On New Year’s Day, one of the biggest football watching days of the year, The New York Times greeted readers with a front page story that might have caused some to turn off their sets.
It was the paper’s first in-depth take on the UNC academic fraud scandal: “A’s for Athletes, but Charges of Fraud at North Carolina.”
The story written by Sarah Lyall largely hews to our exclusive reporting on the scandal, and credits us for breaking it. But it’s clear from the Times’ web traffic that the story reached a much broader audience than ever before. It was the third-most viewed and emailed story, and the fifth-most tweeted, that day.
The next day, a Bloomberg Businessweek editor, who read the Times’ story and then our coverage, wrote one of the most stinging columns yet on the long-running scandal.
Paul M. Barrett, an assistant managing editor and senior writer, accused UNC and the NCAA of trying to conceal the athletic motives behind the fraud.
“The News & Observer’s reporting shows a clear pattern of both the university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association attempting to deflect attention from the connection between Tar Heel athletics and the no-show Afro-Am courses,’’ he wrote.
He also criticized the university for refusing to release figures showing how many men’s basketball and football players enrolled in the earliest confirmed no-show classes. They go as far back as 1997. The first three were Swahili language classes.
“It is past time for UNC to bare all and clean house,” Barrett wrote.
One of the people who could help do that is Barrett’s ultimate boss.
Peter T. Grauer is the chairman of Bloomberg L.P., the parent company of Bloomberg Businessweek. A UNC graduate, he’s been on the university’s board of trustees since 2011.
We have not heard from Grauer or any of the other trustees in the months we have requested the enrollment information. None as far as we know have said this information should be released.
An assistant to Grauer said he was on vacation this week and couldn’t be reached. We also sent him an email.