Overlooked in the News

The disclosure that one of the nation’s premier universities, the University of North Carolina (UNC) which is so well entwined with my family, has cheated — yes the word is cheated — not just the NCAA, and the student- athletes, but colleges and universities in general, is difficult to swallow.

Yes, everyone has suspected for decades that some, perhaps many colleges have passed athletes who did not meet the standards. We only need to listen to some professional athletes speak on camera to know they didn’t meet university standards.

But the disclosure of a study that the UNC Department of African Studies, a questionable subject matter to begin with, had not just once in awhile, here and there nudged an athlete or two above the passing line, but had for decades had classes with no content for thousands of people. More than 3,100 “students” over 18 years got “A” and “B”grades for fraud.

Regrettably, the news did not get the wide distribution that it deserved because it had to compete with wall to wall Ebola coverage. The length and breadth of this academic fraud may not initially rise to the current crises of homegrown Jihadists or Ebola, but it might just open the Pandora’s box of not just athletes getting a pass academically, but the academic rigor required of African Studies, and even Women’s Studies.

Athletes get a full scholarship, a great opportunity for a good education, but we know just from observation that many are on campus simply for the ticket to play professional sports with a four year stopover for campus partying, but the UNC report gives us a look under the rock. We must not let still more important news events let this opportunity pass.

During the 18 year period investigated, the results determined by the Rawlings Panel have now been addressed by the University with the sort of washy-washy educational jargon one would expect — but that doesn’t mean that the University will not actually address the problem. They probably will, but you can bet that they will not place themselves in a non-competitive position.

Only a full overhaul of all college and university football and basketball team academic situations in Division 1 athletics can solve what is a societal problem, long unaddressed. The NCAA had previously investigated North Carolina but had apparently not uncovered the African Studies Department, and that was the elephant in the room.

The special treatment of “student athletes.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: