Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 31 May 2017

This ol’ Carolina Boy is Sorely Disappointed


 
Now, I’m just an ol’ Carolina boy and a fiercely loyal University of North Carolina fan. (Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred, etc. etc.) I love my school and will ’til the day I’m a Tar Heel dead.

But I have refused to close my eyes to the ongoing academic/athletic scandal that has rocked the school and sullied its reputation. I earned my living for most of my professional life teaching and as a dean in Higher Education. As I began to hear the details of the UNC scandal, I knew exactly what the checks and balances, oversights, and academic rigor enforcements were which should have been in place — and which should have kept or stopped something like this from happening immediately — but which had been non-existent, unknown, innocently ignored, or maliciously flouted.

NCAA AllegationsIt resulted in academic fraud and (we may soon learn from the NCAA) athletic malfeasance. I am terribly angry at and greatly disappointed in my beloved alma mater for allowing this demeaning of the value of my education and diploma, and that of a huge number of of students and student-athletes. Here’s how things stand now, as we await the NCAA hearing scheduled for mid-August.

UNC’s sole response to the NCAA at this point seems to be, in essence, “Screw you. You only have power over us in Athletics. You have no authority over what we do in Academics. That is the job of our accreditors. So bug off!”

“The University takes seriously its obligations to comply with NCAA bylaws, but fundamentally believes that the matters at issue here were of an academic nature that do not implicate the NCAA bylaws,” the school said through the mouth of one of its attorneys, from a Chicago/New York law firm whom Carolina is paying an hourly rate of $990 per partner and a minimum of $450 per associate for the foreseeable future.

It is highly ironic to hear this coming from the school whose academic malfeasance caused their accreditors to put them on probation — because UNC “had failed to meet seven standards, including academic integrity and control over college athletics” and “showed little control over athletics.” According to those accreditors, probation is “usually, but not necessarily, invoked as the last step before an institution is removed” from accreditation. The accreditation agency’s probationary status for Carolina ended in June 2016 because the school had convinced them that they had put sufficient “safeguards in place to ensure this doesn’t happen [again.]” Let’s hope this turns out to be true.

As a result of its year on accreditation probation, Carolina is now alleging it has done its time in academic purgatory and has repented of its sins, therefore the NCAA has no standing to pronounce sanctions on them.

That reasoning might sound okay on a first, hurried reading — except for the fact that satisfactory and real academic progress (as defined by the NCAA) is a non-negotiable criterion for athletic eligibility!

If you falsify one to fraudulently achieve the other, Carolina, you have linked them inseparably.

Athletes must keep their GPA high enough to meet NCAA standards, or they will be declared academically ineligible. It’s over. Sayonara. How greatly might any school sin if one (or several) of their star football or basketball players was in a deeply deficient GPA situation?

When the scandal broke, Carolina (to its credit) hired a former Federal prosecutor to do a thorough, complete, no-holds-barred, we-have-nothing-to-hide investigation. When Ken Wainstein came to campus to present his 131-page Report in October of 2014, the stunned faces of UNC System President Tom Ross and UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt were all we needed to see to know that some major manure had been raked up. Three-and-a-half pages of the Report’s Executive Summary contain nothing but bullet-points of wrongdoings. The following are verbatim excerpts from just the first of those pages:

Former Federal Prosecutor Ken Wainstein presents his Report to the UNC leadership.

Former Federal Prosecutor Ken Wainstein presents his Report to the UNC leadership.

  • shadow curriculum… flawed instruction through the offering of “paper classes”… no interaction with a faculty member… required no class attendance or course work other than a single paper… resulted in consistently high grades… awarded without reading the papers or otherwise evaluating their true quality.
  • to help struggling students and student-athletes… felt sympathy for under-prepared students who struggled with the demanding Chapel Hill curriculum… affinity for student-athletes in particular… gave them ready access to these watered-down classes.
  • 18 years these classes existed… hundreds of individual independent studies in the “paper class” format — with no class attendance or faculty involvement, and with [Deborah] Crowder [“non-faculty,” “secretary”] managing the class and liberally grading the papers… over 3,100 students received one or more semesters of deficient instruction and were awarded high grades that often had little relationship to the quality of their work.
  • grades earned in these paper classes were significantly higher than grades awared in the regular classes… average grade issued to all identified students in the paper classes was 3.62 [out of a possible 4.0].
  • student-athletes accounted for a disproportionately high percentage of enrollments in the paper classes… 47.4% were student-athletes, even though student-athletes make up just over 4% of the Chapel Hill undergraduate student body… 50.9% [of these] were football players, 12.2% were men’s basketball players, 6.1% were women’s baskteball players, and 30.6% were Olympic and other sport athletes.

(If you want to read the entire report (or if your stomach won’t tolerate that, then just the explosive Executive Summary), you can find it by clicking here.)

These (and so many more) are the findings of the independent legal Consultant — bought and paid for by UNC, to the tune of $3.1 million — for whom all doors on campus were opened and to whom access to everything was granted. Carolina owns these findings. All the evidence indicates that the school provided at least one avenue for an extraordinary number of “under-prepared” student-athletes who “struggled with the demanding Chapel Hill curriculum,” in order to circumvent normal academic rigor and receive unmerited high grades for minimal or no work.

And now, Carolina’s latest ploy is to say that the NCAA has no right to use the findings of the Wainstein Report as evidence against them. Surely they’re not trying to assert that the school has something similar to 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination?!?

I love you with all my heart, Carolina! I’m forever proud of the education you gave me. And I love and have admired every athlete who has ever worn a UNC jersey!

But you did wrong. Fake classes with no professor, no attendance or residency requirement, and the minimal required work was graded by a secretary? Did easy A’s = easy eligibility?

And you know you did wrong. So… sit down, shut up, take the punishment you deserve, apologize profusely and continually to the athletes whose degrees you have demeaned and whose reputations you have sullied — and never, EVER do this crap again!

‘Nuff said.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. […] the serpent had nefariously crept into Paradise, in the form of my recent post (click here to read the unabridged version), where I urged the Carolina administration and leadership to take ownership of the school’s […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: