My new favorite drinking buddy (with whom I haven’t yet drank), the N&O’s Dan Kane, pens another piece – Peppers’ transcript might point to broader academic issues at UNC. No new bombshells overnight, but folks are talking….
Willis Brooks, a professor emeritus of history at UNC who once sat on its faculty athletics committee, called the transcript evidence of an academic path with the sole intent of keeping an athlete eligible to compete. But he pointed the finger at those in the university who helped make it happen.
“I feel willing to criticize a university that allows a student to get away without an education, or a very narrow one,” he said. “And that’s what this one is, a very narrow education. In no sense is this a liberal arts education.”
University officials had little to say Monday about the transcript, which was first identified by rival N.C. State University fans on the PackPride bulletin board. The university said in a brief statement that the transcript appears to be genuine, and declined all requests for interviews.
But the larger question for the university is the possibility that the academic fraud had gone undetected for more than a dozen years, and may have stayed that way without public knowledge of the transcripts of Austin and Peppers.
Burley Mitchell, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court and a member of the UNC system Board of Governors, said “the whole thing disturbs” him.
“The entire program over there has been an unguided situation,” Mitchell, a graduate of N.C. State, said Monday. “It doesn’t seem like anybody’s in charge.”
Further troubling Mitchell is that it seems that all the revelations are being uncovered and exposed by the N&O and Pack fans, not the UNC-CH administration and trustees.
“It just seems to keep coming and coming,” Mitchell said. “I wonder who is minding the store.”
Who indeed. Also, I kinda like the ring of calling the UNC-CH Athletics Dept., “The Store”. Has a bit of an ominous ring, don’t you think?
Another N&O journalist is also getting into the fray. Andrew Carter has this – Peppers’ agent: Many UNC athletes unprepared for academics – which gives a different perspective about “The Store”…
To Carey, though, Peppers didn’t represent an athlete who didn’t try or didn’t care about academics. Instead, Carey said, Peppers’ academic struggles were typical of a system that routinely fails athletes who arrive in college unprepared for academic life.
Carey compared the difficulties some athletes encounter while attempting to fit into the world of academia to the struggles an ordinary student would face if he was asked to play football.
“A typical student would fear for their life if they were sent out on a football field with the football team,” Carey said. “They would feel unprepared, they would feel scared. They would feel inadequate.
“And so you could assume an athlete whose academic records suggest that they’re likely going to struggle, and you put them in a classroom with [high] SAT [scores], guess how they’re feeling?”
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a guy who wants to climb up on a soapbox and tell a story. But he backs away from it quickly….
Still, Carey said it would be “extremely irresponsible” to connect Peppers’ AFAM experience to the current scandal.
No, Mr. Carey. It’s a logical jump. What is irresponsible is to NOT investigate to see if that apparent connection is, in fact, part of an already known bigger picture of corruption. Hopefully the more you talk, the more folks will see that.