The Holiday Bowl of Blame Games

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Much has happened this semester in the world of college sports. I’ve been off speaking with students on campuses across the country. Thank you to the students, faculty and staff at DePaul, U of Ozarks, U of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UNC and Arizona State. It was a pleasure to speak with you about the Carolina academic fraud case, the NCAA cartel and the future of college sport. Looking forward to giving a Ted Talk at UC Davis SF this coming March and getting some preliminary testing results from schools now using PCRead. In the meantime we have the excitement of the big money bowl games just ahead. Three cheers for football holidays where our college athletes (some) will now be allowed to have family visitation time at the bowls.

Speaking of football, Notre Dame has thrown a monkey wrench in the NCAA ruling on the UNC case. The cartel is now in the ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t category with regards to sanctioning the entire UNC athletic program. Darn those Fighting Irish. I met Jack Swarbrick early in 2015 down in Florida and he said that they do it ‘right’ at ND. Oops. Without transparency and disclosure, it’s best not to say anything at all. The truth is in the transcripts.

UNC officials want to leave the past in the past. They know the truth because it’s right there in front of their eyes – in the transcripts. For example the transcript of one famous basketball player will show that while he was having a breakout season playing professional ball, he was taking three classes: an independent study (Afri 190), a ‘distance’ class (EXTN 100) and a lecture turned paper class (Afri 65). Two were ‘with’ Professor Nyang‘oro so of course he received good grades. He never finished the distance class.  No one wants us to see the facts or learn the truth. Not UNC or the NCAA because these specific examples of fraud create a danger zone with regards to the concept of amateurism. One of the comments that I heard several times while out speaking this semester was that basketball is worse than football when it comes to the myth of the student athlete. The one and done phenomenon captures it. In the case of UNC, what about the three basketball players (two already off playing in the NBA) who according to their transcripts were ‘taking’ paper classes during the summer of 2007? Together they took 9 paper classes plus Ethics of Sport with Jan. UNC says: Let’s not muddy the waters by drawing attention to a couple of randomly redacted emails – think about the harm it might do to someone’s personal and professional life. Can we just please move on? Leave the past in the past. Blame it on the N&O and Dan Kane. If it wasn’t for him, we would all be fine. Why does he have to keep asking about student records? Our in-house expert sociologist #studyofsocialsystems said that “it’s not really particularly interesting or important to me”.  #moveforward

I’m quite certain that Buckley never intended for FERPA to be used to cover up academic fraud. My guess is that fake classes and bogus grades are not covered under FERPA, especially if the transcripts are de-identified.

If de-identified athlete transcripts were out there for all to see, maybe I wouldn’t have received this tweet in April 2014:

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Oops again. Some of those NBA degrees were finished with paper classes. My “agenda” is to point out that reality and the myth behind it.

Seriously though and for goodness sakes don’t let a tenured history professor (mole or whistleblower – same difference according to our past U Pres.) design and teach a history class on college athletics  (Hist 383) based on his recent expertise. He writes a book but is not allowed to teach it? The hell with academic freedom and the fact that the course was approved and already offered twice. I guess someone in South Building was sleeping. Lots of leaders have been sleeping in Chapel Hill for 23 years. A real Rip Van Winkle tale. The Carolina Way, as usual, is reactive and not proactive. That much is clear. But, hey we have a basketball program and more importantly a brand to protect. Dadgummit. We love basketball more than God Almighty. We work doggone hard to make big salaries every year off of the backs of the free lunch crowd, our athletes, who receive nothing in exchange for their talent. Back off, they say at UNC. Better yet. Apologize.

Really? Has anyone ever apologized to the athletes who were steered to and victimized by a bogus paper class system? The banks of the blue river denial are overflowing. Joy to our World. Happy Holidays. 2017 will be another interesting year.

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