Letters to the Editor

Jay M. Smith: Revisionist history on UNC scandal

Regarding the Nov. 12 Point of View “ What athletic scandal?”: Michael Jacobs has things backward, and it is sad to see the residue of denial continuing to contaminate good minds.

To Jacobs’ argument that “athletes were not the only ones enrolled” in the fake classes and that the scam was therefore not primarily athletic in nature, there is one obvious retort: Would this course scam have existed if not for the presence of athletes who “needed” lightened academic burdens?

Of course any academic fraud is incubated on “the academic side” of the university, because athletic departments cannot create courses and do not participate in teaching. But the demand for fraud in this case clearly came from “the athletic side” of the campus. No amount of revisionist history will change the brute fact that athletes were at least 12 times more likely to take a fake class than regular UNC students (48 percent of enrollees were athletes; 4 percent of the student body are athletes).

Jacobs’ insinuation that “a vocal group of faculty” is out to “eliminate athletics” from UNC is also a gross distortion. The Athletic Reform Group advocates for the best long-term interests of athletes and seeks transparency and integrity across the university. These goals, by now, should be uncontroversial.

Jay M. Smith, Chapel Hill