UNC Scandal: What’s the End Game?

It’s a surreal world we occupy when the N&O, Gregg Doyel and #WPN are all working together.

For decades we’ve endured the arrogant elitism of The Carolina Way, knowing it never passed muster. And now, after their precious creed has failed them, the UNC faithful have responded mostly with passive indifference and refused to be held accountable by the lowly among us. Instead of demanding better, they’ve lowered the standard — everyone does it, after all – and have become firmly entrenched in spin and lies, hopeful this nonsense will all just fade away. But hope isn’t a strategy, and those of us who’ve long-suffered the unflinching indignation by every bastard born and bred that The Carolina Way is a superior standard are unwilling to let this die easy.

We’re enjoying the journey, sure, but what exactly is the end game here? It’s a fair question and, well, perspective matters.

For the ever-inconsistent NCAA, fresh off its self-empowering ruling against Penn State, where its jurisdiction was questionable and due process was waived: continued avoidance of Pandora’s Box. After all, the NCAA will remind you that academic fraud at a member institution is outside its jurisdiction (except where Calipari is involved).

For lowly blogs like SFN: validation. And for the local, traditional media: renewed credibility. For nearly two years, citizen-bloggers and the lunatic fringe on message boards scooped the traditional media, which appeared overwhelmed by – and oft-indifferent to – the dynamic nature and real-time pace of the internet and social media. Every tweet by an athlete and every bumbling lie and errant comment by Baddour, Thorp & Co. was documented and scrutinized on blog posts and message boards. Through it all, UNC feigned cooperation and demanded we accept the results of their “review,” and then showed disdain when we wouldn’t. The more UNC folks said, the worse it got. SFN’s Old MacDonald, et al., kept the scandal on life support until the local and, eventually, finally, national media showed up. Once Dan Kane was unleashed, this journey found its flavor.

For Kane, who has morphed into one of those flying Great Whites off the coast of South Africa: legitimacy. Kane took momentum from Yahoo!’s Wetzel and Robinson on the football prongs, and tactfully charged onto the scene of academic fraud, where he started asking the questions other local media outlets wouldn’t dare. Turns out, he wasn’t the puppet to which the UNC Media Spin Machine had long-grown accustomed. Kane could soon capitalize on the opportunity with a best-seller and a career leap to a national outlet like the new NBCSN (you may recall the impossibly-intolerable Skip Bayless built his entire career off his coverage of the SMU scandal).

For State fans, who endured the despair of the 90’s as a result of self-sanctions from our own inept administration and the self-righteous punishment by the UNC Board of Governors: the reckoning. Witnessing the shame of asterisks going up and banners coming down over at The Flagship would be a momentous event for Our State. Jimmy V was vilified by the local media for far less; his crime: breaking “the spirit, not the letter” of the law by not knowing what was going on in his athletic department (background here). Unlike over in Chapel Hill, there was no institutional academic fraud, which, because of UNC’s possible violation of FERPA, we now know dates back to at least 1998, and possibly traces as far back as the early 90’s when the African & Afro-American Studies Department was created. We suffered mightily, and a decade of the Matt Doherty years is exactly what they deserve.

For the “Public Ivy” academics: restored integrity. Sure, it’s a simple reality that athletes everywhere have been taking easy classes since the ball was invented. And those of us who had to get by C-walls in Dynamics and Differential Equations aren’t suggesting those we root for on Saturdays must all pursue technical degrees. But there’s a Grand Canyon between easy courses and fake ones created solely to maintain eligibility for athletes who can’t pass a basic math course or get better than a D in basic English, Drama and Stagecraft. How do you get a diploma from a renowned university without passing a single math course? Think about it: the institutional fraud at UNC has effectively ensured that many of its student-athletes will be unemployable if they “go pro in something other than sports.” Yet, no one over there seems shamed by that.

And finally, for the scores of Carolina fans, Wal-Mart and alumni alike: some long-overdue humility.

Ok, maybe that last one is a bridge too far.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

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95 Responses to UNC Scandal: What’s the End Game?

  1. OldWuf 08/16/2012 at 2:02 PM #

    Great entry LRM. I’m amazed at how little my U*NC alumni “friends” know about what is going on. I make some crack about “swahili” or “classes never meeting” and they look like they know nothing about it. Glad to hear others explain my hatred for the pompous SOB’s over there. I get tired of others telling me how irrational I am.

  2. TopTenPack 08/16/2012 at 2:02 PM #

    Thorp on the way out?


    This is just straight rumor mill at this point….

  3. Hungwolf 08/16/2012 at 2:54 PM #

    UNC alum I know seem to have all the same attitude about it, UNC is different the athletes are royalty. Chapel Hill is a paradise for football and basketball players. Everything they want they got, everyone knew they didn’t go to class but no one expected them too. But hey it’s UNC, they were entitled, top players at the top program get the best, that’s the way it is nothing wrong with it! You really can’t expect Michael Jordan, Julies Peppers, and the great players at UNC to really be attending real classes or trying to get a degree like a regular students, please this is UNC.

  4. choppack1 08/16/2012 at 3:01 PM #

    Great post LRM – you may just want to add one more thing to your validation item:
    Validation that Dave Glenn is a joke and has zero credibility when it comes to handling UNC-Ch.

    As for the scandal itself, when it all broke, I wanted the truth to get out – that’s all I wanted. I figured that when the cheating scandal broke, they’d act like a typical university that valued education and come down hard on athletics. (You know, overreact to protect academic integrity, since a University primary mission should be providing the best academic education possible.)

    However, when I saw the press conference with Bowles, Baddour, Thorp and Davis – I said to myself, “My gosh, they are going to try and fight this!”

    And truthfully, they’ve been trying to keep the truth from getting out for the last 2 years. Think about this – they’ve been fighting this crap for 2 years!

    As for the NCAA – they demonstrated why they are so despised by most of us. UNC presents a unique problem for them – you know that they spent millions of dollars and lots of time to come up with that stupid APR. Now, here comes a school that exposes this idea for the stupidity that it represents.

    The NCAA going after UNC would force the institution to admit 2 things:
    1) Their initial investigation was terribly inadequate, lacking in either integrity or competence.
    2) The APR model they are holding is flawed and encourages schools to cheat.

    Don’t look for them to return.

  5. pack1910 08/16/2012 at 3:02 PM #

    @TopTenPack, FWIW, I knew Andrew Payne, who wrote that piece, pretty well when I was at State. He was heavily involved in BOG issues (was the student ex-officio member at one time), and would know some people on or close to the BOG who might know something. May or may not be anything to it.

  6. TruthBKnown Returns 08/16/2012 at 3:04 PM #

    Saw this posted elsewhere: “Just confirmed – Former Gov. Jim Martin to lead to investigation..”

    So he’s not only ON the panel, he’s LEADING the investigation???

    How can anyone in their right mind truly call this an independent investigation???

  7. TruthBKnown Returns 08/16/2012 at 3:07 PM #

    choppack, it may get to the point where the NCAA “has” to return to clean up their own mess.

    We never thought Carolina would be forced to do or admit anything, but the pressure stayed on them and they finally moved. They had to. There is too much noise for them to do nothing.

    I’m beginning to think the same might be true for the NCAA. They might have to admit they messed up. Or they could just say Carolina was not open and forthcoming with them, and that’s why they missed so much. It could still happen (a return visit). I’m not counting on it yet, but it could.

  8. choppack1 08/16/2012 at 3:12 PM #

    I don’t know if I’d trust Martin:


    I mean, it’s just a photo of him at a ball game and he was a politician, but still – I’d have to know him to trust him.

  9. ppack3 08/16/2012 at 3:26 PM #

    Tried the link. Didn’t work. Can you elaborate?

  10. ppack3 08/16/2012 at 3:27 PM #

    Looked at his bio (be it, it was a Wiki Bio). But, I didn’t see any UNC ties. Can anyone explain why he’d be so biased?

  11. pack1910 08/16/2012 at 3:42 PM #

    The picture I saw elsewhere that was making the rounds was of Gov. Martin with Frank McGuire at the Dean Dome while Martin was governor. Doesn’t prove anything. Jim Hunt, who we all know is a big State fan, went to games at Carolina, too.

  12. fullmoon1 08/16/2012 at 4:34 PM #

    Martin would be biased because unc would only select someone who is biased. If he were objective they would not want him any where near the “review”.

  13. virginiawolf 08/16/2012 at 4:43 PM #

    In the thread following the N&O’s story on an “independent panel” someone mentioned that the blue haters would not be happy until several SFN bloggers were appointed. The thread has been dropped by the N&O and replaced with a new one. So, I’ll respond here — NO, I don’t need to see red and white ties sitting around the table. I would be happy with a panel made up of a couple of criminal lawyers that have never driven thru NC, a nosey sports writer from Atlanta, Tallahassee or even Baltimore, a Dean of Instruction from somewhere like Columbia or Vandy, the obligatory auditor and finally a student from each of the NC ACC University … now THAT would be sweet. Hell, I’d even support the dark blue school’s former Poly Sci Chair, Michael Munger (Lib candidate for Gov in ’08) to sit on the panel.
    However, reading the most recent post in the N&O, it’s my understanding that unc has it all under control and have already ordered a case of legal pads to be placed in the dorms and used as “sign in” sheets for the classes.

    I will assume that Gov. Martin is an “honorable man”, however, from the info provided in the N&O it appears that his quest is to find out “how far back” did the cheating start. That is important if it got to the point of ripping down banners, but more important is who was involved in the devlopment, administration and support ( turning a blind eye) to the now laughable “carolina way”.

  14. PackFamily 08/16/2012 at 5:47 PM #

    “didn’t we get rid of the Chancellor, Provost and Chairman of the Board of Trustees within several weeks of the Mary Easley hiring scandal coming to light”

    This was the best thing to happen to State. Cleared out the bad actors and resulted in the current regime ( Chancellor on down).

  15. Packster 08/16/2012 at 7:20 PM #

    As much as I would love this scandal at UNC to turn into something, the truth is, that other than here and a couple of other media outlets, the news is not covering or is making no big deal out of this at all. On the day the big news broke I found nothing on ESPN’s website about it, it was buried on wral.com/sports, and it certainly wasn’t top headlines in the N&O. On 99.9 they also made absolutely no big deal about this and their opinion was that it wouldn’t amount to anything. Maybe this is not the case, but it appears that we are trying really hard to blow nothing into something here. Is it wrong what happened? Sure it is. But to think this is going bring down UNX is a long stretch of hope. I hope that I am proven wrong but I think there are a lot of wishful thinkers here.

  16. choppack1 08/16/2012 at 8:18 PM #

    According to PP, Martin and his wife gave a sizable gift to UNC.

  17. sequoyah 08/16/2012 at 8:39 PM #

    Jim Martin was the Guvner from 85-93…that blood won’t wash off.

  18. JSRy2k 08/16/2012 at 9:38 PM #

    Fabulous piece.

    Now, to wax philosophical: It seems the brilliance of the post is inversely proportional to the amount of discussion in the comments. In other words, a piece such as this draws many to chime in but few to interact with one another.

  19. Primewolf 08/16/2012 at 9:58 PM #

    The latest attempt at a review doesn’t pass muster. It is not independent by any definition.

    Independence is achieved when an investigation is performed by an indepedent party and said independent party works for and reports to a separate entity than the one being investigated.

    For example, the Internal and External auditors of a corporation work for the BOD Audit Committee, not the CEO of the company. The Audit committee is chaired by an independent director and generally all the members of the audit committee have no affliation with the company. The audit committee approves the payments to the hired auditors and the hired auditors report goes to the audit committee, not the CEO or the corporation.

  20. blpack 08/17/2012 at 12:03 AM #

    Thanks for a well thought out and written article. I think the time is fast approaching when the heads will roll and who knows what may be suddenly gone from certain rafters in CH. Ready to call the Cheats accreditation into question as well.

  21. MISTA WOLF 08/17/2012 at 12:29 AM #

    Great F’n write LRM.

    “Though Louis Freeh riding a Direwolf with ram intestines dripping from its jaws would really be what I’d like to see.” CCW I damn near died laughing reading that.

  22. Astral Rain 08/17/2012 at 5:59 AM #

    Was thinking- what about the HSBC’s who got punished on the NCAA sanctions?

    If some of them would come out and say something, that might mean something- maybe say UNC has white privilege from the NCAA or something, or that maybe they should adopt the Hole program over there to not get unfairly punished by the NCAA

  23. graywolf 08/17/2012 at 7:35 AM #

    Martin is an alumnus of Davidson and Princeton. He was a very good governor and really did not have many political ties before becoming governor. He cleaned up Hunts mess.

    I think Martin will be fair and not be lead astray by cheater alums/supporters.

  24. Pack78 08/17/2012 at 7:41 AM #

    “Obviously a lot of people are concerned that our review didn’t go back far enough,” Thorp said, “and we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re not going to satisfy people’s interest in that if we don’t have an objective firm and an objective individual.”

    Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/16/3459422/unc-chancellor-taps-former-governor.html#storylink=cpy

    Here, Twerp admits that it is only outside pressure that is driving the call for an investigation; as opposed to serious internal motivation to do the right thing. Since he and others already know what the total cesspool looks and smells like, this approach makes sense…

  25. Prowling Woofie 08/17/2012 at 7:55 AM #

    Good point, 78.

    He’s also admitting that their efforts so far have been completely subjective and biased.

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