This Sunday Forum is in response to “No penalties for Tar Heels after NCAA investigation” (Oct. 14).
Like many others I was shocked by the NCAA statement on the UNC athletic scandal. I fully expected sanctioning of both the football and women’s basketball programs. During Jan Boxill’s tenure as adviser to the women’s basketball team, 114 players were enrolled in paper classes, likely steered there by Boxill. She told the NCAA panel that “that she used hands-on teaching methods with all of her students, providing them with references, outlines ...” She certainly went far beyond this with her basketball players.
One of her letters says she edited the grammar, advised about formatting and said to “add the reference info.” She says she “didn’t get to the conclusion,” but a followup letter says that she “added a conclusion,” this for a course she did not even teach. Evidently this was standard practice with basketball players.
Boxill came to UNC in 1988 to work in the Student Athlete Development Center when her husband was recruited for a professorship in the Philosophy department. She was academic adviser to the women’s basketball team until she was forced to resign. She claims that she has behaved ethically. A charitable interpretation would be that her closeness to her athletes clouded her judgment.
Elliot M. Cramer
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The NCAA should remove “collegiate” from its organization name and substitute “National Entertainment Athletic Association.” It is irrelevant to educational institutions.
Paul T. Caldwell
Well the NCAA has concluded that the “scandal” concerning paper classes and athletes at UNC does not deserve sanctions.
What is The News & Observer going to do now for a weekly go-to story? I think this has been one of the longest running stories it has ever had. I guess it will have to find a new “scandal.”
Paying too much
If 18 years of classes that had no instruction and were graded by secretaries can’t be identified as academic fraud, then taxpayers, parents and students are paying far too much for frivolities like professors and classrooms.
I can buy the daily N&0 for $1.50, and that includes 25 or 30 pieces of paper. UNC could surely sell just one for less than four years at $20,000 to $25,000 each.
Greg Sankey, the NCAA panel’s chief hearing officer said: “While student athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body. Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student athletes.”
That was the conclusion after seven years of NCAA investigations, examinations of hundreds of UNC employees, thousands of documents and millions of dollars spent in six internal investigations. What does this tell us? To a rational mind it indicates that UNC-CH has been running the cleanest athletic program in major college sports probably in the last 80 years.
Given the number and influence of those out to paint UNC as some sort of rogue institution, any failings by UNC would have been detected. Justice would be a series lasting over five years with frequent front-page headlines and thousands of column inches of articles praising UNC and pointing out the actual facts in the case rather than the anti-UNC propaganda that has been the greatest story in The News & Observer over at least the last five years.
J. Larry Mason
So what I gather about this whole UNC scandal is that you can take fake classes so long as they are being made available to the whole student body. It’s not considered cheating according to the NCAA because the athletes are not being giving favorable treatment. What? Are you kidding?
This has got to be one of the biggest botched jobs I have ever seen by the NCAA. They must think that people out there are total morons. Carolina fans know their school is guilty because they don’t want to talk about it, they just want it to go away.
When a college offers classes that aren’t real so it can turn around and hand athletes an A or B-plus to help keep them eligible it is cheating, and last time I checked that’s a violation of student conduct code which every student receives when they enter college which talks about the penalties of cheating. The school itself ought to be appalled by what happened instead of trying to defend what went on. However, money talks, and UNC brings in a lot of money. Do you think Southern Methodist University would have gotten a pass?
The Carolina Way?
It appears everything I learned in Sunday School was wrong. Lying works, cheating wins and complete moral and ethical bankruptcy is in fact a legitimate pathway to success. All while the UNC fan base “celebrates” the fact that their school committed 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes (not students) eligible and got away with it. At least the Carolina Way has a fitting epitaph for its tombstone: Winning is everything, integrity is expendable.
Think of taxpayers
The NCAA’s lack of sanctions for UNC makes clear what has been known for years: Major college sports programs like football and basketball function mainly as minor league training camps for the pros. Regardless of the NCAA’s non-sanctions, UNC-Chapel Hill’s bogus classes were created to ensure player eligibility. Nothing else explains why half of the enrollees were football or basketball players.
We should stop pretending they are student-athletes when they really are Class AA or AAA or semi-pros. Then we should ask ourselves why N.C. taxpayers should subsidize an education that these athletes never receive.