UNC’s welcome back

From a July 25 editorial in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has endured bad publicity for its problems with athletes and academics. Now the university deserves praise for its new effort to encourage athletes who leave early to come back and compete their college educations.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt announced the program, dubbed “Complete Carolina,” to the university trustees on Thursday.

Scholarships for those who accept the invitation will be paid for by UNC’s booster organization known as the Rams Club. The athletic department will cover any additional expense. To have boosters and the athletics budget paying for academics will be a refreshing turn from academics being compromised to support athletics.

The move to enhance the academic experience of scholarship athletes responds to more than the specific problems of sham courses taken by athletes within UNC-CH’s African studies program. It also addresses a larger issue of fairness facing colleges that support major football and basketball programs.

In addition to the effort to help athletes graduate, UNC-CH promises more oversight and a review of academic support, a program some athletes have said guided them to easy classes.

These are good developments. And the university and Folt are due credit for them.