As we have watched the UNC Scandal begin with some tweets that Marvin Austin thought were harmless and saw it morph into rogue academic problems, rogue agents and runners, rogue this, and rogue that, one thing that wasn’t really discussed much was how much did this cost (and was any tax payer money used). Well, a UNC senior did some research into trying to find out. She found out that at least $5.03 million has been paid (not including internal investigations which no money figures were given) to external sources for investigating and being PR consultants for the UNC Scandal.
The article starts with this information:
Thorp wanted to investigate the scandals, he said, but he knew there was a perception that UNC would protect its sports programs at all costs. External help would come with an expensive price tag, and he wrestled with the idea of hiring experts who would charge thousands of dollars.
But he wanted to restore trust in the University — the only place he had applied for college, and where he spent most of his career. So he reached externally, tapping Baker Tilly, a national academic auditing firm based in Virginia, and former Gov. Jim Martin to investigate the academic scandal. For four months of work, they produced a report of their findings — and a bill of more than $1 million.
That $1 million charge represents just a small piece of the larger price UNC has paid to repair the damages associated with three years of controversy. Since June 2010, UNC has spent more than $5.03 million on three scandals — academic, athletic and sexual assault — that have afflicted the community.
The $5 million total comes from two hefty burdens: the use of external experts — including lawyers, consultants and public relations firms — who charged UNC thousands of dollars for their work, and expensive severance packages paid to University officials tied to the scandals. The total, which represents the most significant costs the University bore, comes from numbers and invoices provided by UNC.
University officials say costs associated with controversies are not financed with tuition dollars but instead through three main sources: state funds, the athletic budget and the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Inc., a portion of the University’s endowment established through private donations. A small portion of the costs were paid through miscellaneous University funds, a spokeswoman said.
Only about 36 percent of the costs were financed by the endowment’s private funds, according to data provided by a University spokeswoman — leaving about 61 percent of the scandals to be financed through the University’s athletic budget, and roughly 3 percent to be financed by state funding.
Paying for the costs through the athletic budget and state funds, both of which are comprised of money from the public, calls into question how much — or even if — the public should be responsible for footing the bill for the University’s missteps.
I liked Thorp’s quote of “he knew there was a perception that UNC would protect its sports programs at all costs.” Thorp knows the old saying of Perception is reality.
My two favorite parts of the article are when the author sweeps over mentioning who found two of the biggest PR disasters for the university for the entire scandal. What is missing in these two sections?
In October 2010, the court found Michael McAdoo, a defensive lineman for UNC, guilty of receiving too much help from Wiley on a paper for a class taught by Julius Nyang’oro, chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
That same paper was later determined to have been largely plagiarized — a revelation undetected by the Honor Court, the athletic department and Nyang’oro, who allowed McAdoo in his 400-level course. One oddity with the upper-level class stands out: McAdoo had never taken English 100: Basic Writing.
The internal investigation, however, failed to uncover one key document: the transcript of Julius Peppers, a UNC football and basketball player in the early 2000s who now plays for the Chicago Bears. The transcript surfaced just two months after the internal investigation, and indicated Peppers excelled in his African studies classes while failing most everything else.
An exasperated public demanded to know the extent of the academic scandal.
I missed the statement saying that these relevations were uncovered by Pack Pride, a NC State centric message board.
I do wonder, with all of the above the table money that was spent on getting to underneath the surface but not quite the root of the problems, how much more money and pro-bono work was done that has not been accounted for? As Ben Stein said in Ferris Bueller, “Anyone, Anyone, Anyone?”