It has been just less than two weeks since the University of North Carolina received the latest Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
Unlike a previous notice in 2011 that UNC released in a few hours, school officials haven’t allowed the public to see what the NCAA is alleged to have uncovered in its latest investigation.
One of the latest stories from the News & Observer’s reporting into the academic scandal at the state’s flagship school reached Richmond County.
Dan Kane reported in March that former Richmond Senior standout Michael Waddell may have received preferential treatment as a student-athlete and was admitted into the school’s graduate program in the fall of 2003. Kane wrote that Waddell needed to be enrolled in graduate school in order to continuing playing football after receiving his undergraduate degree in the summer of 2003.
Kane added that Waddell wasn’t the only athlete UNC athletics officials tried to keep eligible by enrolling in graduate school.
This allegation may or may not be included in the NCAA’s last findings, but no one knows except for Chancellor Carol Folt and athletic director Bubba Cunningham. The pair can’t bury their heads in the sand and hope the story will vanish.
Because for everyone in Chapel Hill or who is a Tar Heel fan, the academic scandal just won’t go away. It is a dark cloud hanging over the athletics program and it might end up costing some more people their jobs. Perhaps some high-profile coaches.
A previous NCAA investigation — or should it be classified it as multi-year ongoing one? Honestly, no one may know for sure because it seemed as soon as one wrapped up, another started — cost former football coach Butch Davis his job.
Even though he has stated his innocence during the investigations, UNC basketball coach Roy Williams could be the next chess piece to fall. Several of Williams’ former players have been linked to the “fake classes.”
And if Davis had to go, the question several people have is: shouldn’t Williams be walked out the door as well?
Chancellors, coaches and professors eventually land on their feet in situations like this because it is rare for them to be completely ruined.
The student-athletes, on the other hand, are in a different situation. Former players like Waddell will be tainted with the stench of these allegations whether they had first-hand knowledge of the improprieties or not.
Current players are also caught in the spider web because they could have their NCAA title hopes dashed due to NCAA probation for actions that occurred at UNC when they were in elementary school. Plus it has hurt UNC in recruiting as well because it is easy for rival schools to tell prospects that the NCAA is about to drop the hammer.
This is why it is critical for Folt and Cunningham to bite the bullet and release the latest notice. The athletic programs may lose a recruit or two, but in the long run, it will be the right thing to do for the school and its student-athletes.
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.