The Carolina Way has proved to be exactly what every State fan has told you for years it is: a giant, hollow lie.
For every State fan who endured the self-imposed — it’s important to note that, unlike The Flagship, we held ourselves accountable after the NCAA, SBI and Poole Commission found only “minor” infractions in 1989 — indignity of the 90s (and beyond), while Carolina fans scoffed at us with their trademarked, arrogant elitism, this isn’t about ripping down banners.
This is all about the reckoning.
For decades, The Flagship perpetuated the fallacy of its superiority through its precious credo. Pompous Carolina fans — and also alums — adhered to a higher standard, and they were better, more deserving than you. All you had to do was ask one of them, they’d make sure you knew that.
Meanwhile, as they diminished us, for two decades, they were fine-tuning a chronic, institutionalized system of fraud to keep their athletes eligible. What the Wainstein Report revealed — what every bitter State fan has long known — is that “fraud” is just a white collar term for “pretentious, cheating, bastards born and bred.”
Most of the athletes involved were football players or members of the school’s cherished basketball program, which won three of its five national titles during the scandal (1993, 2005, 2009).
While the Flagship’s brilliant PR machine, exploiting every semantic in book, has tried for several years to contain this as a football problem, the Wainstein Report confirms the fraud began in 1993, under then-AD John Swofford and, literally, the face of The Carolina Way, Dean Smith. In 1997, Swofford left Carolina to take over the ACC and Smith handed over the reins of The Carolina Way’s Vanguard to his longtime lieutenant, Bill Guthridge.
In 2000, Matt Doherty took over a finely-tuned system (WRAL):
Before Williams’ arrival, former head coach Matt Doherty said that he “inherited the academic support system developed by prior coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge. That system had academic oversight being handled by (Burgess) McSwain, the counselor with close ties to Debby Crowder.”
Doherty was told by Smith and Gutheridge that he should not change the system despite “understanding that AFAM was the easiest major at Chapel Hill.” Under Doherty, 42 basketball players were enrolled in paper classes.
In 2005, current Protector of the Realm, Roy Williams won his first of two national titles with 10 players enrolled in AFAM and at least some who we now know remained eligible because of the fraud.
In basketball, Carolina won three national titles and five conference titles during the 1993-2011 Era of Fraud. Yet, none of the coaches were implicated, mostly because they looked the other way. You know, except for that time in 2007 when Wayne Waldon “doesn’t recall” telling Roy Williams about the fraud, but he started pushing his players away from AFAM anyway, which reminds me of a saying: I believe in coincidence like I believe in God; I know they both exist but I’ve never seen either.
The Wainstein Report fingers no coaches. Chancellor Folt said that shows that none of them were involved. In fact, it fails to show that any were. And the probe brought no clarity to the charges of former Tar Heel basketball player Rashad McCants, who told ESPN that academic advisors wrote papers for himself and others and that head coach Roy Williams knew it, charges Williams has adamantly denied and which Wainstein said he found no evidence of. “We would have been very interested to talk to him,” Wainstein said of McCants. “He didn’t speak to us. He didn’t give us evidence, so there’s no evidence.”
For two decades Carolina rewarded itself by making up its own rules and championed itself as a model of moral authority. So yeah, State fans are ready for the reckoning, the public, final deconstruction of The Carolina Way.
For now, it’s just a good feeling to know that the rest of the world sees that we were right all along.
Pat Forde (Yahoo!):
For years, as the revelations accumulated and no fewer than six other reports were filed, North Carolina refused to look honestly at itself and acknowledge what it saw.
Today, the school can squirm away from the truth no more. Wainstein’s report provided a devastating house of mirrors for UNC to gaze into. The loud-and-proud claims to being a special place, capable of both athletic and academic success without cutting corners, are now hollow.
North Carolina spent many years operating like a lowest-common-denominator football/basketball factory. Regardless of whatever else comes from this thorough and painstaking investigation, that label sticks.
The report finds it believable that neither basketball coach Roy Williams nor then-football coach Butch Davis knew the extent of the AFAM scam – specifically, that players were getting gift grades…
But the deniability of Williams and Davis is largely immaterial. Their programs thrived thanks to athletes who couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work of most normal students. If those Tar Heels who were winning national titles in basketball and going to bowl games in football took anything educational away from their time in Chapel Hill, chances are decent that it was an “A” in a Swahili class that never met. That’s something to be proud of.
As UNC wallows in the shame of this scandal, the next question is whether Wainstein has given the NCAA enough ammunition to aim and fire at the school.
We can wait and see what results come from Indianapolis, but don’t hold your breath in anticipation of a deathblow for Carolina – especially Carolina basketball.
If anything, the school should react on its own to this report. Don’t wait for the NCAA to step in, do something yourself.
Now that UNC knows the independently reported facts, it can act. For years, its championship basketball teams were populated by players who benefitted from academic fraud – the 2005 national title team alone had 10 AFAM majors. If those titles were won with players who wouldn’t have been eligible without sham grades, take down the banners yourself. Take the hardware out of the trophy cases. Wear your shame.
For a school that long proclaimed to be a special place, that would be a start on restoring its integrity.
Pat Forde is naive. If he was a local, he’d know that The Carolina Way suffers neither accountability nor shame.