Thanks to North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and District Attorney Jim Woodall of Orange and Chatham counties, more about the embarrassing scandal involving the football program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may be coming to light. This time, people will be under oath in a courtroom for the proceedings involving charges against a former tutor, Jennifer Lauren Wiley Thompson.
Marshall’s office investigated and Woodall will proceed with charges against Thompson: that she violated the state’s law on athletes and agents by buying an airline ticket for player Greg Little in 2010, that later that year she delivered cash to him and also gave him gifts to connect him with a Georgia-based sports agent.
Marshall got involved after an NCAA investigation. There is no joy in this proceeding for anyone. But the football program as run by fired Coach Butch Davis was prospering on the field but allegedly not living up to very high standards off the field. In addition to the allegations involving Thompson and Little, there were reports in The News & Observer about bogus courses in the African studies department, favored by athletes and requiring very little work.
The university has not handled this controversy well. It has appeared to try to blame the situation on a public relations problem or an unfair pursuit by the media, specifically The N&O. But now, with court proceedings, the truth will have a chance to emerge. In the end, that will be healthy for everyone.