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Thursday, January 16, 2014

UNC Chapel Hill Criminal Fraud exposed in Athletics and Academics

Nearly four years ago this June, many of us in this State were left wondering what in the heck is going on at this State's oldest University. Well, here we are these four long years later after Marvin Austin, the former Defensive Lineman for the Tar Heel football program, forwarded what has now become known as the Tweet heard round the world.

At the time that Austin sent out that Tweet on Twitter, I am sure that he didn't think it was a biggie. After all he was a proud and confident 21 year old who believed in the next year he would be headed to fame and riches in the National Football League. Why not show everybody how cool he was.

It is the opinion now of many people, who have paid attention since this scandal began, that what that Tweet did was lift back the veil on a system of corruption at UNC-Chapel Hill that has exposed a multi-layered racket used to recruit athletes through unfair advantages of illegal benefits and keep them academically eligible through means such as non-existent classes, fraudulent classwork, and grade fixing.

An academic adviser and learning specialist Mary Willingham who works for UNC-Chapel Hill has stepped forward in the last week and spoken clearly about the schemes that have taken place to keep athletes academically eligible at the University. She made a statement in an ESPN "Outside the Lines" interview that, " I recommend they have some statisticians and some independent professionals take a look at it although if you're familiar with our story here, we (UNC) hire people who tend to whitewash anything that's negative against the university and against the brand."

Ms. Willingham's statement speaks to the heart of the matter in the State of North Carolina where UNC-Chapel Hill's tentacles reach far, wide and deep into every crack and crevice of the economics, culture, and governance of the State. UNC-Chapel Hill owns the halls of power in this State. Look where the School of Government is located. It is not a coincidence. UNC-Chapel Hill has not been a benevolent dictator when it comes to the governance of our State. They have clearly operated purely in their own self interest over the past 200 years.

Nearly four years ago, I was blown away to see that no system of accountability was going to be brought forward in relation to this situation. Every act has been defensive and short sighted without regard to the long term ramifications and damage that is being done to the asset that is our State's University system.

State of North Carolina University System -- We've Got a Problem Here!!!  - September 18, 2010

Where are the UNC Board of Governors?!?!? - UNC-Chapel Hill athletic scandal - October 1, 2010

Where are the UNC Board of Governors? - (Part 2) - Everybody knows "The Carolina Way"  - July 1, 2011

My letter to the UNC Board of Governors about the UNC-CH Football Scandal  - July 7, 2011

Where are the UNC Board of Governors? -- 3 years later - PJ Hairston's 2013 Yukon: renter identified - July 1, 2013

In September 2010, I asked that the UNC Board of Governors set aside their biases and take action and get to the heart of this matter and the illegal activities that had taken place. If you don't expose and route out the corruption, then you aren't going to ensure it is going to get cleaned up.

The Marvin Austin experience had opened up a can of worms in which we saw that agents and their runners were in contact with the football team. You actually had one of the runners, who was a former member of the UNC-CH football team, that was utilizing school facilities. It defies logic to believe that the Football coaches didn't have a clue what was going on. We also saw a situation where parking tickets were written for cars football players were using. Clearly, someone attached on the university side of the football team had to know that these players couldn't afford to be driving some of these cars and nothing was done to stop the parking activity. Now, in the past six months, we have seen the same revelations come forward about the basketball team. Hey, the Basketball Cars situation has happened while the athletic department is already in the middle of a 5 year probation.

It is also clear that UNC-CH covered up the parking situation, since the Raleigh News and Observer made requests related to those parking tickets that were never fulfilled. News sources have made several requests that have never been fulfilled. Again, look at the judicial system here in North Carolina that is loaded with UNC-CH Law School graduates. Many of these UNC-CH Law School alumni are members of the Rams Club (Athletic Booster Club). Very few of them are going to hold the university's feet to the fire on anything.

Truly, I can't believe that this has gone this far, but the writing was on the wall when I wrote in September 2010:
The Bottom Line is that there is no way out for UNC-Chapel Hill. They should do the right thing and plead mea culpa and throw themselves at the mercy of the NCAA, but is there a pervasive arrogance that makes them think that they are going to get away with this? Can they not see the shadow of the hammer coming down upon them. Are they willing to get themselves fried?!?

I love sports, but when it comes to sports it has been obvious that the tail has been wagging the dog for a long, long time down in Chapel Hill. The pushing the limits and win at all costs mindset has been fully exposed. People have gotten their identity wrapped up and intertwined in the success and failure of the athletic program to the extent that they forget the purpose of the university is to educate our future leaders, do vital research that will improve the quality of our lives, and act as an economic driver that progresses the vitality and sustainability of our State’s economy. Those priorities should never take a backseat to Athletic Entertainment.

This is not going to go away until some real action is taken. It is time to do just that.
People like former UNC system Presidents Bill Friday and Erskine Bowles, former UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorpe, and former Governor Jim Martin tell us that UNC-CH has been cooperating and at every turn new and old public figures tell us that we are supposed to let the investigations play out and how the university is on top of the situation. They say that we should trust all of the public officials involved and how they are trying to get to the bottom of the scandal of the day. It is obvious that if there had been all of this "cooperation", then there would not be this constant drumbeat of further corrupt practices exposed, that we have seen over the past four years.

Through all of this, we have seen new scandals and revelations revealed on a constant and consistent basis, while trying to lay the blame on everyone but the university itself. We have seen shenanigans abound and constant road blocks and obfuscation as the media attempted to gather public documents while investigating allegations. Football coaches, who looked guilty, left the university with severance checks and seem to still be in good standing with the university. They certainly haven't been forced to come forward with the facts of the ill begotten activities that took place.

All of the "one day at a time" crowd said that this was just about Football. They don't want people to look at the totality of mounting evidence that certainly seems to show that this was a planned out racket involving the Powers That Be associated with the University and it cuts across all of the revenue sports at UNC-CH. While no one would believe that everyone is involved in the most egregious of the activities, they have been complicit in turning a blind eye and allowing these activities to carry on and not remedying what has taken place.

There is a term that the NCAA uses when major infractions occur with a university. It is called "Lack of Institutional Control". It means that if a school doesn't have a plan in place for preventing boosters from committing violations, or does not provide corrective action when learning of illegal acts, then the NCAA considers there to be a lack of institutional control.

With UNC-CH, and its athletic program, what we are seeing is a major systemic problem. The University, by proxy it's employees, is and has been in control of this scheme on multiple levels. As members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, they are supposed to self monitor their program. The NCAA does not have mechanisms in place to be a full force investigative body. They have no legal jurisdiction or subpoena powers. UNC-CH knows this and they have been gaming the system. The Powers That Be here in North Carolina seem to apparently have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of this corruption. The UNC Board of Governors and the NC Legislature that has appointed them have done nothing and it is(n't) funny how everything always tilts in the direction of Chapel Hill at everyone else's expense.

This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue. This corruption cuts fully across all political and social lines. I have never liked the haughty nature and overindulgent pride associated with Chapel Hill, but as a born and bred citizen of the State of North Carolina what bothers me most is to see the damage being done to one of the greatest assets in our state; our ability to educate our citizens at the highest level and have those certifications recognized and respected as prestigious by people around the world. I've implored you people to clean up this mess. I hope you will prove me wrong, because the empirical evidence is showing that you are incapable of doing that. History will not look kindly upon people who placed frivolities above integrity.

Former UNC player ties counselors to no-show classes
- Raleigh News and Observer - Dan Kane - January 15, 2014
Letter to the Editor - Daily Tar Heel - UNC disrespecting Bill Friday’s legacy - 1/15/14
Outside The Lines examines the allegations of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina - ESPN - January 14, 2014
Higher education, lower standards: Column - USA Today - Glenn Harlan Reynolds - January 14, 2014
Death threats and denial for woman who showed college athletes struggle to read - CNN - Sara Ganim - January 14, 2014
Willingham courageous in speaking out about UNC athletes - Raleigh News and Observer - January 13, 2014
UNC Athletics: Over to You, Carol (Folt) - Dart Blog (Dartmouth University) - Joseph Asch '79 - January 13, 2014
UNC is a stark example of colleges’ warped priorities - New York Post - Phil Mushnick - January 11, 2014
Barnett: Time to come clean at UNC-CH - Raleigh News and Observer - Ned Barnett - January 11, 2014
UNC scandal isn’t going away any time soon - Rocky Mount Telegram - Scott Mooneyham - January 10, 2014
CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders - CNN - Sara Ganim - January 8, 2014
Academic Fraud for College Jocks Reaches Across the Country - Bloomberg - Paul M. Barrett - January 8, 2014


Patrick Burk said...

"...born and bread..."???? Where were you educated?

Patrick Burk said...

"...born and bread..."???? Where were you educated?

James Thomas Shell said...

Thank You. Fixed the typo. I am the author, publisher, and proof reader. I'm not perfect, but I try.