Three years ago, we shared word that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was under investigation by the NCAA for creating fictitious courses for star athletes. One of America’s most prestigious public universities and one of the nation’s behemoths in the arena of college sports had been caught redhanded gaming a system to benefit their athletic teams. It seemed a scandal befitting the University of Southern California — not UNC (snicker, snicker). The alma mater of the likes of James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, Vince Carter and, yes, Michael Jordan, broke the rules and were bound to be punished. Well, three years have since passed and the NCAA investigation has concluded. So what’s the verdict?
NCAA Will Take No Action Against UNC
As George Leef writes for “National Review,” in an aptly titled piece, “The Academic Equivalent of Getting Away with Murder,” “The NCAA has announced that it won’t take any action against the University of North Carolina for its decades-long scandal of fake courses for star athletes. How did the university manage to escape getting even a slap on the wrist? As Shannon Watkins explains in a new Martin Center essay, the NCAA chose to take a pass because it wasn’t only athletes who benefited from this. What a loophole for all other schools driven to win at any cost — make sure that news about bogus courses leaks out so any student can get the “benefit” of an easy A!”
Leef goes on, “That technicality, however, shouldn’t have ended the case. Watkins explains: ‘But that technicality is irrelevant to the major issue at hand. When the NCAA initiated a three-year long investigation, the accusation it leveled against UNC was not that of academic fraud per se; rather, it was investigating whether or not the university administered special favors to student-athletes to help them earn good grades and maintain athletic eligibility. And there is a significant amount of evidence that suggests student-athletes were purposely funneled through the fraudulent courses at the heart of the investigation.'”
Shame on the NCAA for Letting UNC Off
Let’s return our attention to the fantastic title of Leef’s piece: “The Academic Equivalent of Getting Away with Murder.” In college admissions, cheating is the academic equivalent of murder. If you cheat on a high school exam, if you copy a paper, you’re going to have tough odds of admission to a highly selective university like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And yet what this message from the NCAA sends not only to the UNC community but to high school and college students across the land is that there are certain people, certain groups, and institutions that are too powerful to hold to the same standard. UNC was deserving of serious punishment for creating fake courses for star athletes. They got caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. The NCAA just applied some olive oil to the jar and set that hand free to potentially go grab more cookies. Shame on them!
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