On October 13, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Committee on Infractions released a final ruling on the academic-athletic scandal that has loomed over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2010.
The NCAA finalized that it “could not conclude academic violations” in the case against the university and its athletic program.
The investigation focused on the supposed fraudulent “paper classes” offered by the African and Afro-American Studies department at the university and whether they helped athletes maintain their eligibility.
According to an independent university investigation into the accusations headed by former U.S. Department of Justice Official Kenneth Wainstein, over 3,100 UNC students took “fake classes,” in which they would not attend formal class and receive high grades for inferior papers.The Wainstein report concluded that these classes were key in helping student-athletes, who made up half of the number of students enrolled in the courses, remain eligible.
UNC has continually shifted its stance on the issue. School officials initially acknowledged the allegations in response to the independent Wainstein investigation and during UNC’s accreditation process. However, the university’s lawyers denied that the school admitted to the allegations of academic fraud in a letter to the accreditation commission, claiming it was a “typo.”
Instead, UNC claims that since the “no-show” classes were offered to all students, student-athletes didn’t receive extra benefits by taking the courses.
It’s a real shame that a school ranked as the 30th best college in the country by U.S. News seems to care much more about its athletics program than the fact that it isn’t providing a quality education for its paying students.
The school should be extremely concerned that academic fraud was obviously committed by students and athletes. But instead of taking full responsibility, UNC is just trying to cover for its athletic program so that its traditionally successful sports programs, especially men’s basketball, don’t receive sanctions that would hinder their futures successes.
UNC’s handling of the academic scandal is embarrassing, and the university needs to show that it is concerned about the quality of education it offers both students and student-athletes alike.