CNN- For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
I know this should piss me off. I know I should be clamoring that UNC has had a decided advantage over all other universities for the better part of two decades. I just can't bring myself to do it. I made an agreement with myself long ago that I don't care what goes on amongst college class rooms, as long as the on field/on court product is up to par. It is great that Rutgers' athletics always ranks above a large majority of other universities when it comes to academics. It is something to be proud of. However, I would trade that in for 2.0's and conference championships in a heartbeat. That may be disconcerting, but those are the facts. The only statistics that universities, and their fans, care about are W's and dollar signs, not GPA's and graduation rates.
Let's be real, every major school has cases of this. During Ray Rice's senior year there was a rumor that he handed in an exam that simply said "Ray Ray don't take tests". I thought it was funny then, and I would be lying if I said I don't think it is funny now. College sports is a business. BIG business to be exact. The power of the almighty dollar is much more alluring than running a completely clean program. Athletics outweigh academics and carry universities financially. If you need anymore proof look at the application numbers the year after a university has a good sports season. I applied to St. Joseph's the year after Jameer Nelson and Delonte West carried them to an undefeated regular season. Applications had skyrocketed from the previous year. These universities can't let something as silly as negligent student athletes hold them back.
For the most part, you can skate through college if need be. There are plenty of joke classes. Plenty of classes that you don't have to attend. Plenty of classes that only require you to write papers. Through word of mouth and a little research you can find ways to fill your schedule without burdening yourself with too much of a workload. For fuck's sake, they didn't have to invent fake classes for me to 'study' Witchcraft and Magic, Sociology of Sport, and Sociology of Women.
I think the most concerning thing about this story is that the university was responsible. I don't need athletes to be the smartest kids on campus, but let's not create a faux ring of classes just so they can pass. If you can't find a way to get yourself a 2.0 while taking garbage classes then that should be on you, not the university. It's also concerning that it was so institutionalized and widespread. When a scandal includes that many people, that information is bound to make it's way into the wrong hands. It's a minor miracle it managed to go unpunished this long. It's almost like UNC thought academic fraud was so much a fabric of the college landscape that they didn't need to keep it close to the vest.
I am not saying I agree with colleges making their decisions based on the best interest of it's sports teams. I am just saying that it is something we have known for awhile now, and it isn't subject to change. Education may be synonymous with universities, but at the end of the day one philosophy will always prevail. C.R.E.A.M.