So while Mr. Big Stick thumped his chest about Penn Stateâ€”before and after delivering the sanctionsâ€”we havenâ€™t heard squat from him about what will become the worst infractions case in the history of college sports. And that was before the latest mind-numbing details released Monday by the News & Observer: the gross case of academic fraud could go back a decadeâ€”and include North Carolinaâ€™s legendary menâ€™s basketball program.
The national attention growing behind the NCAA’s silence in the UNC-CH academic fraud case and cover-up continues to grow. One day, the UNC Board of Governors may actually wake up. Until then, we have The Sporting News.
When he announced crippling sanctions against Penn State, when he stuck the governing bodyâ€™s nose in a legal action, Emmert made it clear that he alone had been given power to ignore due process and NCAA bylaws to protect â€œthe foundation of amateur sports.â€
Meanwhile, in Chapel Hill, N.C., the entire university is complicit in a systemic charade of bogus, no-show classes for athletes; a scheme thatâ€”youâ€™re gonna love this partâ€”the NCAA missed while investigating North Carolina over the past two years.
Fortunately, the man with the Big Stick has the Raleigh News & Observer doing the heavy lifting, exposing the real threat to the foundation of intercollegiate athletic sports. Or as my athletic director friend said, â€œPandoraâ€™s Box.â€
From 2007-2011, an internal review at UNC revealed 54 no-show classes in the Department of African and Afro American Studies where student-athletes were given grades for fake classes. The university says two department heads were responsible for the academic fraud, but the News & Observer says evidence suggests athletes were steered to classes by academic counselors assigned to the athletic department.
Think about that: the athletic department and a department of academics conspiring to keep students eligible so they can play games. This isnâ€™t high school, everyone. This is one of the most respected academic institutions in the world cheating to keep athletes eligible.
But thereâ€™s no avoiding academic fraud; no escape from what it exposes and how it jeopardizes the lifeblood of a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt industry. Thereâ€™s no denying the reality that if this unthinkable case of academic fraud is happening at North Carolina, where else is it hiding?