Mark Washburn

Only 2 responsible for UNC problems; who knew?

I must rise in defense of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Too much is being made of a few oversights, innocent errors and well-intentioned fibs that extended over a mere two decades or so, which is not even a long period when you think about it terms of geologic time and mountain-building.

Furthermore, this scandal with athletes not having to attend actual classes only involves a few hundred individuals, a tiny percentage of the scholars attending the university over the years. There is not one known case – not one – of a doctor, dentist or particle physicist getting a degree without technically learning something. That is worth remembering.

Taxpayers who support the university by providing it both their dollars and their offspring have nothing to be upset about.

It only cost a penny here and a penny there to provide empty classrooms for ghost courses, and it cannot be proven that the players didn’t learn something about contemporary cultural values by not attending classes like everyone else.

Nay, they came to realize on the field of life that even esteemed institutions built strong over the centuries by toil and sacrifice can be bent to the needs and will of the anointed few.

It can be argued that they learned how a fundamental conflict between muscle and brain could be resolved by a trick of the eye. This is valuable knowledge one can draw upon for a lifetime.

When you stop and think, there is much to be praised about the creative approach taken in sham-educating UNC athletes.

First, it was so efficient that only two people had anything to do with it. Yes, only Julius Nyang’oro, who oversaw the department of African-American studies, and Deborah Crowder, an administrator whose work ethic was so great that she made time to grade papers for certain students in the department.

That’s it. Just two people. No one else. Everyone says so.

Second, the noneducation provided to athletes was superior. Because of such superb noncurriculum, athletes were able to achieve soaring grades, boosting academic averages sometimes in need of a lift because of the rigorous – and let’s just be honest here: sometimes unreasonable – demands of other departments, such as attending lectures, completing homework or writing papers.

Third, sophisticated, technical methods were employed to help athletes compose papers when required. About half examined so far show that research was done on a modern computer, and the cognitive-content process known in academics as “cut-and-paste” was employed.

So, if you think about it, there is much to be proud of.

In the future, we suppose it might be a good idea to have someone check in now and then on the schoolwork of valued students to ensure it meets the university’s high standards. We’re certain it will.

Now, let’s put this chapter behind us, as it really involves only two people, and get back to basking in the reflected glories of our athletes’ luminescence, something that truly touches us all.

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