Loudermilk Center has to go

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In a recent Daily Tar Heel (DTH) article about the fallout from the Wainstein report, UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham was quoted as saying: “At some point we’ve got to move forward. And I think we’re to that point.”

As part of our continuing series, “Why we can’t move forward,” we present another reason UNC-Chapel Hill is only treading water when it calls on everyone to help the flagship “move forward.”

Reason #7 Separate is never equal. (Recall Brown v. Board of Education)
Why is the academic support program for student athletes at UNC still in existence? One of the chief lessons from the scandal that has rocked the UNC campus is that ASPSA was the hot bed for developing eligibility curricula. It served as the headquarters for ensuring that underprepared or indifferent athletes would pursue watered down and substandard curricular pathways in pursuit of their “educations.” By design the ASPSA was set up as–and it continues to be, despite the “reforms” recently implemented–a self-contained entity. Distant from the heart of campus. Enclosed in a palace adjacent to the football field. Devoid of actual academic officers (you’ll never see a professor in the ASPSA.) Private, secretive and therefore dangerous. This segregated space is completely unnecessary–except in the eyes of coaches and athletic administrators who need the cover to carry out their eligibility schemes. No measures of oversight cooked up in South Building can ensure ethical conduct when advising for athletes continues to operate behind a curtain.

The Loudermilk Center was built to entice recruits with its fancy facade- a bit like the gingerbread house that lured Hansel and Gretel inside to a dangerous encounter. It’s time to tear down that house. Athletes need to be fully integrated into the life of the University, given the same exposure to ideas–the same opportunities for courses, majors, and real academic mentoring–that all other students enjoy every day.

The ASPSA stands as the starkest symbol of UNC’s continued commitment to the NCAA charade. UNC is not committed to giving football and basketball players (and ALL other athletes) meaningful educations. They’re committed to pretending to do so–while furtively lining up opportunities for easy grades that will keep players on the field, in their practice regimens, and under the thumb of “coach.” If UNC wants to show the world that it actually learned something from its scandal, this is the first step to take: bulldoze Loudermilk and liberate the athletes imprisoned within that educational ghetto.

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