North Carolina was not punished by the NCAA on Friday – here’s why:
Friday, the NCAA’s infractions panel issued a ruling, claiming it “could not conclude” that North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules in relation to “deficient” paper courses in the field of African and Afro-American Studies.
The reason why has college basketball analysts a bit upset, however.
Basically, the NCAA is arguing that because the classes were available to all students, and not set up for student-athletes specifically, it has to “defer” to the school on the academic fraud.
Here’s the main paragraph of the NCAA’s release:
“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” said Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. “The panel is troubled by the university’s shifting positions about whether academic fraud occurred on its campus and the credibility of the Cadwalader report, which it distanced itself from after initially supporting the findings. However, NCAA policy is clear. The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership.”
Reaction has been strong:
"It wasn't just athletes who benefited from our fake academic dept" is an absurd determination, and now every school has a map to cheat.
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) October 13, 2017
Translation: "Anybody could takes these easy classes, do no work and pass, so…we're good!" https://t.co/5D4aXkNfoR
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) October 13, 2017
NCAA justice …
Taking money from an agent = bad
Taking money from boosters = bad
Steering kids to sham classes = not our problem.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 13, 2017
Seriously, what is to deter any school from doing what UNC did with fake classes, fake grades, and a fake education?
— Riley Johnston (@BSD_RaJohnston) October 13, 2017
“Hello Adidas, pay normal students too” pic.twitter.com/W7nghn65dL
— Ben Swain (@TheBenSwain) October 13, 2017
So basically you can commit all the academic fraud you want as long as you have a few non athletes do it as well? Got it. https://t.co/unSFJ1Sfj4
— Matt Connolly (@MattatTheState) October 13, 2017
Regardless, UNC and its fans are breathing a big sigh of relief today. Supporters of rival schools who have been punished by the NCAA in the past are feeling a bit differently.