Christmas in August

August 15, 2012

The middle of August is usually a pretty crappy time of year for a sports fan.  Baseball is the only sport really in season, the excitement of the NBA off-season and draft has died down, there is not a big time golf or tennis tournament, and to make matters worse this year we have to deal with a post-Olympics hangover.  Fortunately today I received the gift that keeps on giving.  The accidental publishing of Julius Peppers’ UNC transcript, and the ensuing shit-storm it has brought down on the UNC athletic program has me nothing short of giddy.  I haven’t done enough research to really get into the specifics of UNC’s alleged violations, (These people have) but I know the basics.  The Raleigh newspaper, The News and Observer, in conjunction with the NC State themed blog Pack Pride have discovered that up to 54 classes in UNC’s African and Afro-American Studies department are completely bogus.  Essentially these classes exist to boost the GPAs of UNC “student” athletes.  I had heard about this before but the release of Peppers’ transcript makes everything so much better.  It turns out Peppers cumulative GPA was a less than sparkling 1.824.  Even more incredibly he only managed this turd of a GPA with the help of some of the allegedly bullshit classes.  If true this means that the rampant and institutionalized cheating goes back over a decade and that it involved the basketball team as well as the football team. (Peppers played basketball and football for the Tar Heels from 1999-2001)  UNC could feasibly have to forfeit over a decades worth of wins in its two biggest sports.  Suck it Gil.

This story is interesting to me for two big reasons;

The Reaction of UNC Fans- Maybe I am naive, but I expected there to be some outrage from the Carolina crowd over this.  These allegations come on the heels (see what I did there) of another scandal in the UNC football program involving academic violations that led to the firing of head football coach Butch Davis and NCAA sanctions.  I would hope that a decades worth of people playing fast and loose with the sterling academic reputation of UNC would piss a few people off.  Nope.  In fact it has been the opposite.  Most people I have talked to aren’t angry and don’t even bother to deny the allegations.  They simply shrug their shoulders and say that every good football program does this.  (There is even a ridiculous story where the UNC booster club tried to withdraw funding for stadium improvements in protest over Davis’ firing.)

I have a whole bunch of problems with that logic.  First and foremost I think UNC should be real careful comparing themselves to other allegedly dirty programs such as Auburn and Alabama.  Both of those two teams have completely dominated the football landscape the last five years or so and have a national title to show for it.  UNC on the other hand has been average at best and is has even lost to the pillar of mediocrity that is NC State five years running on the gridiron.  Alabama and Auburn and other teams probably do bend or break the rules but at least they win.  if you are going to cheat, do it right.

More importantly however, why would UNC students or alums want to compare their school with the likes of the big SEC schools.  No offense to Auburn or Alabama, but UNC is considered pretty much superior to those schools in every regard except for football.  The University of North Carolina should set its sights upwards (at say Duke) rather than downwards.  And if a UNC grad really wanted his or her school to be like Auburn why not just go there?  They damn sure could have gotten in.
The Implications for the Basketball Program- I Don’t really give a shit about UNC football.  For all I care they can keep the 5-6 wins they routinely earned the past ten years.  What really has me excited is the prospect that Carolina basketball could have the hammer dropped on it as well.  As I am sure you know (and as UNC administrators damn well know) there are a few banners hanging in the Dean Dome that could be in jeopardy if it turns out that some of their players were ineligible.  This may seem like a stretch but it makes sense given the complete lack of response or comment from the UNC leadership.  Normally in situations like this the school tries to get out ahead of the NCAA and launches its own investigation hoping that it can mitigate further punishment by coming clean.  UNC itself did this with the scandal a few years ago, suspending many of the players involved well before NCAA sanctions came down.  In this case however the University of North Carolina appears to be employing the Shaggy Defense, essentially claiming “It wasn’t me.” The most reasonable explanation for this odd reaction by the powers that be at UNC is that they are afraid that an investigation will hurt the basketball program.

And I for one could not be happier at the prospect of Carolina basketball having to forfeit some or all of its wins from the past few years.  Not only would this give Duke a few more ACC titles, both regular season and tournament, but I really like the idea of Ol’ Roy losing those two titles.  That would give him a grand total of 0 and would finally end the absurd arguments that Roy is even in the same league as Coach K.  So thank you Santa.  If even half of these allegations are true then you can forget about those new golf clubs.  Seeing college basketball’s most overrated coach get knocked down a peg would be more than enough.

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One Response to “Christmas in August”

  1. […] their behavior recently has sent me over the edge.  UNC is in the midst of a decade long academic scandal where by the university’s own admission athletes have received unfair advantages in the […]

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