By Kyle Caron
On Friday October 13th, 2017, the NCAA surprised no one by once again completely failing to show any sign of being a competent organization. A seven year long scandal involving University of North Carolina athletes enrolling in “fake classes” to boost the University’s APR resulted in a lack of any sort of punishment because the NCAA Infractions Committee stated that they “could not conclude” that the UNC had committed any wrongdoing.
Athletes from multiple sports at North Carolina, specifically Basketball and Football, enrolled in paper classes which required hardly any work to receive a decent grade. While many “student-athletes” at most Division 1 schools across the country tend to take easier elective courses, UNC students took it to a whole new level when the work required in these courses could have been completed by anyone with an elementary school education. The general consensus by all parties was that these classes were a complete sham and borderline academic fraud.
However, the University was smart enough to look ahead and see that if they were to ever be investigated by the NCAA, as long as they stood by the legitimacy of these courses and claimed that they were assets to the students’ education, then they could not be indicted on any wrongdoing. To put it simply, the NCAA could not convict UNC of academic fraud because UNC themselves would not call it academic fraud.
So if the NCAA could not destroy UNC for practically fabricating their APR, they could at least get them for giving improper benefits to student-athletes right? I mean in the NCAA’s eyes even a coach taking his player out to lunch is grounds for punishment of the entire program. But wait….North Carolina thought of this too! As long as the courses were offered to normal, non-athlete students then there are no improper benefits given. Only roughly 48% of the students enrolled in these fake courses were athletes and so it is completely legitimate that there was no unfair advantage given to the football and basketball players.
“Well damn that’s it. Case closed, nothing else we can do!” said the head of the NCAA Infractions Committee (probably). And just like that a seven year long investigation wrapped with no serious sanctions brought against the school that clearly cheated the system for years.
I understand that there is no written rule that was broken by UNC according to the NCAA guidelines, and for that I commend the University for playing its cards right. However I would also like to propose an idea to the NCAA. I suggest that to further prevent a situation like this from happening they open a new branch of the organization titled “the Common Sense Committee”. That way in the future if there is a general consensus that something is wrong within an academic institution the NCAA can call them out on their lies when said institution refuses to acknowledge their wrongdoing.
To oversimplify the situation here is a rundown of how the last seven years went.
NCAA: “UNC is committing academic fraud!”
UNC: “No we’re not.”
If member schools are the only ones who can determine what is a legitimate class and what is not then of course the rules will be exploited. Until there are more guidelines to prevent situations like this from reoccurring, the current system will only encourage more schools to engage in cheating. Get your shit together NCAA.