First it was Penn State and now it’s North Carolina.
Soon the NCAA will no longer have anyone in its membership which officials can point to and say, “This is the right way to do things and the school’s athletic programs are successful.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert threw the book at Penn State for its handling of the entire Jerry Sandusky episode. The Nittany Lions did not violate any NCAA rules or regulations regarding Sandusky. Instead, Emmert invoked the lack of institutional control clause in doling out his sanctions.
If Penn State received a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, five years of probation and a reduction in scholarships for harboring a now-convicted pedophile, what will North Carolina get for basically thumbing its nose at the NCAA’s rules.
For the longest time, fans have claimed the Tar Heels are better than those renegade colleges in the Southeastern, Big 12 or Pac 12 Conferences because they don’t have to cheat to win. The other schools in the ACC, except Florida State and Miami, have had good or solid reputations themselves about avoiding major NCAA violations.
No one should think North Carolina didn’t break a secondary rule a time or two because those type of things occur all the time at every institution. For the most part, no one hears about them because the coach who broke the violation goes directly to the athletic department’s compliance office and admits the mistake. The school sends the information to the NCAA which rules on the infraction and the coach is told to review the section of the rule book which was violated and life goes on.
Except this isn’t what happened in Chapel Hill. Members of the Tar Heel Nation only wish the athletic department was guilty of breaking a handful of secondary rules.
When an entire academic department’s reputation is called into question, which in turn puts the entire university in a bad light, then the problem goes above and beyond sending a text to a recruit on the wrong day.
This is much, much worse.
Chancellor Holden Thorp had to think the Tar Heels dodged a major bullet when he fired former football coach Butch Davis before the school received a relatively light slap on the wrist after it was discovered several players received improper benefits from an agent or improper academic assistance from a tutor.
Thorp said he was forced to fire Davis to save the school’s integrity, but who will be Thorp’s scapegoat now? The school forced Julius Nyang’oro, the former head of the African and Afro-American Studies Department, to retire so there is no one else to point the finger at or lay the blame on.
Instead, Thorp may be forced to make more tough decisions and those may involve other coaches as well as academic heads.
Sorry Tar Heel fans, but you have now become one of those institutions which you looked down upon only a few short years ago.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org