by Michael Lowrey
I did my undergraduate degree at Chapel Hill and I’m utterly disgusted by the ongoing athletic and academic scandal.
Big-time college sports is likely the most corrupting thing in American society. It’s all about the money, all the time. And there’s very little that schools and especially sports boosters won’t do to keep the wins and money rolling in. If that means absurd conference alignment in pursuit of the almighty dollar and offering questionable courses to keep basketball and football players eligible, so be it. And that also includes lying to the public, hiding the truth, shooting the messenger, and commissioning reports that obviously don’t dare to go near the real issues.
The latest developments in the UNC-CH scandal are that former UNC-CH basketball player Rashad McCants said that he remained eligible at the school because of no-show classes that men’s basketball that he says that coach Roy Williams knew about. And the then head of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, which offered those no-show classes, is now prepared to talk. Which means the story will be in the news awhile longer with the final outcome unknown. As Raleigh News & Observer Luke Decock observes:
“All the President’s Men” was on television Thursday night, and the movie glosses over the key break in the Washington Post’s Watergate investigation amid all the other drama: Tracking the cashier’s check that ended up with burglar Bernard Barker back to unwitting Nixon fundraiser Kenneth Dahlberg.
That was the first concrete link between the White House and the break-in. Everything else flowed from that, right up to President Nixon’s resignation. McCants’ incendiary allegations point to the heart of the Smith Center.
Williams insists McCants is wrong. He better be right about that.
True enough but enough has already come to tarnish the university’s reputation for a very long time to come.
Bonus observation: Someone, someday will write a book on how to deal with a public relations problem, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s handling of this scandal will be cited as a prime example of what exactly not to do. If you’re going to take a PR hit, come clean and take it all at once at once rather than trying to cover up the truth and thus grab highly unfavorable national headlines for, oh, a five year stretch as my alma mater seems intent on doing.