Major scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill rocks athletic program

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is well known for the number of athletes that have come through its various programs and received degrees. One of their most famous graduates is basketball legend Michael Jordan, whose athletic prowess put the school’s athletic program in the national spotlight. The school is in the national spotlight once again, but for all the wrong reasons. This time, however, it could cost the school’s accreditation and it sports program.

According to an NCAA report, which was released  Wednesday, more than 3,000 students at UNC took fake classes at the direction of counselors from the schools Academic Support Program for Student–Athletes. The fake classes at UNC were held from the years 1993 to 2011 and had no mandatory class attendance or faculty involvement. Student athletes account for almost 50 percent of the students that registered and received college credit for these courses. The courses were in the African and Afro–American Studies department and were arranged by a former department head and former office administrator with full knowledge of the University. The fake classes, which were held throughout this 18 year period of time, allowed student athletes to remain eligible to play sports. According to the report released yesterday, counselors at the school even gave rosters of the athletes and the grades they were to receive to remain eligible to play.

According to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, “The bad actions of a few and the inaction of others failed the University’s students, faculty and alumni, and undermined the institution as a whole. This conduct could and should have been stopped much earlier by individuals in positions of influence and oversight, and others could have sounded the alarm more forcefully.”

The question now becomes what action will the NCAA take against the school since most of the players were in the football or basketball program. It was during this time period of fake classes that the school won five national titles and was under the leadership of basketball coach Dean Smith and athletic director John Swofford. The investigation was launched by the NCAA and lasted more than eight months which surprised many at the college. So far, at least nine University employees are fired or are under disciplinary review. The University has refused to identify terminated employees or those under review.

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