The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s athletic department has been under fire for the last four years over rumors (and accusations) regarding academic fraud. On Wednesday, those rumors were confirmed as an independent report revealed that over 3,000 students, over an 18 year period, were signed up for fake classes to help keep them eligible during their time in college.
An independent investigation released its report about the state of student-athlete academics at UNC, and the results were not flattering for the university. The investigation found that nearly 3,100 student (47% of whom were athletes) were signed up for paper classes, or were funneled into programs by advisers, to keep them eligible for athletic events. This academic fraud occurred during an 18 year period.
These paper classes didn’t benefit just football and men’s basketball (the revenue sports), the classes also benefited athletes that participated in olympic sport (women’s basketball, soccer, track and field, etc.).
The report says that athletes in a wide range of sports were involved, and it notes a noticeable spike of enrollment of Olympic-sport athletes between 2003 and 2005.” –CNN
The worst part about the fraud is that UNC tried to blame it on single rouge professor, and it originally worked. As the athletic department was able to skate by with little to no penalties from the NCAA.
The penalties from the NCAA, after this report, are probably going to be swift and crippling.
There is no way that the NCAA is going to allow this kind of wide-spread academic fraud go unpunished. It would set a terrible precedent for the association, and cripple its ability to force the university’s to maintain some semblance of academic integrity when it comes to athletics. After all, if UNC can (relatively) get away with it, why can’t other schools?
This is a problem that is worse than just athletics, and it is going to be interesting to see if the state hands down any other penalties.