An article appeared on the website of the New York Times late on New Year’s Eve, and would then show up in print on the first day of 2014. Titled “A’s for Athletes, but Charges of Fraud at North Carolina,” it recounted parts of an athletic/academic scandal that had encased the university’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM). In part, over 200 courses had been found to be “irregularly” taught, with a minimum of 560 unauthorized grade changes. The majority of the students who had taken those courses in question, spanning back to at least the mid 1990’s, were from the major-sports programs of men’s basketball and football. The article was but a brief overview, and only a fraction of the overall story.
A different article appeared via BusinessWeek on January 2, 2014, by Paul M. Barrett. Titled “The Scandal Bowl: Tar Heels Football, Academic Fraud, and Implicit Racism,” it too covered some of the past fraudulent occurrences at the school. Barrett suggested that the overall impact of the scandals ought to be “far broader than that of the Penn State” issue from several years earlier, because “the deceit in Chapel Hill pointed to more systemic weaknesses than the failure in University Park to stop one monster coach who preyed on little boys. And the Tar Heels fiasco adds race to the toxic mixture of athletics and rank hypocrisy.”
One question has been the NCAA’s involvement (or lack thereof) with regards to some of the past issues at the school. Another column by Barrett appeared on January 6, 2014. It noted in part that while the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had every reason and right to be appalled by the scandal, it had instead remained inexplicably mute.
There have been more major national-news stories (other than those noted above) that have appeared since the beginning of January, and some of them will be given coverage in the coming weeks. In a much broader spectrum, however, there is much more to this story still to be revealed. Other information on the NCAA and its involvement in UNC’s issues will be forthcoming, as well as details on deeper issues that have encompassed the school and its leadership in the past.