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NCAA Ruling on North Carolina Academic Scandal Was to Protect the Basketball Program, Right?

The NCAA quietly rendered a decision on the North Carolina academic scandal late Friday, hours before the holiday weekend. How timely!: Nothing nefarious went down, no rules were broken. Of course! Smoke everywhere, but the inept NCAA once again could find nothing. You know what this explanation sounds like? The NCAA throwing up a signal for help to anyone who is interested:

Based on the joint review, UNC and the NCAA staff concluded there were no violations of current NCAA rules or student-athlete eligibility issues related to courses in African and Afro-American Studies. As a result, the NCAA did not add any allegations or include this issue during the University’s appearance in October 2011 before the Committee on Infractions.

Hey, we can’t do our jobs, but if any of you investigative reporters want to poke around and see what you can find, great. But the NCAA’s ruling doesn’t close the case on this situation, obviously. Certainly more will come out. One of the best conspiracy theories on why the NCAA made the decision it did – remember, the football team had previously been slapped down; maybe the NCAA thought that was enough? – is to protect the storied basketball team. After all, UNC hoops is one of the marquee teams in the sport (maybe No. 1?), and to damage the program would mean to put a dent in the NCAA’s wallet:

If the intent of the no-show classes and independent studies were to keep athletes eligible, the university could face major sanctions that could potentially bring down championship banners for its men’s basketball team. The team won the NCAA tournament in 2005 and 2009.

Basketball is where the NCAA makes the lion share of its revenues. A nonprofit association, its most recently available tax return on Guidestar.org shows nearly all of its $740 million in revenues came from the nationally-televised basketball tournament.

Hence, there is concern that what happened Friday was the NCAA protecting a celebrated, lucrative basketball program.

Football star Julius Peppers played for the basketball team too – just not during his final year, you know, when he took all those AFAM classes. [News & Observer]

Previously: Check Out the Classes Julius Peppers Took in the Spring of 2001 to Be Eligible for Football in the Fall
Previously: Did the Agent for Julius Peppers Create a Website to Smear a Reporter Covering the UNC Academic Scandal?
Previously: UNC Screwed Up and Now Julius Peppers’s College Transcript is Online For Everyone to See

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