Regarding the ongoing controversy about the UNC academic fraud investigation (gleefully referred to by many Wolfpack fans as “the gift that keeps on giving,”): The elephant in the room is the fact that not a single one of these woefully underqualified students was admitted by any UNC coach or athletic official; those decisions were made by admissions personnel and their administrative supervisors.
Yet, thus far, the only UNC personnel dismissed are coaches, academic support staff and a couple of rogue academic personnel who engineered an ingenious scam by which scores of athletes maintained eligibility for decades.
In the rush to indict coaches who attended staff meetings for which the primary agenda item was how to maintain the eligibility of key players, many academicians and administrators fail to point out the chief reason that this type of meeting was necessary in the first place: These “student-athletes” simply couldn’t keep up.
Yes, most coaches are well-informed on the academic progress of their players, and if they knew of specific irregularities and chose to look the other way, they should be held accountable. But why only coaches? Why not the decision-makers at every level of the academic-athletic enterprise? What coach, whose career and the financial support of his family depend upon the behavior and actions of 18- to 23-year-old kids, is going to recommend that the decision to admit an ill-prepared student who can score touchdowns or average a double-double for a season be rescinded?
Instead, these coaches and the academic support staff are tasked with keeping afloat, with few exceptions, a ship sinking in red ink despite the monstrous revenues from football and men’s basketball, which support the 20-something other sports and ensure Title IX compliance.
Oh, yeah, and they better not just win, but win big or be fired!
It’s past time for some integrity and honesty from the academic community concerning the admissions policies of UNC and other universities mired in athletic-academic scandal.
Former N.C. State assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator (1987-1999)
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.