The latest news out of Chapel Hill is no surprise for those of us who have worked in athletics at UNC. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has shown favoritism to a football player once again. Public Safety is complicit with the athletic department in any number of ways. Apparently our DA, who declined to pursue charges against the athlete, is also complicit. No real shocker after the academic fraud case charges against those who designed the athlete eligibility scheme were dropped. He even seems to have absorbed the arrogance of UNC, as shown by his statement yesterday that the plaintiff’s attorney was not familiar with NC law. Would he have said that about a male attorney? Is this not another symptom of the culture that led to the rape to begin with?
My own personal experience, having worked with athletes between 2003 and 2011, was that athletes received special privileges. Every semester we would ask DPS staff to remove the parking ticket holds from athletes’ records so that we could register the athletes for class. This was done as a courtesy and often in exchange for athletic gear or tickets. During my time at Carolina, our athletes had many encounters with DPS which clearly demonstrated the get out of jail free mentality protecting athletes. A recent documented example was about four football players who flipped a car on Mason Farm Road (read story here). The officer failed to administer sobriety tests and later altered his report before being dismissed from the University. Discipline, in the way of dismissals, suspensions, and forced retirement, appears always to be the result of news media exposure.
Here are several other examples that I personally recall where DPS looked the other way thereby giving athletes special treatment:
- A prominent basketball player was pulled over for a DUI in 2008 and was still eligible on game day – a regular student sits out of school for at least one semester after a DUI
- The Men’s Lacrosse team, resentful that men’s basketball parked in the Rams Deck for free, held up the gate to allow teammates in for free. This was caught on camera but no one was punished.
- During 2nd summer session, two entering first year football players got into a fight where one player suffered a broken jaw and filed a report which was ignored.
- A woman’s basketball player broke the car windows of a teammate in the Dean Smith Center parking lot. No report was filed.
- A football player parked illegally on campus to take his final and had a gun on a rack in his truck. No disciplinary action was taken.
- A now famous tutor was involved in a fist fight with a football player’s girlfriend in a dorm room and DPS was called. No further action was taken.
It was not unusual for my boss and his boss to be whispering behind closed doors early on Monday morning discussing athletes’ behavioral issues. These situations were ‘handled’ as part of the system of eligibility – a lot like the paper class system. It was my understanding that the DPS officers were working (moonlighting) for the athletic department. If so, isn’t that a conflict of interest?
We also learned yesterday and again today that even the NCAA and the ACC claim to be more principled than our government officials in North Carolina. That’s a laugh and a half (#blacklivesmatter), but maybe it’s time to ask just how low the bar can go at UNC – CH. As low as Baylor or Penn State? President Spellings, when will you come to terms with the fact that the current administration at UNC-CH continues to operate under a culture of lying, covering up, cheating and denial?
Athletics is still in charge of the institution.