Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Latest UNC Scandal, In Five Sentences

Five takeaways from the latest scandal at UNC, where the ship of institutional integrity has foundered on the rocks of the desire for mid-tier bowl payouts.

There is no "latest" scandal. This is all one long package derived from an institutional culture that decided at some point that being good at sports permitted certain boundaries to be crossed.

If you ever needed more conclusive proof that the NCAA's approach to "amateurism" is deeply screwed, the fact that professors genuinely felt that steering athletes who were underperforming academically to sham classes was the only way to protect them says it all.

The appropriate reaction to this mess should not be denial, outrage, or glee in Durham and Raleigh, but rather a genuine inquiry into how things got this messed up, why they were allowed to stay so messed up, and how does it get fixed so that athletes and university employees alike are no longer put in impossible positions for the sake of keeping someone on the field.

Anyone who thinks that previous coaches, venerated or otherwise, didn't know what was going on has no idea how much institutional authority a winning coach has.

It's not that it only happened at North Carolina, it's that UNC was spectacularly bad at it.
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