Does the NCAA care?Â Does the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools care? Does anyone care?
Is it an academic issue? Is it an athletics issue?Â Is it both?
Ask most folks who wear baby blue and they’ll tell you it’s not an issue at all.Â Except, that is, if it’s affecting recruiting.
But at least one person in Chapel Hill was well aware of the issues involved, and what the implications might be.Â Thus she “requested” changes in the wording of a report which outlined (at least a few of) the improprieties going on over at “The Hill” (N&O)
Newly released correspondence shows the faculty leader at UNC-Chapel Hill watered down a report into academic fraud to lessen the chances the NCAA would come back to campus.
The correspondence shows that hours before the reportâ€™s release on July 26, 2012, Faculty Council Chairman Jan Boxill sent the three faculty authors a last-minute email. It suggested they rewrite a sentence that painted a picture of a department manager creating bogus classes to protect athletesâ€™ eligibility to play sports.
The authors grudgingly agreed to it, and some key information disappeared from the final version.
Now, it’s unclear whether Boxill acted alone or whether there was/were request(s) from higher up.Â She claims that the “request came from other faculty”.Â But frankly, does that really even matter?Â Most folks that don’t wear baby blue, and even some that do, don’t seem to think so.
As the elected faculty leader, Boxill is one of UNCâ€™s top academic officials. Rewriting a sentence that carried the suggestion of an athletic motive behind the scandal should not be the mission of a faculty, said the author of a book on college athletic scandals.
â€œThe faculty committee should not anticipate the audience or implications, but rather fulfill the charge they undertook,â€ said John Thelin, an education professor at the University of Kentucky and author of â€œGames Colleges Play.â€
Jay Smith, a UNC history professor who has been among the most vocal critics of the universityâ€™s handling of the scandal, said Boxillâ€™s email confirmed his fears that UNC had not investigated vigorously.
â€œIt seems consistent with what I have taken to be the universityâ€™s strategy all along, which is they wanted to come up with findings that seemed frank and candid, but which also carefully exclude any further NCAA investigation,â€ Smith said.
Is it any wonder why allowing them to self-investigate is no longer trusted by anyone outside of their tight knit circle?Â Also, I wonder if history professor Jay Smith has hired a food taster yet?Â Word of advice Professor Smith….look under your car before you start it.
FWIW, the major change in the report seems to center upon the deletion of a mention of Deborah Crowder, who is named as an “athletics supporter” in the initial version, and is mentioned as having “used the system” to benefit athletes…..
â€œAlthough we may never know for certain, it was our impression from multiple interviews that the involvement of Deborah Crowder seems to have been that of an athletics supporter who was extremely close to personnel in Athletics, and who managed to use the system to help players by directing them to enroll in courses in the African and Afro-American Studies department that turned out to be aberrant or irregularly taught.â€
â€œAlthough we may never know for certain, it was our impression from multiple interviews that a department staff member managed to use the system to help players by directing them to enroll in courses in the African and Afro-American Studies Department that turned out to be aberrant or irregularly taught.”
A subtle change?Â Perhaps.Â But it does seem interesting that Boxill (or someone, at least) appears to have wanted Crowder’s name, as well as a reference to her being an “athletic supporter”, omitted from the report.
You might recall that Deborah Crowder is one of the scapegoats….errrr rogues….named thus far in what can only be termed an isolated instance (sarcasm).Â You can refresh your memory here of Crowder and her relationship to the AFAM situation.
And regardless of whether the change in this report was in fact minor (debatable), the fact that someone in a position of authority was interested in changing the report IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER to minimize the chances of a return visit from the NCAA is the key point here.Â Don’t you think?
What a cesspool the flagship has become.
But at least they aren’t selling sneakers or comp tickets.Â Because then they’d REALLY be in trouble.