"This is not a Basketball problem". Those were the words spoken by Roy Williams concerning the internal investigation going on at UNC about forged documents, false grades, non-attendance, and a host of other issues in the African and Afro-American Studies Department. Williams can't shake the questions, the University is blaming Butch Davis, but the school's professors are saying that this has been an ongoing problem at UNC as far back as 10-15 years ago, i.e. the last days of Dean Smith. Interesting? Old News? Anyone hear someone warming up with a broom and a throw rug? There's more after the jump.
UNC AD Bubba Cunningham (why aren't all AD's named Bubba? Makes the position more human sounding doesn't it?), had this to say:
"We had some major violations, and I thought when we got the final report [from the NCAA] in March, that would be the end of it,'' said Cunningham, who was hired last October. "But the internal dialogue about how we're going to balance academics and athletics has lasted a lot longer publicly than I thought."
Kinda has that generic, "We are handling it" sound to it, doesn't it? UNC is up to their Tar Heels in this thing and what was supposed to be long gone by now just will not go away. Faculty members are making their cases as well.
Jay Smith, a history professor at UNC who has been outspoken about his concern for academic integrity at the university, said in an email there's no way the NCAA wants to look too closely at a situation like the one in Chapel Hill because "it exemplifies too vividly the hypocrisy on which big-time college sports is based."
What Smith would like UNC to investigate, now, is how far back athletics counselors may have been steering athletes to questionable classes, and whether other departments might also be implicated.
"The University, I think, would like to pretend that all problems were introduced in the Butch Davis era," said Smith in an email. "If there's evidence that some of these strange courses were being scheduled and taken by athletes 10 or 15 years ago -- and there have been some tantalizing hints in that direction –that would suggest a much more pervasive and ingrained culture of permissiveness and corner cutting, one that will take a great deal of work to uproot."
And what of the Tar Heels National Championship Men's Basketball program? Well...
Meanwhile, basketball coach Roy Williams can't shake media questions about his teams' involvement in the questionable AFAM courses. Although the majority of the athletes in the suspect sessions were football players, 3 percent were men's basketball players. Predating the four years covered in the internal investigation, seven of the players on UNC's 2005 national title team graduated with a degree in AFAM, the Indianapolis Star reported in 2010. (That includes forward Sean May, who told the newspaper in that same article that after double-majoring in communications and AFAM, he dropped the communications part of his degree after going pro early because it would be easier to graduate sooner.)
The NCAA is waiting. waiting for UNC to finish its internal investigation before proceeding, I guarantee that. They want to see how much evidence UNC will turn over voluntarily before determining how to proceed. From what I have been able to gather, this is right up the alley of what Mark Emmert wants to put a stop to, however, and that leads me to think that there will be "issues" for the NCAA and UNC to discuss. Take away a NC? I don't see that happening, however, two months ago none of us saw what happened to Penn State being reality either. If it were to happen, and there were indeed proven allegations of academic fraud levelled at UNC, the world as we know it with the NCAA will continue to evolve even further. If Dr. Ed Ray and Mark Emmert want to make a stand on academics, this sure does look like the place they would be most likely to start.