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N.C. Opinions: Raleigh

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Fake isn’t fair at UNC

From an editorial Thursday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

Athletes and other students who took bogus African and Afro-American Studies classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill didn’t learn much, if anything. But the people of North Carolina are getting an impressively broad education in how bad things got at UNC.

The latest enlightenment comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, the agency that monitors whether a school is providing proper instruction and awards accreditation based on its review.

SACS president Belle Wheelan has written the university indicating the degrees awarded to an unknown number of students may be as suspect as the courses because they were awarded based in part on the completion of “aberrant” courses that didn’t meet basic academic standards.

So now we have an accrediting agency executive saying there’s something illegitimate not only about some UNC courses, but also some UNC degrees.

And that raises a question about UNC athletes who took the courses in highly disproportionate numbers dating back to at least 2001. If the African studies courses aren’t considered legitimate in terms of a degree, how could they be legitimate in terms of athletic eligibility?

Is it fair that UNC’s athletic opponents who worked to stay academically eligible faced UNC players who were eligible only because they passed courses that were, in SACS’ opinion, not courses?

The SACS concerns should resound like gongs in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is supposedly watching out for the use of ineligible players and imposing penalties. But the NCAA has long since proved itself unwilling to investigate whether UNC’s bogus classes made for bogus players.

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