations. Ask a Penn State graduate how that’s going for them.
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