Hello, Internet. I have thoughts and feelings concerning that enormous turd of an organization called the NCAA. My opinions are not unique, new, or particularly well thought out, but damn it, NDTex was all “blah, blah, blah, why don’t you write for us on occasion again?” So, Here. We. Are.
Earlier today, the NCCA released its final decision regarding the 3.5 year investigation into potential academic fraud that spanned nearly a decade at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. The Committee on Infractions essentially punted claiming that “[it] could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules when it made available deficient Department of African and Afro-American Studies “paper courses” to the general student body, including student-athletes.”
The full opinion (26 pages) is available here for those interested.
The attorney in me sees this as the exact type of legalese that makes the public wary of attorneys. There was a lot of maneuvering by both sides in order to essentially determine that because the general student body could also “benefit” (LOL at use of that word) from these sham classes, that there was not a systematic attempt to let student-athletes skate by. Yeah, I’m paraphrasing. You’ve got the links if precision is your thing.
This decision, this process, wreaks of the improprieties that have turned the NCAA into far more than just a joke. It’s more than just a corrupt governing body who finds creative ways to hide its primary profit making function. The NCAA is trash of the highest order. I once listened to part of a Carly Rae Jepsen song that wasn’t “Call Me Maybe.” It was awful. My ears bled. My insides twisted and convulsed from the sound of Ms. Jepsen’s voice attempting to mimic the concept of singing. The NCAA is worse.
My personal “Mt. Rushmore” (ugh, I’m sorry for using this) of “crap in college sports I don’t like” has for sometime been:
- Pete Carroll
- “SEC” “fans”
- Mark May
Today, I officially remove Mark May (speaking of things/people not relevant anymore) and welcome the NCAA to the fold. I’m tempted to make the NCAA #’s 2 through 4 on that list. My first gut instinct was to use the word “spineless” to describe what happened today, but it wasn’t. It was cold, calculated, and manipulative. It wasn’t spineless. It was almost the opposite. It’s, to date, the most brazen version of the NCAA’s non-standards and corrupt governing body basically taunting those of us who follow college sports.
We all know what I’m about to say, but let’s do it anyways. My current sense of disgust comes by comparing what happened with UNC today to Notre Dame’s self-reported issues from the 2012-13 seasons. Notre Dame received some allegations of possible academic misconduct. Investigated it internally. Applied its academic honor code strictly, and reported all of this promptly to the NCAA. For that, the team received a one year probation period, a fine, a 2-year show cause, and vacated 21 wins. Now, I generally think that “vacating” wins is a silly proposition, but in the World of college athletics, it’s something that at least shows up in a record book. However, Notre Dame’s decision to conduct an investigation, actually take action, and actually self-report resulted in greater punishment than UNC’s systematic academic fraud.
Compare that course of conduct by ND’s administration to what UNC did (taken from the report):
Despite these early admissions, UNC pivoted dramatically from its position roughly three years later within the infractions process. UNC disavowed its earlier support of the findings and conclusions of an independent report, distanced itself from earlier statements to its accreditor and ultimately defended its courses as a matter of academic autonomy. UNC did so even as it acknowledged that the courses did not meet, involved little, if any, faculty engagement and were 1 Infractions cases are decided by hearing panels comprised of NCAA Division I COI members. Decisions issued by hearing panels are made on behalf of the COI. 2 A member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the institution has an undergraduate enrollment of about 16,000. It sponsors 15 women’s and 13 men’s programs. The institution had previous major infractions cases in 2012 (football) and 1961 (men’s basketball). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Public Infractions Decision October 13, 2017 Page No. 2 __________ frequently graded by a former curriculum secretary. Although UNC’s current policies now prohibit such courses, UNC stood firmly by the courses in question with respect to the infractions process, indicating they did not violate policies existing at the time. UNC also claimed students and student-athletes were treated alike, they completed meaningful academic work and UNC did not remove course grades from students’ transcripts or rescind degrees.
Basically, once UNC realized it might be in trouble, it pivoted, went full out in opposition, and prevailed for it. The core argument, which apparently won the day, is that sham classes are JUST FINE so long as everyone can take them. Well, let me be the (not at all) first to say: the biggest sham going is YOU, NCAA.
Stop pretending to be a source of moral integrity in the World of college athletics.
Stop pretending to be independent and interested in the truth.
Stop pretending that you’re here for the love of the “student”-athlete. You’ve pretty much acknowledged you don’t give one flying F about actual academics since you’ve now approved the use of sham classes. The least you could do is be honest about it.
What you should do, is go away. Or, at least come up with a more believable mission. The sad part is that there are some good people at both the university level and (I’m just going to assume…I don’t have actual proof of this) NCAA level who may actually care for the athletes, schools, and whatever moral high ground you want to apply to “amateur” athletics. The NCAA came into existence to combat corruption in college athletics. Now, the NCAA is simply a lynchpin used to further a fraud upon the public. The problem for the NCAA is that this time they were even more transparent.