An anonymous contributor has submitted this interesting reflection on how and to whom the University should be apologizing in the wake of the scandal.

When the Wainstein report came out Chancellor Folt apologized “first to the students who entrusted us with their education and took these courses,” and those who actually wanted a college education do indeed deserve an apology.  She also apologized to “the Carolina community,” adding “you have been hurt both directly and indirectly by this wrongdoing.”  That’s a start, but it would have felt less perfunctory if she had gone on to spell it out in more detail, and of course it’s not just “the Carolina community” that has suffered from this apparently never-ending scandal.

A partial list of those who have actually been hurt (not just embarrassed) would include:

  1. The parents of those kids who didn’t get the education they were promised.
  2. Schools cheated out of victories that were rightfully theirs.
  3. Genuine student-athletes denied the chance to compete for Carolina because we fielded players who should have been ineligible.
  4. Fans who’ve cherished victories they thought were legitimate.
  5. Our alumni whose degrees have been devalued, especially those in the departments that offered phantom courses.
  6. Those who were ignored or even vilified when they spoke up about problems.
  7. The taxpayers of North Carolina whose money paid the salaries of faculty like a professor of sports ethics who “taught” 160 independent studies courses in eight years.
  8. UNC students and faculty for the millions spent on p.r. and damage control that could have gone for scholarships and academic programs.

Perhaps a thoroughgoing apology and a few acts of contrition to show that we were serious would have allowed us to “move on.”  Instead we’re still a national punch line, waiting for the NCAA or the accrediting agency to tell us the minimum we must do, and possibly even preparing to contest that.  I don’t know if our administration is stupid, or shameless – and I don’t know which is worse.

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