The NCAA conducted an almost two-year investigation into the University of North Carolina, and it was concluded earlier this year. The sanctions were a one-year post-season ban, loss of 15 scholarships per year, probation; nothing out of the ordinary. The violations were also nothing drastically out of the ordinary, mainly players receiving improper benefits, improper dealings between players, coaches and NFL agents, and academic fraud. BUT, the academic fraud the NCAA found them guilty of was a tutor providing free tutoring for players. The issue with the NCAA and their investigation, is that they completely missed the fact that the African-American studies department has had 54 fake, no-show classes. Players were literally told to sign up for these classes by academic advisors so that they did not have to go or take any tests and they would receive a grade.
I would be okay with the NCAA missing these violations if they did not charge North Carolina with academic fraud. If they hadn’t charged them, then it isn’t unrealistic to expect that North Carolina wouldn’t investigate every single aspect of the school and the student athletes. The school is too large and the investigating committee is too small to check out the entire school every time there is a violation. But, when there are charges of academic fraud brought up against the school, how on earth is every aspect of the student athletes academics investigated? How is it that a newspaper, with less staff members, was able to do a better job than the NCAA investigating committee?
Quite honestly its embarrassing; not to mention this makes the NCAA look foolish. It then raises the question, as to how can the NCAA give out punishment to any school, particularly Penn State, when they can’t even conduct their own investigation. Is that the reason the NCAA went with the Freeh Report as the basis of their issuing of sanctions? Because they have made it clear that they cannot possibly conduct their own investigations properly. It then raises the questions as to what other investigations have they messed up? Have they missed other important details to investigations? Could they have given out more severe or less severe punishments because of these missed details?
NCAA President Mark Emmert claimed that they would be tougher and they would be cracking down. Recently, they even agreed to expand their enforcement committee; so how are they going to make up for this? After being so tough on Penn State, are they going to be just as harsh with North Carolina? This isn’t just a recent offense, Julius Peppers transcript from North Carolina has come under fire, and it is possible that it is a fake, or has had unauthorized changes made to it. For those of you that don’t know, Peppers played at North Carolina from 1998-2001, meaning this has gone on for over a decade. The newspapers investigation shows that the 54 fake classes have only been confirmed from 2007-2011, but Peppers transcript indicates that it could have been happening sooner.
While this is not as bad of a crime as sexually assaulting children or covering it up, when it comes to college athletics, this gives their sports teams more of a competitive advantage, and is just as bad as paying athletes. What happens if some of the North Carolina National Championship Men’s Basketball team from 2009 was apart of this? Clearly the Championship will be forfeited, but is this grounds for the death penalty for the Football and Basketball teams then? If they don’t give it to Miami (FL) or North Carolina right now, there is a 100% chance it is never given out again.
I can also tell you that this would be devastating not only to North Carolina, but to college sports in general. It takes away the integrity of the game in a way that has never been seen before. This is essentially pandora’s box. Emmert wanted everyone to notice what he did with Penn State, but why is Emmert so quiet all of the sudden? This could jeopardize the multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt industry, and not only that, it brings to light just how much of a minor league NCAA basketball and football is for the NBA and NFL. This doesn’t happen in College hockey or baseball because there are minor leagues that players can play in as an alternative to college. This is because pro hockey and pro baseball came before college hockey and baseball, whereas college football and basketball came before the pros; giving them zero time to develop a reliable minor league system.
This new scandal does nothing but raise more questions. It does, however, answer the question as to why they take so long to do every single investigation they have. Even after a year or two-years of investigating Universities and their violations, they still get things wrong. At what point will the NCAA rulebook get demolished and a new governing body will rise from the ashes?