In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes — and Whistle-Blower


Sitting in Memorial Hall at the heart of the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina, Mary Willingham wondered what William Friday would want her to do. Friday’s memorial service in October 2012 drew a large and reverent audience: scholars of the humanities and sciences, national political figures, and university staff members such as Willingham, who’d spent the previous decade tutoring athletes and other undergraduates in need of remedial reading help. The tribute to Friday, president of the state university system from 1956 to 1986, reflected the accomplishments and contradictions of the institution he embodied. Slaves helped build UNC, the nation’s first public university, which opened in 1795. The original Memorial Hall, dedicated in 1885, honored students and faculty who’d died defending the Confederacy. Taking office only two years after the Supreme Court ordered an end to “separate but equal” in Brown v. Board of Education, Friday pushed for desegregation in the face of sometimes-violent opposition. Under his stewardship, Chapel Hill earned a reputation for excellence and became a powerhouse in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

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45 Responses to In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes — and Whistle-Blower

  1. Jonathan Magotch February 6, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    What went on with UNC unfortunately does occur at many schools across the nation. Some of these schools don’t mean to give their student athletes special treatment when it comes to academics, while other schools do. UNC is just one of many schools that does this, but is one of the first large Universities that has shined a light on the things that went on for their student athletes. The University has had such backlash about this situation because it was apparent that the classes were completely fabricated for the athletes so they could receive higher GPAs.

    This is what, I believe has set UNC apart from these other schools. I have a few friends that are student athletes both at Seton Hall and a few other schools. I know for a fact that all of these students do, in-fact, receive special treatment in the form of being exempt from certain things and are given much more leeway then other students. They, however, aren’t given bogus classes in which they receive credit for doing elementary work like the UNC students were. I do believe that, in doing so, UNC has failed its athletes and received the backlash that they deserved.

  2. Jazmine Robles February 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    The idea that student athletes receive special treatment in regards to academics at universities, solely because they are athletes has been an ongoing debate for as long as I can remember. I do not have personal experience in this field since I am not a college athlete but I have heard that certain athletes receive special tutors who make do their schoolwork or make it extremely easy for them to get it done.

    I feel like UNC definitely deserved the consequences they received because it shows what that the entire institution is not completely focused on academic like they should be. College is a place to learn and develop academically and professionally. If you really think about it, if an athlete were to get injured and that were to impact his athletic career, how would they back themselves up if they lack a genuine education? They do not realize that these special privileges they are receiving are ultimately hurting them. I know personally, athletes here at Seton Hall receive special treatment such as getting to move in and register for classes early.

    This article definitely helped me realize that athletes are not that lucky. They think these special privileges are helping them but they are in fact getting robbed an education that they need.

  3. Ashley Scott February 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    I believe that student athletes receive special treatment at these colleges that are known for producing quality teams. This situation that happened at UNC wasn’t the only instance of which we have heard about student athletes received specialized tutors. In most cases these schools are sweeping bad academics under the rug in order to keep their teams at peak performance. The issue that bothers me is these student athletes are receiving full scholarships to prestigious big universities but they lack in college level reading and math skills. Some of these students would only get accepted in college based off what they can do with a ball or how fast they are.

    I believe you can’t just put blame on the big universities on this matter. I’m sure these situations takes place in the middle school and high school levels. We find it normal to praise athletes by offering them more money and treating them like celebrities. We short ourselves by not providing our athletes with a foundation of learning and only offering them a piece of paper with a major on it. Many of these college athletes need a back up plan because sports doesn’t always work out in their future.

  4. Kevin Dorward February 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    This article is very interesting in how it shows that some college athletes are not very well educated to begin with and they are not getting educations while in college. This is the question that Mary Willingham was wondering. Why are colleges not providing remedial classes for students who are not the best students, where they can actually learn something rather than cheat their way to pass a class where they learn nothing? It makes no sense to me why colleges would not put these student athletes in class where they can learn and succeed rather than cheat and learn nothing.

    A question I have about this article is in Southall’s quote “We pretend,” he says, “that it’s feasible to recruit high school graduates with minimal academic qualifications, give them a full-time job as a football or basketball player at a Division I NCAA school, and somehow have them get up to college-level reading and writing skills at the same time that they’re enrolled in college-level classes.” In this quote he says that they give them full-time jobs as football or basketball players. The fact that he called being a basketball or football player is a full-time job makes no sense because of the fact that they are not being paid to play the sports. It brings up another issue that colleges seem to use student athletes to make money from sporting events while ignoring their actual education. Their idea of education is giving these athletes a degree in a field where they probably barely learned anything and are unprepared for their life after sports.

  5. Jonathan Yohanan February 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    This article and its content are not surprising to me at all. Stories of uneducated athletes, interviews with professional athletes who cannot seem to find the words they are looking for, they are all over the place, some more prevalent than others. It is undoubted that student athletes at all colleges receive special treatment and are at some of the highest of the school’s priorities. But how far is this going to take these students. What if they get a career ending injury? Or if they never make it to the big time. There are going to be left out in the world without a degree, or the proper education and resume to really be eligible for a job. But where does it stop?

    Schools all over the country are doing this same exact thing, it doesn’t need to be a college.
    High schools are guilty of it. You need to earn your grades. And these highly ranked athletes are learning that, that is not the case. High school teachers are looking out for their reputation, and if that means boosting the start athlete’s grades in order to remain at her job then so be it. We need to cut this out of all schools systems across the nation. How it is going to be done, is still unsaid. But for our colleges to be looked upon in a cleaner, and less scandalized way, we need to assure that our athletes get the best education and understanding that you can’t waltz into a college and expect to be handed grades like you have been.

  6. Christopher Auer February 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Student-Athlete, not just athlete. In most schools, athletes are treated better than any other student. In some cases, there are incentives to being an athlete. Athletes will find themselves doing less work than their peers, but still getting just as much credit. They get passed from grade to grade with C’s and D’s all the way through college. The main problem with this situation is there are too many uneducated athletes that have nothing to do when their career ends.

    There are a lot of student-athletes that are not capable or good enough to play in the pros. When they find out that they are going to have to find a different profession, they have no idea what to do because they only have a communications or business administration degree that they know nothing about.

    This also isn’t fair to the students who worked hard to get to a good school. If you have excellent academic skill, but no athletic ability, you can get a scholarship that will cover about half of all expenses for college. On the other hand, if you have excellent athletic abilities, but no academic skill, you can go to college for nothing (and in some cases, they pay you on top of that). It is obvious that athletes are treated better than hardworking students.

    For example, if an NCAA football team makes a bowl game (min 7 win season) the whole team gets a reward of some sort. My friend at Boston College told me that the entire team got Xbox Ones and $600. That was just for winning at least 7 of 12 games in the season! They didn’t even have to win the bowl game.

    Overall, my opinion on NCAA athletes will always have a slightly negative approach. I can’t even say I’m biased because in high school I was a 4yr varsity wrestler. Our wrestling team was the best sports program in the school, but I never felt like I didn’t have to do my work. I understood that at some point my wrestling career would be over. I wasn’t going to make a living off it. I decided to even leave the sport behind when coming to college. I choose an amazing school based on academics when I could have been a student-athlete at an average academic school. I knew that I didn’t want to come out of college with no clue as to what I would do after wrestling was over. That is something most student-athletes don’t understand. They just keep dreaming about their name up in lights, but in reality, they are out on the streets because they never made it to the pros.

  7. Prince Sledge February 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    The concept of student athletes receiving special and preferential treatment is not anything that I haven’t heard before. I feel as though this is something that occurs more frequently at schools that have solid Division I teams such as an institution like the University of North Carolina. The article specifically discusses the UNC scandal that involves giving the athletes credit for essentially going to a fake class. In addition, over the course of about 20 years there were over 500 grade changes among basketball and football athletes and this is simply unacceptable.

    When talking about a student-athlete it is important to understand that student comes first. As a primarily educational institution, if you’re endorsing the fact that if you are an athlete it is okay to cheat and fake your way through an education then that is sending out a bad image in general. Education should be priority number one and everything else follows.The message that this is revealed is that athletes don’t need to actually worry about an education and that just isn’t true, nor should that be acceptable at an academic institution for such a long time.

  8. Lauren Hall February 13, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Unfortunately what happened at the University of North Carolina is not a very uncommon thing among college athletics anymore. Other schools may not be making up fake classes like the University of North Carolina did but they are just as guilty. Instead of pushing athletes to focus on their studies some big time schools care more about the athletics and try to have their athletes skate by academically. By doing this it will only come back to bite the athlete in the end because when they graduate they aren’t going to know anything. While athletics are big at most schools they are not the only thing that is important. More important than athletics is academics. After college most people will not go pro in whatever sport they played so all they are left with is their academics and if they went through college not caring about their academics because their coaches or university helped them skate by, by doing things such as taking fake classes then what is going to happen when they are set out into the real world.

    Personally as a student athlete here at Seton Hall I know how hard it can be to manage both school and academics. With practice almost every day for several hours and then classes for the majority of the day it is sometimes hard and stressful to get things done such as homework. But at the same time I realize that I am a student-athlete and in that student comes first because that is the most important reason as to why I am here. Sports should not take away from a student’s education and here at Seton Hall we are lucky enough to have coaches and academic advisors who help us make sure we are exceeding to the best of our abilities academically. Here academics are taken very seriously when it comes to athletes and that’s how it should be everywhere.

  9. J Capen May 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    UNC is such a prestigious University. For them to progress their athletes in a way like this is absurd. I’m sure that they are not the only ones who are doing this. Going to college is suppose to be a way to further your education enabling you to achieve a degree and land you a job in the future, not just to play a sport an hope to get drafted. Education is meant to be taken serious and should not be disregarded. Why are sports taken so serious that an athlete can be put into fake classes. If they cannot handle the education they should not be in school, but that will never happen because Universities depend so heavily on revenue produced from these players. I’m happy that this was brought to attention. Advisers provide so much for students but for them to let an athlete breeze by is unethical. As I am not a college athlete I am on the opposite side where it actually cost money to attend school and it’s not as easy being lucky to proficient in a sport to be provided with a free ride and education with a degree. This is just one problem with college athletics. What will be next? Will athletes finally get compensated for the time they spend practicing. I am sure that colleges could find a loop hole for that as well.

  10. Cory Fowler May 26, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    It really is a shame that some schools in certain situations favor athletics over academics. Athletics is a big moneymaker, but it should not be the primary focus of a university. I am currently a college student, and I would be disheartened if I found out the university was progressing their athletes easier than regular academic students. I do not find it fair that athletes get more benefits that regular students. There are more regular students that athletes in most cases at schools so colleges should tying to appeal to the regular students more in my opinion. This story is similar to how colleges are giving athletes unlimited meals in the dining halls because one athlete went to bed starving. I have gone to bed hungry but I do not get unlimited meals, and if I wanted unlimited meals I would have to pay for it. Just makes me think what is going to happen next?

  11. Andrew Lentini September 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    College athletics a multi-million dollar business where they pay their “employees” in free shirts and a free education. Yes a free education is very nice but for a person who brings in maybe a million or more dollars to a university that just is not enough. This is not an argument about whether College athletes should get paid or not it is about the situation that went on at UNC. Athletes were given majors that didn’t exist include made up grades for classes they never went to. Most of the players involved were part of the Basketball and football teams at the school. Mary Willingham was the person who told the NCAA about what was going on at UNC. She lost her job because of this and that is the worst part about all of this. She was doing what was right and putting a stop to something bad that was going on. I work for the Baseball team here at Seton Hall so I see firsthand how hard those guys have to work in the classroom to get an A. Most of them are in the same classes as me so I know they put in the same about of work that I do. The problem to me is not what just UNC did but it is a much bigger problem in college athletics. Every day that goes by college athletics are getting bigger and bigger thus making more money. They do not pay any of the athletes for what they do so some schools like UNC try to get the best players to their school. By doing this they realized that if they get the best athletes and win they can make more money. UNC went as far as to making a fake major just so athletes could graduate. Yes I know basketball and football in college makes the university’s a lot of money but to make a fake major to get better recruits takes it too far. The older I get the more I realize that people will do anything for money. Not even just in sports but you hear it all the time just in life in general. As I said before this goes way beyond just UNC, college athletics is turning into something too big to handle. Eventually they are going to have to pay the athletes or they will all end corrupted if they are not already. I really do enjoy college sports and there are so many rules that the NCAA has put in place that I don’t think they all are followed. This year I went to UNC with the baseball team here at Seton Hall and I knew it was a prestigious university so I wanted to walk around a little. At that point I was really curious as to what other UNC students thought of the athlete cheating scandal. So I went up to a kid and asked him, He told me that he was not really surprised that it happened because athletes at UNC get treated differently than regular students. That student went on later to say that he was upset that those athletes were given a degree that they did not deserve. He said that he works so hard in every class to get the grades he did and these athletes did no work and still got a better grade than him. Something will need to change soon in college athletics.

  12. Stephen Gallic September 11, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    In the past decade the UNC academic “paper class” scandal has been a major headline. With headlines all over mass media about this academic scandal which involved a large majority of athletes dating back to the 2000’s everyone thought UNC was headed for heavy sanctions and penalties. But, to this date the only punishment given to UNC has been administered to the former head of African American studies, Julius Nyang’oro. This lack of action on the half of the NCAA highlights the money hungry animal that the NCAA has become. With over 16 billion dollars generated from college sports every year it is quite easy to get overtaken by greed.
    Sadly, the NCAA cares more about the athletic performance and viewers brought to the television screen then about the academic success of its players. Thus, why it has yet to step in on the UNC scandal stating it is a “academic” related scandal. This is a classic case of ignorance and everyone knows it. If the NCAA was to take care of its athletes and worry about the academic integrity of its students it would step in and change the system, which it could easily do. The NCAA cares only for the athletic and athletic revenue generated by each school. It does not care to entertain the notion of paying college athletes who work full time between practice, travel, school, and games. So it does not surprise me that they turn a blind eye to fraudulent academics. Now unfortunately UNC has not been the first school to have the “paper” class scandal with Florida State and Memphis having similiar scandals. So, I believe it is safe to say the NCAA has not taken action on academics because almost every school will have participated in fraudulent academics for its athletic students in some way, shape, or form. This would result in an enormous scandal that would change the NCAA regulations and the college sports world forever.

    In terms of legal concerns UNC has had several professors removed but has had little repercussion yet. With the investigation still ongoing it will be interesting to see what the end result is.

  13. Pauline Ybanez October 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    I do agree with most of the blog comments because the situation that happened at the University of North Carolina could also be occurring in colleges and universities all across the United States. The fact that the school is in the NCAA Division I for athletics makes the situation much worse. If Mary Willingham thought that she was part of something that she would be ashamed of doing, there must be many more people in her position. It is an ethical issue that should be addressed. The fact that student athletes, emphasis on student, do not go to actual classes or work as hard as the other non-athlete students on campus is unfair. The reason people go to college is to get an honest degree. If these athletes are getting an unfair advantage, why am I working so hard for a future when these athletes receive partial to a full ride to college and a possible guarantee of a future profession? I feel that Willingham did do the right thing by coming out with something that has been swept under the rug for a long time. I hope this continues a trend of rooting out similar situations in other schools and fixing the system of how we educate athletes.

  14. Justin Amelio October 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    What happened at UNC is something that goes on at many schools but it gets swept under the carpet. Mary Willingham did the right thing by addressing the problem that had been going on for many years. For me it is already hard to balance my social life with my school work. I could not imagine being a student athlete and having to balance sports, work and a social life. Although having fake classes and giving students A’s for doing nothing for me has positive and negative sides. It is a good thing to do as long as nobody finds out about it because it allows the students to focus all of their time on sports and not have to worry about the stress that comes with school work. Some student athletes that are good enough do not even worry about school work at all. In some cases students will go to college for 1 year and once their sport season is over they will leave the school and enter the professional draft of their sport. However this is only for athletes that are required to go to school because of the professional sport rules.

    Having fake classes and giving students good grades for doing nothing will also make the teachers look good. As long as it is not known what teachers are doing for the athletes, the teachers will look like amazing teachers. If students are hearing that their peers are getting A’s in classes it will make them want to take that class. There are some negative things that come with doing this as well. If a student athlete is given all A’s or in some cases is not required to attend class at all this is actually hurting the student. The student does not learn anything when they are given all A’s or do not even have to go to any classes. What happens to the student athletes that were not good enough to make it to the professional level? They will not know anything and will have a very hard time finding a job once they graduate because they did not learn anything. If a student gets hurt and cannot return to the sport they will not be given the same privileges as they were before and they will likely fail classes because they were so used to doing nothing. I think that more should be done in order to prevent this from happening because it only hurts students in the grand scheme of things.

  15. Nick M. November 10, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    What happened at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is something that undoubtedly happens at universities across the nation. College athletics can bring large sums of revenue and even larger amounts of publicity to a university, so many treat these athletes as employees rather than student-athletes. The UNC Tar Heels have more credibility, more clout than many professional teams. With this naturally comes scandal and unethical behavior. Not to say that these actions taken by individuals employed by the university and scholarship recipients are acceptable by any means.

    So many of these athletes have been so focused on a life of athletic prowess that they have overlooked the importance of education. Universities that have high academic and high athletic reputations face difficult situations as their main attractions often cannot function in some of their simplest classes. Professional sports leagues need to offer a way out for these athletes sooner, considering many of them have aspirations to achieve athletic greatness over educational greatness, or even mediocrity. Additionally, universities need to start paying their revenue creating athletes to compensate for the publicity and success their university experiences.

  16. Marquise Moseley November 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    It was weird for me when I first heard about this whole scandal a couple of years ago. Growing up I was always around my dad looking for some sort of guidance for a sports team, and his favorite team growing up was the University of North Carolina. He liked the University of North Carolina because it was a team full of tradition and a ton of NBA talent. UNC was host to many really good NBA players such as Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Kenny Smith. The list could go on forever. Ever since I was a young boy because of my father I was a fan though, and after hearing this I was heart broken.
    North Carolina was supposed to be a school where tradition and integrity was everything. I even wanted to go to North Carolina for college for a while, but then changed my mind after realizing that I most likely could not be that far away from home. Regardless, the idea that UNC was using things like fake classes to make sure their athletes were on the floor disgusted me. If an athlete refuses to put the same effort in the classroom as they do on the floor then I do not think they deserve to be out there. Being able to play on game day is a privilege, and privileges are supposed to be earned not given. These teachers should not be making fake classes to help coaches keep their best players on the floor. For my favorite school to do this hurt, and I feel if these players can not keep their grades up then they should have gone somewhere else.
    This brought nothing but bad publicity to such an amazing school. North Carolina should be looked at as a great school with an amazing basketball program, but instead for a while they were seen as a school that lies and manipulates the system to keep their players on the floor. Last time I checked these players were STUDENT Athletes. The word STUDENT comes first because it is their first priority, and neither coaches nor professors should have to cover them in school. If they can not get their grades up then they should not be allowed on the floor no questions asked. There is no need to bring this negativity to my favorite college basketball team. Coach Roy Williams does not deserve these scandals on his impressive resume. He is a coach that produced a lot of NBA talent, and at the same time built an impressive winning program at North Carolina. No one should tarnish a man of his integrity. I love Roy Williams as a person, and I do not think things like this are helping his impressive coaching resume. I would like to see him one day in the Hall of Fame, but with things like this in his past that will not help his case very much. North Carolina is a great program, and I do not think they should be defined by this one mistake. I’m sure it will not happen again. A lot of schools do this, but I am ashamed North Carolina is now on that list.

  17. Nicholas Coyle January 22, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    In every big sports collegiate program, there are those who try to cheat the system. If that’s by taking bribes to go there, creating fake classes for the athletes, or just passing these athletes through just so they can play their game. It will always occur, but those big programs will try and get sneakier so they done get caught in the future. What happened at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is just another example of what these programs will do to put out a winning product. But why do these programs do it? Well they do it because 1) it gives great notoriety for the institution, so they let it happen. 2) Sports are such a huge part of American culture that they need these players to keep playing. Everyone wants to play for a winning team, so they need to keep a consistent pace with their competitors. For example, Kentucky basketball receives two or three 5-star recruits each recruiting class, while Seton Hall University might get one or two every decade. That is because Kentucky has a legacy of winning games, winning the Southeastern Conference, and going into March madness with a one or two seed.
    That being said, I think it is shameful what these universities do to keep winning. They risk NCAA sanctions, fines, bans from further events, etc. It also makes your institution less reputable because you are labeled as a cheater. At the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill, the institution gave these athletes fake classes so they did not have to worry about their academics. I think it is disrespectful for all of the other students at UNC who actually have to work for a degree, as those athletes get their degrees handed to them. Also, I pay thirty something thousand dollars for my degree while these athletes are handed to them for almost nothing. The only thing the athletes give is their services to play the sport that they love. I found it rather disgusting that these universities would actually risk their academic legacy for a couple of athletes who can handle the workload of both playing a sport and managing their academics.
    College at times can be hard, I get that, but these athletes need a legitimate degree for when they enter the workplace. Not all of these athletes will compete professionally, so they need to know what they are doing when they find a job. The College should definitely help the student athlete find a job, but handing them a degree is not the right thing to do. There is nothing that separates me from these athletes, so why should I have to work for a degree if they don’t have to?
    Universities around the country are providing a disservice to their alumni association, current students, and future students for the actions they have been a part of. I am glad that some people have an ethical view and will stand up to the machine that is a university. We need more people to stand up against the actions of these universities. That is the only way these student athletes will thrive not only as athletes, but as good citizens and exceptional co-workers.

  18. Matthew Ehrhardt January 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    It only takes one single misdeed in the eye of skepticism to lose faith completely. This article perfectly unearthed and sustained everyone’s skeptical theories of the life of a division 1 college athlete. Saturday afternoons televise the NFL players of the future, and winter evenings air the eventual stars of the NBA. At the division 1 level, these athletes are immortalized as heroes with success in sports, partying, expected riches, but never for their education. Now, of course, there are athletes over time who have excelled in college both on and off the field including Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck who has a degree in architecture from Stanford University. But when recruiters are searching for the next school money maker, I can assure you the first thing they acquire is not their transcript. There have always been the unanswered questions about the lives of college athletes that are uncovered by today’s media, “What about their education? How are they doing in school? Do they really meet division 1 requirements?” UNC’s Chapel Hill campus’ answers to those questions were not what the NCAA wanted the nation to hear. The thing about this article that truly scares me is how much power these schools and the NCAA actually have. You mean to tell me that Mrs. Willingham was the only person in the entire university staff to notice that there were 200 lectures in the African studies department that NEVER met, while also handing athletes (one of the schools biggest income investments) good enough grades to keep them at the university full-time? The article did not say of anyone else involved or knowing, besides the dying former president Mr. Friday who Willingham told in the final year of his life. It is known and factual that Willingham was the whistle blower, but there is no way in hell that only one women at a huge nationally recognized campus was able to notice and see the wrongfulness of weening athletes through school with fake classes. The power that the athletic program has in control with the high administrators is not just seen at UNC. The main amount of athletes caught in the class were football and basketball players. UNC is not even close to have athletic programs with as much fame and power as that of Oregon, LSU, Florida State, and Alabama. If UNC was able to hide this scandal from so long, then what do you think these other huge schools could be hiding? Not to say that every school has fraud as high as UNC’s class scandal, but this also isn’t the first time that a university has failed to unearth a large scandal. Probably the biggest scandal in the history of athletics was the historic Penn State Football program under the rule of legendary coach, the late Joe Paterno, which failed to report on the rape and sexual attacks on players from former coach Jerry Sandusky. Penn state was able to hide more than just some classroom mishaps, they were able to hide the rape of over 15 boys, probably including many more who refuse to come public about the situation. These types of scandals feed to our fears about the legitimacy of the NCAA. You may recall me starting this comment with that statement about losing faith in the eye of skepticism. Does the shoe not fit here? As unfortunate as it is to say, most people probably were not shocked when this story broke. In fact, most probably just sighed under their breath and said ‘Finally’. The only truly shocking thing was the amount of time it was covered up and the scale it was operating on. Other than that this story is just everything we expected from these athletic programs playbook of the education system.

  19. Kevin A February 5, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    It is true that incidents such as those that occurred at UNC occur all over the country. It is appalling to see that UNC, rather than thanking Willingham and looking beyond what she was bringing to their attention instead punished her. It seems that senior UNC officials would rather silence the whistle blower and promptly fix this particular issue and make it seem like there is no potential for situations like this to be occurring in any other part of the school rather than protect the integrity of the school. This approach only hurts the athlete and could be potentially making things worse for themselves in the future if it turns out fake classes are not only limited to their Department of African, African American and Diaspora. It was surprising to see that a student such as Michael McAdoo, who was suspended for his academic performance, brought a lawsuit against the school in which the main point in his argument was a clearly plagiarized paper he had written. It is hard to imagine how McAdoo in his mind was able to go forward with this, doesn’t he realize that there is now a chance that he is not remembered for his athletic accomplishments at UNC, but now rather as the student who sued the school over a clearly plagiarized essay. It’s hard to imagine McAdoo finding pride in that.
    The school is not only to blame for the failing integrity of higher-level education for athletes. Some of the blame must be put on the NCAA, who almost all of the time focuses too much on the athletic side of a college student athlete. The NCAA has several rules in place to keep athletes sheltered enough so they can keep them in the typical protective college bubble that most students find themselves in, on the other hand the NCAA does not go beyond this by holding athletes to a certain academic standard. The football and basketball player’s athletic ability is the main reason they are given the opportunity to attend some of the most prestigious schools in the country, like UNC, which they would not otherwise attend. This is why it is important for the NCAA to focus on the integrity of the education of these student athletes, because without it the higher-level education offered by these schools is being wasted. Willingham herself even states that when the athletes accepted her help made substantial progress. This just goes to show that if a portion of everyone’s interest was taken off of players’ athletic ability and put onto their education scandals like this would not happen. The NCAA even has a rule that allows basketball players to stay one year then declare for the NBA, this is a clear disregard for the athletes’ academic standing. So at this point in time it appears that a lot more of these scandals will come up in the future.

  20. Jonathan Barcelos February 5, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    The University of North Carolina is known to be an amazing school academically, ranking 30th in the country according to US News. They are also an amazing school athletically, currently playing division 1 sports, in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In comparison to Seton Hall, their basketball team is currently 19-3, against teams such as Duke, Boston College, and Clemson. An overall amazing school, but a lot of commotion was stirred up when Mary Willingham brought their scandal to the surface. The students being brought into the football and basketball teams were unable to maintain necessary grades, and intelligence to be in credited classes. They were being given fake credits, and grades were being changed to help them maintain a scholarship.
    There is no point in talking about how “unfair” it is for athletes to be treated this way in comparison to nonathletic students. That is obvious, I also do not look at it through the racial perspective that was mentioned in this article. Yes, every division I school in the country gives their athletes special accommodations and support, which is nothing new. These athletes deserve the support, they run a multi-billion dollar business, and are compensated by tuition and no cash, which has been an ongoing back and forth argument for decades now. What I found more important than any of this is the fact that in four years, when these students graduate with these fake credits they had, and these classes that never met, or the ones they really failed but appeared to pass, will not add up. They were pushing the students to graduation and not teaching them anything, so their students were obtaining degrees with no knowledge, which could be disastrous for both the schools reputation, and the students once they go looking for a job.
    The school that has an acceptance rate of 29% should not be taking athletes who do not meet the standards, regardless of athletic ability. It is not about race or religious affiliation, it is more importantly about the want to learn that students have. But these big division I schools are more worried about their income from games instead of the outcome of their students’ lives post-graduation. But taking these athletes who are both intelligent and athletic as the ones they have, would mean settling for athletes who are not as skilled and having to work them up, but that is something they need to do, not take athletically gifted students and trying to teach them how to read. I totally agree with everything Mrs. Willingham said about these students. The only thing that I thought was wrong is that it took her way too long to make it public. This is even unfair to the athletes themselves, they have to feel like they have been cheated of their education, if that matters to any of them. Just because they have to play in games, should not mean they should not be responsible for not learning the course materials and passing all their classes, that is much more important than playing a game. The chances of getting drafted into the NBA or the NFL is very slim, and these players are not prepared for that if the school was to continue this habit. Thankfully it was stopped and rightfully so.

  21. Gianna Tomeo February 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    As a student athlete I think issues like this are embarrassing. Yes, we have access to a lot of great academic resources, but there is a fine line between getting the most out of resources and cheating the system entirely. Not only is it morally wrong to commit actions like this, but it is hurting those athletes that went through with it. Only a small percentage of college athletes go pro and have the opportunity to play their sport for a living so if universitites are graduating undereducated people they are going to be completely lost in the world. There won’t be any tutors or advisors there to cut the corners for them, and they will be completely on their own. Being a student athlete is a great thing, but what’s so special about it is the fact that we can balance athletics and academics during the school year. People like the UNC athletic team are a disgrace and a complete embarrassment to college athletes around the country because their example is not what we stand for.

  22. Amanda Crimarco February 8, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    Very often, it is argued that college athletes, especially at the high Division I level are given special treatment in relation to their education. People will claim that college athletics is distorting higher education instead of pushing the collegiate athletes to perform both on the court or field as well as in the classroom. Whatever needs to be done to get the athlete to pass, will be done. This article specifically deals with the special treatment at the University of North Carolina but unfortunately this is occurring in many schools other than UNC.
    Many of the big stars at numerous schools are unable to pass classes or be on the level they should be, so they are catered to in order to be able to compete. This is very hard to accept especially being a college athlete. Although universities may be trying to help the athletes while playing their sport in college, in reality all this is going to do is hurt the athletes later in life. By simply pushing the athletes through school just to enable them to graduate, the universities are hurting the athletes’ future when dealing with careers and the world outside of sports. In addition to this, one can also raise the question, how are the other students going to react to this? At many of these universities sports are such a major factor, but this special treatment of the athletes is unjust and is also putting various opportunities and jobs at risk.
    Despite the advisors that are supposed to stay on top of this, it is continuing to occur at the big time universities. Universities along with the athletes that are affected by this are very capable of receiving a bad reputation. When participating in a collegiate level athletic program one is known as a “student-athlete”, not simply an athlete. There are responsibilities both in the classroom and on the playing field that an athlete is aware of when entering the world of a college athletics. Athletes need to be held to higher expectations and should not be participating in this kind of activity that cheats the system and prevents them from learning. If the athlete is unable to meet the responsibilities there should be actions taken. The special treatment to the athletes can hurt the schools involved, such as UNC, the athletes and the image of collegiate athletics.

  23. Gregory Doyle February 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    The University North Carolina is perhaps one of the most decorated and well known public universities in the United States. From a consistently successful athletic program at Chapel Hill to an equally impressive academic curriculum, the school certainly boasts quite a high reputation in the world of universities. However, the news regarding the honesty of the school’s academic tutors and student athletes may make people think twice about the prestigious reputation of the Chapel Hill school. UNC at Chapel Hill is a member of the NCAA division 1, which is a multi-billion dollar business. However, this business manipulates the education system into making universities, which are obviously primarily places of academics, into sports empires. These empires, such as Duke University and UNC at Chapel Hill, will do whatever it takes to be the best, including admitting any skilled athletes, regardless of their academic level, into their universities. As a result, major universities have to plan accordingly to somehow prove that these college athletes, whom many are not academically par for their institution, are staying academically eligible. The only way that this epidemic can end is by taking small steps, such as ensuring that college athletes are proficient in the first place.
    Mary Willingham, a university staff member at the UNC, divulged a shocking, and quite frankly, pathetic fact which stated that some members of the basketball and football teams read at a grade school level. How is it possible that someone is able to be admitted into college and perhaps have their name printed on a UNC diploma without obtaining a college reading level? It is ultimately concerning and insanely frustrating to know that tons of class admittance spots at prestigious universities such as UNC at Chapel Hill are being reserved by athletes who are not even in being within par range to the university’s standards! Even worse, most people would assume that it would be advantageous for a college athlete to have personal tutors for all of his or her classes. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to have the individual attention of an educator at your whim? Well, it also appears that these “educators” are also corrupted since they play into the school’s “play at all costs” mentality, which includes feeding into making student athletes academically eligible at all costs. I simply cannot fathom how a university faculty can knowingly allow student athletes to enroll in a fake course in order to receive credits.
    Yet, these student athletes are also doing all of this at the expense of not only the student body’s tuition aggregate, but more insultingly, the tax payer’s money. Since UNC at Chapel Hill is a public university, the tax payers of the state are directly funding this madness! If that doesn’t make the citizens of North Carolina’s blood boil, then I do not know what will.
    I went to high school with a highly recruited basketball phenomenon, 1st overall in the 2016 NBA draft pick, Karl-Anthony Towns. While he achieved a 4.3 grade point average in only his three years in high school (yes, since he was an exceptional basketball player, he was able to skip his junior year of high school in order to graduate earlier), he was constantly allowed special treatment IN HIGH SCHOOL. This included missing countless classes due to “recruitment opportunities” and “games”, and the athletic director gladly covered Karl’s behind with dealing with Karl’s teachers. What my experiences in high school have revealed to me is that this behavior most likely starts in high school, and is simply expected from the athletes by the time they enter college.
    There is an enormous amount of controversy regarding college athletes, concerning ideas like wages and balancing academics and school. I am not suggesting that only student athletes with a 4.0 high school GPA are allowed to play for Harvard, but moves must be made in order to ensure that these students are receiving an education that is as challenging as the rest of the student body’s. Since an overwhelming majority of student athletes do not reach the professional level of their sport, they instead use their degree in order to find a job. It will essentially only reflect poorly on the university, such as UNC at Chapel Hill, when a graduate of UNC at Chapel Hill cannot read a potential contract during a job interview.

  24. Vince DeBartolomeis February 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    In my opinion, academic fraud is the biggest problem in college sports today. While many may argue that the payment of college athletes is more of an issue, the problem truly lies in the fact that many college athletes are not receiving a good education. College tuition is the payment that college athletes receive for playing sports for the school, however, if the students are led to take easy classes and simply handed the grades they need to remain eligible for athletics then it’s not an education at all. The case at North Carolina is the most prolific but there are many other schools that are guilty of this especially in the power conferences.
    What I thought was especially interesting about the article was that Willingham said that it is ridiculous for any college to think that an athlete who barely made it in to the school to not only take on a busier schedule in terms of athletics and training but also take on a much heavier academic load in college. In order to succeed academically in college, many of these athletes would have to put a lot of time and energy into their academics which many of them either cannot do or choose not to do. Ultimately, what happens is that the colleges push the students into taking easy classes where they don’t have to go to class or put a lot of time into their academics. In the North Carolina case, what happened was that students would take paper classes where they wouldn’t have to go to class, they would just have to write a paper and they would be graded on that. And then to make matters worse, often times the players wouldn’t even write the papers themselves. The tutors and academic advisors would write them and the player would get a passing grade. In this kind of circumstance, the athlete doesn’t learn anything and is not receiving an education. Willingham also stated that the system is more pushing the students to graduation rather than giving them an education. In these cases, the university does not care if the student is doing well in the class as long as it looks like the student is on paper. As long as the player has the required GPA mark, the school looks the other way. This has proven to a corrupt system that needs to be changed. Since these athletes are not receiving an education, when they graduate, they are doomed in the workforce. A career in pro sports is very rare and if the athlete did not learn very much in college then the workforce is going to be a rude awakening.
    With more and more academic fraud cases popping up across the country, it becomes clearer that the NCAA needs to change its policy and look further into preventing academic fraud. Not only does it hurt the university’s reputation that they weren’t giving the athletes a true education, but it really hurts the athletes who graduate and didn’t get to fully utilize the opportunity they had in college. Universities need to ensure that their student-athletes are fulfilling their requirements as a student first before they can continue to be an athlete at the school.

  25. Parth Parikh March 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    This was a big deal with the news came out because not only was this case involving a college and improper benefits and the twisting of rules so college athletes can play, but it did not involve fast cars like Terrelle Pryor had in Ohio State or the monetary benefits that the University of Miami received or even the improper use to try to recruit players into the college like the University of Louisville. The University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill went as far as to let student take fake classes called “paper classes”, in which their only job was to write a twenty page paper on a topic going on in that class to receive an A for the semester, boosting the student athletes’ GPA and letting them play sports throughout the year. Many of the other universities that are going through trouble within their athletic departments are due to improper financial benefits or the way they recruit other players, but this one involves the actual academics of students within the university. The NCAA has a rule within their system that states that since student athletes are primarily students and their athletics is on the side, they must maintain a specific grade point average in order to play. With the schedules that student athletes have to live by, there is a problem with the student athletes trying to play sports at their highest potential and try to keep up with their academics. Coaches and other members within the athletic department are aware and hence helped other professors create paper classes, classes that do not meet and only ask that you submit a paper that will either be read or unread and will either result in an A if the paper is good or a B if the paper is decent. With many of these “paper classes” getting a student athlete A’s and B’s, their grade point average will easily become a 3.5 or a 3.6, hence putting them in great position to participate in the games and not to go through probation, which is the result of not making the necessary grade point average requirements.
    When a college goes as far as to give students easy A’s to write a paper, it is hard to follow and it is outrageous that colleges would go this far to make sure their players play the games. This story was released because a professor who was a member of the “paper classes” has come out and talked about the scandal, willing to tell the world about everything there is to know about these so called “classes”. We will see what more the professor has to say and if there will be any implications and restrictions on the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill for their actions.

  26. Kevin Lourenco March 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Anyone who watches college sports, knows that the University of North Carolina is up there with the best of them, reeling in tons of money through its sports. However, what most people don’t know about UNC, is that their academic integrity is flawed. According to this article, the university had been pushing their student-athletes through their academics in order for them to play. Essentially, their goal was to achieve the highest point of success in their sports, specifically basketball and football, to bring money to school.
    In all honesty, I’m not at all surprised with this. I’m no student-athlete, but I am a student, and from my experiences, that’s enough for me. Being a student at top level university is hard enough as it is, and then adding a sport to your schedule is the pinnacle of difficult. I myself, always wondered how these students would manage both of these at the same time. Well, after reading this article, I finally got the answer. Beginning as far back as the 90s into 2011, UNC’s department of African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies that never met, not even once. Similar to those programs, the department also sponsored various independent study classes that were not doing what they were required to do, educate. Above all, more than 500 grades were altered without any consent at all. Most of the grades that were changed were both basketball and football student athletes.
    Although, Mary Willingham had been part of the problem, I do give her a lot of credit for coming forth and publicly stating what they had done. However, it doesn’t excuse her from being involved with the scandal itself. I’m sure after the information went public, the university’s reputation overall was tarnished, and looked down upon. Not many students, are going to want to attend a school where they do not recognize the value of the student overall. It really is despicable to see a university with such prestige focus more on a program than the individual students themselves. Rather than prepare the students for the upcoming difficulties of the real world, they are letting them slide by at ease. What’s going to happen to the student-athletes that enter the workplace unprepared? This this shows how the university truly does not appreciate its students.
    It’s clear that the university is more focused on winning basketball games then educating. But how about the students that do attend class, and actually perform as a student should? I’m sure they would not appreciate that special treatment that their athlete colleagues are getting. In addition, although, students are getting different treatment then the student-athletes, I do not one bit blame that on the student-athletes. They are just doing what they are told to do by a higher power. Furthermore, I’m sure that this is not the only university that is handing out degrees rather than having students earn them. I remember reading an article about Kean University a couple three years ago. Unfortunately, much like UNC, the university was creating fake classes in order for their women’s basketball team thrive on the court, as well as the classroom. If I’m not mistaking, they had suspended the whole sports program at the university for two years. Yes, that is a step in the right direction. But what’s more important, is making sure that they focus on the education of the students with integrity, and not allow them to return to their old habits. This is definitely an issue throughout the nation, and needs to be identified and treated accordingly. Let’s get these con artists out of the educational institutions across the nation so our students can properly succeed.

  27. Nick Paugh April 7, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    The whole point of going to college is to get a degree, that’s what everyone’s ultimate goal should be. I understand that for most of the student athletes that attend these big schools, the ultimate goal to get the next level in their athletic career. Mary Willingham, a university staff member at the UNC, found a shocking and pathetic fact which stated that some members of the basketball and football teams read at a grade school level. I don’t know how is it possible that someone is able to be admitted into college and perhaps have their name printed on a UNC diploma without obtaining a college reading level. It is concerning and frustrating to know that tons of class admittance spots at prestigious universities such as UNC at Chapel Hill are being reserved for athletes who are not even in being within par range to the university’s standards. It’s pretty clear that the university is more focused on winning basketball games then educating. That is such a shame.

  28. Adam Levi June 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    I remember when this news broke. While this is a shocking story, I was not necessarily surprised because there are many examples of athletes not completing their own work. However, this was a different kind of story all together. This idea that athletes could be taking almost fake classes to remain eligible is a new twist on academic dishonesty. UNC is one of the best non ivy schools in the country and the fact that students, regardless of the fact that they are athletes, obtained college degrees taking fraudulent classes is despicable. Also it is unbelievable that Willingham had been feeding information to a news source and UNC officials were aware and instead of investigating the issue, they produced vague reports that made it seem like there was no issue at all. The amount of people covering for any athlete let alone these UNC athletes is large, leading me to believe that there most likely cases of academic dishonesty of this proportion across many high level Division 1 athletic programs.
    The message this portrays to recruits and young athletes is that athletics is more important than academics, which is clearly not the case. A very small percentage of athletes actually have the talent and opportunity to play professionally, meaning that the rest should focus on academics in an effort to make a career for themselves. Beyond this though, it is an indication of where the focus of the university is at, to allow unethical, if not academically illegal, actions to go unnoticed and unpunished. As a student athlete myself, it is interesting to hear news like this because so many student athletes work hard to manage the balance between school and sport. It is important to recognize the student aspect of the title student athlete because often this is overlooked. Being a student athlete is difficult yet thousands across the country manage to do it without receiving improper benefits from the institutions. As the article mentions, not all athletes are even considered equal in that the schools takes priority in what are known as the revenue producing sports, football and men’s basketball. There have been many documented incidents where tutors such as Willingham will write papers or complete assignments for them in order to pass classes so that athlete can focus on athletic performances. It really portrays a message when Willingham states that some of the revenue producing sports’ athletes lacked basic literacy skills and how the female basketball player clearly copied and pasted a paper and yet still received a B. In the world we live, money outweighs everything else and the action taken by UNC officials clearly exemplifies that.

  29. Anthony DiGrande September 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    I remember when this story was announced and I just could not believe it. There have been many instances of schools violating NCAA rules when it comes to academics, but this just shows how down right deplorable a school would go for a top athletics program. These paper classes were a joke so that the athlete can receive an A or a B so they are eligible to play for that season. I remember John Oliver covering the NCAA and discussing about this case for a moment and learning that one of the classes some athletes took was “Swahili”. Many of them admitting that after taking that course have not used Swahili at all. This just shows that the school values athletics over education

    This story is about athletics being more popular than academics. However, people keep forgetting that not everyone makes it professionally. If you type in “percentage of college players that make it to the NFL” into google it sends you to a link to the NCAA official page and it states that about 1.6% of college football players make it into the NFL. So, basically that 98.4% need something to fall back on. That is where academics play a crucial part in to a student athletes future. This shows that the person not only competed on a collegiate level, but was able to manage their time into getting good grades in order to pursue their degree for their major. These paper classes are just an example of valuing the athletes over the students and that is purely unethical as a University. Willingham has stated that the paper classes only required a 20 page paper and they were given an A or B with out knowledge if those papers were read. It also insulting to the student athletes who do try hard on and off the field. Finding time to study and do their assignments for class while also being academically eligible to play Division I sports.

  30. Joseph Padula September 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    This article illustrates a deception that has been practiced by numerous colleges for years. Collegiate sports programs have been the focal point for various schools since the early 20th century and their coaches and athletic directors will do almost anything to ensure that they have the most talented players. Unlike the early 1900’s, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has made the academic requirements very clear for student athletes. Some of these requirements include completing 16 core courses, earning at least a 2.0 GPA in an individual’s core courses, earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching the core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale, and much more. However, sports programs will continue to try and find a loop in the system, which is shown in this article by the University of Carolina. Not only is this a question of ethics but as an education institute, colleges have a moral obligation to prepare their students for the real world. With some of their student athletics reading at a grammar school level, how is their obligation supposed to be met?

    It is not all the colleges fault for the students’ academic situation specify what this academic situation is because they were either raised in an environment where academics was not a focus or they were flooded with the false believe that their athletic ability will carry them for the rest of their lives. Little did they know, these false assumptions would lead them into an awful predicament due to the fact that after college they will be lost. For instance, there is currently a 1.6% chance for a D1 college football player to make it into the National Football League. When a collegiate football player doesn’t get into the NFL with no education to fall back on, what will he individuals do? More importantly, what will they be offering our society? Without the basic knowledge and skills learned throughout one’s academic career, these individuals will not do as well as they had hoped they would do.

    I blame this not on the students but on the academic programs that used these students for their own benefit. Colleges see their student athletes more as employees than actually students because they are expected to bring their program a trophy or some national recognition. When these expectations aren’t met they either get replaced or forced to work even harder that next year. This constant strain the college programs put on their athletes make it extremely difficult to focus on their academic endeavors. That is why colleges, like UNC, create false majors and class schedules to allow the student athlete to focus solely on their sport rather than their schooling. Unfortunately, in my opinion, I think this is an uphill battle the NCAA is fighting due to the fact that these programs provide their respective colleges millions even billions of dollars in revenue. Hopefully, someone soon urges for the correction of these moral and ethically wrong athletic programs before thousands of more students are exhausted for someone else’s benefit.

  31. Matthew Marinella December 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    Over the past few years, the college sports industry has become increasingly more corrupt. The college sports industry is exactly what it seems, a business. The main goal of the student-athletes is to produce income for the school, putting aside the student aspect. My close friend is a Division One athlete in a major college conference. When you take a closer look, athletes are placed into lower level classes in order to maintain a high GPA with little work put into their studies. There are tutors in place for the athletes to study and complete their homework with, on the road and on campus, however these tutors end up doing more of the work than the athletes themselves. They aren’t truly garnering their own education. Instead, some athletes choose to take the easy way out and pick a significantly easy major. Athletes in college are granted a lot of luxuries that the typical is not. They are given schedules that indicate practice, class, and built in study hours. There is no reason for athletes to not pass every class that they are in. They are given the tools to pass.
    The scandals in college sports has become more and more common. Each year there is always a new big headline on how one school cheated the system. North Carolina having headlines in regards to their players not passing classes is unacceptable. In these scenarios I think the only course of action that should be taken is a suspension from the team. Too often, coaches and personnel of these sports programs have been disregarding the student-athletes academic need. Keeping above a 2.3 GPA is not a crazy task to ask of for these athletes. Anyone who can’t pass that GPA should not be allowed to play simple as that.
    Many Division one student athletes feel that they should be played to play sports in college. Despite how much money schools bring in for athletics I do not feel that the athletes should be paid. Colleges are cashing in billions of revenue from their football and basketball programs alone. The reason these sports programs originated is so that the universities can have another means of creating revenue. The money that the schools make should go back into the school and benefit their academic programs. College students even though are the ones who generate the revenue from their play on the field are given are given a great deal of amenities form the university. They receive free clothing, food, training, and academic help. Another reason I am against this is because the athletes that are responsible for making the sports revenues programs go up are bound to be professional athletes. For instance, currently Michigan is one of the best football schools in the country because of one player Jabrill Peppers. He is without a doubt the star of the team and is part of the reason as to why the team sells out its tickets every week. A player like Jabrill is guaranteed to go play football professionally. He doesn’t even need to be paid at the college level because he is going to make millions of dollars at the next level. Student-athletes need to pay more attention to the student part of that name. The reason they are at college is supposed to be for educational purposes. Just because they represent the school as athletes, doesn’t mean that they get too be exempt from the student aspect of college. North Carolina should be ashamed for these allegations and what it represents for their school.

  32. Jalal Zahir December 2, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    If a person works, he deserves to be paid. If he is not paid, than either he is an interchangeable intern or the company is operating under illegal practices. Student-athletes are not paid, and they are far from interchangeable. The entire reason why the NCAA has a revenue of $10.6 billion is because of the labor of these athletes. But the student athletes are not paid a dime for their services. When trying to justify their exploitation of teenagers the NCAA will state that they do not have to pay college-athletes because they are already paid. College-athletes are given scholarships that allow them to go to school for free or at a titanic discount. The NCAA will argue that the scholarship money that athletes receive is a form of payment, so further monetary compensations are unnecessary. This argument is grounded upon two false dogmas. The first, is the belief that student-athletes go to school for free. While there are athletes who receive only partial scholarships there is a universal misconception that athletes who receive “full rides’ get to attend school for free. A full scholarship, or full ride, does not equate to the entire cost of college being paid for. Student-athletes will still have to pay for laptops, books, meal plans, or any other miscellaneous expenses that the college they are attending might have. One study found that, “The range of out of pocket expenses for a “full” scholarship student athlete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is $952/year to $6,127/year depending on the college.” Not only do student-athletes have to pay for college, but the price is substantial when one considers where these athletes come from. When looking at the background of college football players one study found that, “The average FBS “full” scholarship athlete earns less than the federal poverty line by $1874 on campus and $1794 off campus.” One to six thousand dollars may not appear to be a substantial amount when it comes to paying for college, but for people who are already struggling to put food on the table the difference between free and almost free is the world.
    The second false dogma that the NCAA has universally programmed into the minds of millions is that giving student-athletes scholarships is equal to paying them. The NCAA will tell anyone that asks that they in fact already pay college-athletes when they take money off of their tuition cost. This idea that scholarship money equates to being paid is illogical to the point of humor. One must only consider this example to see the holes in the NCAA’s argument. If one’s boss was to approach them and say that at the end of the day they will receive a payment of $10 thousand, and at the end of the day that worker never got his or her check, it would be reasonable to assume that that worker would become upset. If the worker went to his or her boss and asked where was the check, and the boss’s response was to say, “well I was going to go and cause $10 thousand worth of damage to your car, but I did not, so that was your $10 thousand payment”, would the worker accept that reply? Would any reasonable person equate not having to pay $10 thousand with being paid $10 thousand? The answer to both these questions is no. Not having to pay for something is not the equivalent of getting paid. Any reasonable person understand this, and it is about time the NCAA does to.
    Even if the NCAA did offer scholarships that covered the full price of tuition, that would still not be proper compensation. The money that the NCAA puts into for scholarships is not equivalent to the money generated by student-athletes. The majority of student-athletes are worth more than the scholarship money they receive. One study founded that, “Successively relating player performance to winning, and winning to gate receipts, they find that the playing contributions of about 60 percent of the players generate revenues exceeding the value of their grants-in-aid.” The scholarship money that athletes is an inadequate amount for over half of student-athletes. It is especially inadequate for basketball and football players, where the market value for each is $375,000 and $178,000 respectively. Under current NCAA guidelines the majority of student-athletes have and will continue to be undercompensated for their service to their schools. This is why it is vital for student-athletes to be paid for their work, because it is unacceptable for basic worker’s rights to be disregarded on such a widespread systematic manner.

  33. Alison Amen September 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    In most colleges, student athletes are genuine students who study and succeed in the classroom. However, there is a small number of athletes, usually in schools that drive in a lot of money to their sports teams such as football and basketball, that there is academic fraud that takes place. The university of North Carolina student athlete scandal is an ongoing dispute that deals with academic fraud and dishonesty committed by student athletes at UNC Chapel Hill. It is one of the most publicized scandals in United States history. This case had to do with student athletes “cheating the system” when it comes to academics. Fake make believe classes were given to student athletes and they were getting credit for classes on their transcript and getting a good grade as well. Most of these classes were the easiest classes offered at the university and did not require them to go to class but only write a paper. The athletes would then go and get someone else to write the paper for them. The student was not actually learning a single thing in the class. In the article, Willingham mentioned that the university is pushing more students to graduate then to give them a beneficial education. This means that the university only cares about what the grade of how the athlete did says on paper then their actual education.

    Personally, one of the biggest problems that is committed by student athletes in colleges all over the U.S today is academic fraud. Multiple college athletes are not getting a good education because they are simply getting unearned grades and not putting in the work for the sake of their sport. The NCAA, no matter what division you play at, has rules about athlete eligibility and if you do not have a certain GPA you cannot participate in the sport. Some people go to college just for sports and this is when academic fraud happens. To stay eligible to play, some athletes commit fraud to get good grades. These athletes are just hurting themselves because they are not learning anything in school they are just cheating their way through. The NCAA should enforce a new policy to prevent academic fraud from happening and make the consequences greater. Academic fraud committed by student athletes hurts the university’s reputation but also hurts the student’s reputation as well.

    Being a college athlete is tough. Playing Division 1, while balancing academics, sports and a social life can be complicated and sometimes very rigid but it is worth it in the end. Academics and getting an education is one of the most important thing. You are going to college and paying a lot of money for a reason, not to just “get by.” Remember, you are an athlete, but you are a student first.

  34. Caitlin Gardner September 19, 2017 at 12:23 am #

    Academic fraud has been a hot topic for awhile now and this case at UNC is the most common reference I have been exposed to. It is not hard to believe that Willingham’s statistics revealed that eighty-five percent of the 183 athletes accused of academic fraud were football and basketball players. As implied above, UNC offered fake courses to (mostly) athletes who participate in sports that generate revenue in order to keep them eligible as athletes. Thus, still winning championships and bringing in millions of dollars for the university. Academic fraud is very relevant today for all students, but it is particularly upsetting when students who have scholarships and are representing their university participate in fraud.
    Being a student athlete, I can see how it might be tempting to take advantage of academic fraud. Although I would never actually sign up for fake courses, it’s easy to see why many athletes would when you consider the pros. Student athletes are expected to commit a hundred percent of themselves to their sport(s). This includes waking up at 4:30am to prepare for 5am practice and weightlifting, working with trainers to strengthen their bodies when they are hurt, meeting with nutritionists to design meals catered to their body types, attending team meetings to review film and discuss daily goals, training with their team again in the evenings, and hopefully getting a good night’s rest. Imagine trying to fit in attending and studying for at least four three-credit courses each week. School for the average full-time student probably requires around 30 hours each week. Add in four hours of practice with your team, two hours of weightlifting, an hour of conditioning, and an hour for meeting with your coach. That’s eight hours a day for six days, if the coach decides to follow NCAA rules and give their players a day off. Using simple math, it is easy to understand that athletes who devote at least 48 hours each week to sports are exhausted and unlikely to be thrilled about the additional 30 hours of schoolwork they are supposed to complete. But is it worth risking it all? To me, a division I tennis player, my answer is no. I may not have a full-ride, but I dedicate nearly 30 hours of my life to Rider University’s tennis program each week. Sometimes there are days when I wake up and don’t feel like my body is capable of another three hour practice and hour of conditioning, but I put my big girl pants on and remember what I signed up for. There are alternatives for athletes whose athletic schedules conflict with their academic schedules. They can take online courses and reach out to tutors. Student athletes attend college knowing what is asked of them academically, so there is no excuse to avoid their academic responsibilities. Some may say that they go to college for their sport, not school. If an athlete is so focused in on their sport, they should probably consider dropping out and playing professionally. These athletes who put school second need to decide if taking a few fake courses or not participating in real courses is worth ruining their reputation and losing exposure through athletics.

  35. Emma Lupo September 20, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Student-athletes have the word student in their title for a reason. It is easy for the students who play an intense, time-consuming sport to forget why they are actually enrolled in school. It is no secret that colleges bend the rules for these student-athletes. Administrations everywhere are more concerned about their reputation as a great sports school than they are about the grades of students. I find it that student athletes are favored and that professors are more lenient to these students give their circumstances. While I understand that playing a sport at a collegiate level is not easy, I do not think it is fair by any means that they are given special treatment. The biggest problem with this is that in their four years playing a collegiate sport, they do not pay enough attention to their academics. Less than 2% of athletes that play their sport at a collegiate level actually go on to play professionally. That is why while being given the opportunity to play a college sport is almost impossible to pass up, it is important that these athletes remember why they are at school.
    This is the most unfair to the students who dedicate their lives to doing well in school. I know people who do well in school, do not miss class, work, and are involved in extra-curricular activities, who do not get as much credit as student athletes do. This issue became prevalent back in high school when the football team would receive privileges and leniency from teachers when it came to homework and test grades. I have been a competitive dancer for 15 years, and with practices 5 days a week, 4-6 hours a day, 11 months out of the year, being able to do well in school and stay dedicated to my teammates was not an easy task. Being that I danced outside of school, I not once received special privileges, despite how swamped I was with all of my work. However, I never expected to be treated differently because of my circumstances. Because I had a hobby outside of school, my time management skills have improved incredibly over the years. That is why in college, even though competitive dance is not a part of my life anymore, I am able to participate in many other things without it conflicting with my grades.
    The case of the UNC Chapel Hill athletes is one of many that demonstrates the favoritism of these students. The statistics in this case are truly baffling. 60% of basketball and football players were at-risk academically, and had fourth to eighth grade reading levels. About 10% had reading levels below third grade. More than 20% of the academically at risk students had GPA’s under a 2.0. Despite these unacceptable grades, the UNC paper class system was assisting these student athletes to stay on the field. Being a part of a social sorority, we are held to a high standard. If at any point our grades drop below a certain point, we are given consequences due to our actions, rightfully so. I believe that if students involved in Greek life are held to this standard, as we should be, there is absolutely no reason that it should not be the same for student athletes.
    As I stated earlier, I appreciate how difficult it can be to balance a sport and school at the same time. I also understand that bad semesters happen to everyone. However, the fact that there are rarely any consequences given to these student athletes because it may risk the reputation of the sports title of the school is baffling. I think that all students should be treated equally, especially when it comes to academics.

  36. Matt Resende September 29, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    In light of the recent developments in the latest college basketball scandal revolving around schools and sponsors paying athletes, this article just goes to show that a school will do anything for their sports programs, and have been for some time. Colleges with top end Division I programs need their top sports like basketball and football to perform well. These sports bring money into the school in the form of apparel sponsorships and students. In this case, North Carolina created fake classes to get their less educated athletes eligible to participate in their respective sports. The problems this creates are obvious. For starters, it is ethically wrong of an institution to fabricate grades for any student. Doing it for only a few students for the benefit of the school is even worse. It is particularly unfair for the students who were accepted to North Carolina based on their grades and characteristics and have to pay to attend the school. Most athletes at top end schools are going for free because of their talents on the court or field. Secondly, the school is not only cheating itself, but cheating the student athletes of a quality education. Not every athlete will cash out at the next level professionally and will have to turn to their studied field. Students who were handed grades are being hurt more than helped in the long run.

    The most recent college basketball scandal will most likely turn out to be the most damaging to hit the sport in a long time, maybe ever. Initial reports that are just surfacing state that a student’s family received $100,000 from Adidas to attend Louisville, an Adidas sponsored school, under the notion that the student would sign with Adidas upon entering the NBA. The difference between the two cases is that Louisville was paying student athletes to attend their university while North Carolina was helping students already at the school and not helping them monetarily. The most recent case, however, reaches much farther into legal ramifications than the North Carolina case. As of September 27, four coaches and an Adidas representative have been arrested under wire fraud and bribery allegations. Basketball scandals like this and North Carolina have happened for as long as college basketball has been played. Although it happens at all levels, the top schools are always hit hard with penalties.

    This level of cheating in college sports reaches farther than just paying players or creating fake classes. There is a serious problem in the college sports environment with how the athletes are treated and handled. Rather than paying them a small amount each month so they do not have to go out searching for ways to make money, the NCAA still gives them nothing. It is all a business and schools will do anything to make money at the end of the day.

  37. Steven Merrill November 3, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    This article talks about the idea of how the University of North Carolina had a fake class’s scandal to help their Student Athletes “Pass Class” so they would be able to compete in their respective games for respective sports. It states that over a nine year period this professor found that 183 athletes were “at risk” and might be able to play. Some kids had GPA’s that would make them Ineligible to play. While others had GPA’s that were very close to this standard but barely were able to play. These kids were able to play because of a bogus “paper class system” which had been obsolete for a long period of time. In the end the professors and a dean were tried for defaming the university.

    This happens more often than probably many of us will ever believe. Student athletes bring revenue to the big universities and it is vital that these kids are on the field the days of their games. It is not very surprising that the two main sports involved with this were football and basketball. Both of these sports take up a large portion of the academic season coupled with a grueling practice and travel schedule, it is hard to keep up ones grades. With all of these troubles, it is easy to see why changing of grades is possible.

    This isn’t surprising to me at all. Schools want the money and they will do whatever it takes to get it. They will turn a blind eye on this to make sure the school does not know what is going on. Also, many of these kids will at some point may want to become a pro athlete so in general they are not concerned about their grades, their concerned about how much they will make in their future. Overall, scandals like this will continue to happen because the schools need these athletes to perform on their biggest stage no matter the cost.

  38. Chris O'Handley November 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    This article really surprised me. When I first heard about this scandal involving UNC student athletes regarding their academics, I did not think much of it. In the NCAA, stories like this are brought up all the time and even though most of them tend to be true, it is rare to see any major university really experience any severe consequences. The NCAA has an insane amount of rules for student athletes and still so many major universities break them everyday. Just recently, Louisville University basketball Head Coach Rick Pitino was fired after revelations were made about the way Louisville had recruited some of their players. Years before that, John Calipari and the University of Memphis were suspects of violations after reports had been made that star point guard Derrick Rose was academically ineligible. Apparently someone had taken the SAT for Rose in high school so that he would be eligible to enroll at Memphis. In his only season at the school, Rose led the tigers to 38-1 record, best in school history before losing in the national championship and moving onto the NBA. Soon after, the reports came out and Calipari resigned and Memphis was stripped of those 38 wins. And even before that, Reggie Bush was found guilty of receiving illegal gifts from his school the University of Southern California, and was stripped of his Heisman Trophy. As you can see, things like this unfortunately happen very often in all major college sports. Major Universities that make a ton of money off of their sports teams often cover up stories like these in order to ensure their teams continuing success and to ensure their steady income. For North Carolina, the fact that 85% of their student athletes cannot read at an eight grade level shocked me. I’ve always rooted for North Carolina’s basketball team and would have never thought this was the case. If this is true, and I do not see why it would not be, then I would advise a lot of those players to stop paying all of their attention to their sport and start trying to learn. A very small amount of college athletes make it to the professional level so if they do not have a backup plan they are in trouble. The University is not doing its players any favors by letting them coast through classes only to graduate and realize they haven’t learned anything. Even worse, when confronted about those grades, the dean fired Willingham in an effort to try to cover up the reports rather than make an effort to help teach the students how to read. They are more concerned about the monetary value of their student athletes than the students actual well being, This just goes to show how scandals like this will continue to happen and the corrupt NCAA can choose to either sweep it under the rug or actually do their job and enforce penalties, and every time they will just choose the one that makes them more money.

  39. Adis Hoti November 3, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    It is no secret that Universities have been very lenient with athletes struggles in the classroom. Often times athletes do not have sufficient enough grades to play, however, they somehow still do. It is not all that confusing on why these players are playing, it is because college sports are a business. Keeping these players from playing causes the school to suffer. The school performing poorly due to a star player being out results in less recruits wanting to come to that school. Holding players back from playing can create a poor effect on the school for years to come.
    With all that being said, I do not believe these players should be allowed to play if their grades are not sufficient. Most of thee players are 18-19 years old and are too immature to know that school is still very important. If you are receiving a scholarship it is important to take advantage of the free education. Making it to the professional level in sports is extremely difficult, and most players who play college sports and do not make the league end up doing nothing with their lives. The reason why is that these young adults believe that sports are everything and that they are going to make it at the professional level. It is extremely hard to receive a job after college without an education. School’s turning their shoulders to student-athletes poor grades is a injustice to the student. Students see that grades are not enforced so they do not see grades being a high importance.
    This article mainly highlights The University of North Carolina’s issues with student athletes having poor grades. Of the 183 academically at risk from 2004-12, eighty-five percent are either football players or basketball players. What does this tell us? That players on the important sports teams are being let off easy due to the importance winning has on the programs. Mary Willingham contacted the Dean in regards to 60 percent of athletes that she studied had a reading levels in the range of fourth to eighth grade. She also stated that about 10 percent of them had reading levels below third grade. Willingham added: “Of the 183 students, 45 (about 24 percent) had UNC GPAs under 2.0, thus putting them at risk of academic disqualification. Ninety-four of the 183 students, over half, had GPAs under 2.3.” UNC also had a bogus system which helped athletes maintain sustain their eligibility. This is unacceptable and wrong. The University of North Carolina is a prestigious University, one of the best in the nation. I understand that players are recruited due to their athletic ability, however, they should still be receiving a proper college education that will benefit their futures. These athletes with low reading levels are going to struggle in the future if this issue is not addressed. It is up to UNC and the staff to help improve these students’ education. With the help of the professors, these students can improve their reading levels and have a better future. School’s need to be more strict with current academic policies in place. Student need to learn, regardless of them being an athlete or not. It is up to the University to make sure that these athletes receive the education they deserve and need.

  40. Carley H January 25, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

    When this entire scandal involving The University of North Carolina went public, I was not surprised at all. These types of scandals are happening all throughout Division 1 College’s and Universities in the United States mainly because of athletics. It is sad that it is starting to become normal for these things to happen.
    Being that I am a Sports Management I understand that Basketball and Football teams at all schools gain the most attention and make the most money for that particular school. This is the case with The University of North Carolina as stated in the article. Since college athletics have turned into more of a business, each school wants to make the most money that they possibly can. This means that the best coaches need to be hired to coach a winning team as well as recruiting top talent in that sport. However, the problem arises that most “student athletes” are really just athletes because they are only focusing on that specific sport that they want to purse.
    Since colleges remind coaches that they want to make the most revenue as they can, coaches feel pressured to recruit the top class every year. Most of the time great talent does not come with great athletics and this is overlooked so frequently by college coaches because all they care about is winning. I understand that college athletics, especially Division 1 is very competitive, but isn’t the whole point of going to college to get an education?
    This is the problem today with college athletics. Coaches want the top kids and overlook academics because of their talent and because of this they set a bad example to younger high school athletes that it is okay to slack off in school if they are very good at the sport that they play. Athletes are starting to go to big Division 1 schools just to play a sport such as basketball or football, not to get an education. No one really thinks about the percentage of college athletes that go on to the pros because it is very low. So if college athletes are not getting the best education that they possibly can and do not make it to the pros, then what?
    I grew up on Long Island, a powerhouse for lacrosse players. Throughout my time in high school I have witnessed college lacrosse recruiting second hand. Many kids are committing to these big Division 1 schools such as The University of Maryland, The University of North Carolina, Duke University and so on. These kids had no idea what they wanted to study when they went to college and were committing to these schools as early as freshman year. There is so much hype with college athletics that students are only committing to a school because of the wonderful athletic program that they have not because of an academic program. Overall, committing to a school for the wrong reason. It is sad but true this seems to be happening with just about every sport and seems to be normal.
    Now going back at the scandal that went on at The University of North Carolina, I am sure that they are not the only school that has had fake classes. What had really bothered me about this entire scandal was that so many people, especially educators, knew about it and kept encouraging it to happen. If a football or basketball player has a reading level equivalent to elementary students how are they even taking the SAT to get into college let alone how do these coaches thing they are going to do in college level classes? Why are they even going to college, wait I forgot to play a sport.
    The university had created phony classes within the Black Studies Department with classes that were “paper classes” which students had to write a 20 page paper for the entire course and that was it. First of all how did no one raise any questions about numerous football and basketball players, who were known for not having the best GPA’s, for them to be majoring in Black Studies? Secondly just like it was mentioned in the article, if these students were reading at an elementary level how in the world could they obtain an A or a B on a 20 page paper for a college class?
    I understand that some people are not the smartest or do not get things easily and that is just the way they are. The problem that I have is when people do not take education seriously. College is not for everyone, but if there are athletes getting scholarships to Division 1 schools they need to be taking education seriously or they just do not belong. College coaches should not be recruiting players just for their athletic talent, but also their academic talent. This is where colleges need to take a step back and rethink the “norms” that they have created.

  41. Steven Cangelosi March 9, 2018 at 7:02 pm #

    NCAA sports and its student athletes have always been a topic of discussion for many years in the sports world. In the article “In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes—and Whistle-Blower” by Paul M. Barrett talk about a scandal so big that it put many universities under question. The article talks about a study of 183 athletes at the University of North Carolina which eighty five percent of them were basketball and football players. Many of these students had difficulty reading at a fourth to eighth grade level while some even struggled at a second grade level. Over half of the students had under a 2.3 GPA and some students had under a 2.0. All of this is happening while UNC is giving out bogus classes that help the students so they can achieve a higher grade to boost their GPA keeping them eligible to compete at the NCAA level. When this information was presented to the university the university stood behind its programs and its students calling the study slanderous and dismissing the information completely. This study was to show the disservice that the university is doing for its student athletes all for money.
    Unfortunately college sports are a big business and from the rumors of what certain colleges do in order to get the best athletes, the universities are willing to look the other way when it comes to academic requirements or help the student boost their GPA by creating classes that are easy for them so they cannot fail. This should could to no surprise that people were outraged when finding out what happened. In all honesty I do not have a problem with it one bit. College students are willing to do whatever it takes to compete at that level in order to get a chance to play professionally. I don’t think it hurts anyone when the student has that understanding that the chances of playing a sport professionally are very small and that this day and age that in order to get a stable career you need a degree. I think that if student athletes understand this and have the proper guidance they will start to focus more on academics than their sport. At the same time saying that the universities are making some much money and putting so much pressure on the student athletes with a highly regimented and full schedule of work outs and practice that many of these students are forced to take classes that they are not really interested in giving them a useless degree when they leave. I have some friends that played NCAA football at a big school for a little before realizing they needed to quit in order to focus on school because they figured out you can’t play a sport forever and you need a way to support yourself and one day a family. I am not a fan the way the NCAA puts short term profits over the student athlete and their long term goals whatever they may be.

  42. Zach Towlen September 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm #

    The sports industry has a multitude of issues haunting everyone involved right now. At the top of the list is this argument over collegiate student athletes and if they should get paid. They are going to these schools to play their sport and get an education at the same time. In their schedules, they are required to go to their practices, travel around the country for games and keep good grades in their courses. I applaud all student athletes for being able to manage their time in their schedules because I can barely do so without being a student athlete. Looking into this study that was conducted on UNC athletes, it really makes you think about the legitimacy of what is really going on in college athletics. From 2004 until 2012, 183 athletes were at risk academically. Another mind-blowing stat provided by the article is that 60% of the 183 athletes had a reading level in between fourth and eighth grade. I could not believe my eyes reading that and makes me think that this is most likely the case around the country in college institutions.

    Let’s focus in on reality though, most of these athletes are being recruited to the schools based on their ability to play a sport. They are not going to college like you and me are, to get a degree. They are there to play a sport and make the college money. These bigger schools that have the money will give the athletes full ride scholarships to these schools as well. From a marketing point of view, athletics for a college is its bread and butter. If you no nothing about colleges and what types of majors they offer, you most certainly know that Alabama has the best football team in the country and that Michael Jordan played at the University of North Carolina. The march madness tournament is a prime way for a college to market themselves if they get a little publicity. Last year, UMBC defeated Virginia in the biggest upset in the history of the tournament. Before it, you wouldn’t have known that college existed, now you know who they are and what they did. This is why sports are so indispensable for colleges because they create free marketing. The only cost to the school is letting them come there without paying a penny.

    The NCAA needs to step in and realize that this is occurring. Collegiate athletes should be getting paid for what they are doing. There should be an option when an athlete gets recruited to a school where they can either just play and make a salary for making the university money or play while earning a degree. Instead of the college putting forward all of this financial aid in the form of a sports scholarship for people who do not try in their academic work, hire them as full-time athletes. On the other hand, they can still be offered a scholarship to the school to earn a degree while not getting paid. In the long run, all athletes have one goal in mind at this level and that is to make it pro.

  43. Griffin Clark November 6, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    The “fake classes” scandal at UNC is one of many scandals that have surrounded the NCAA and their “big money” sports, which are football and men’s basketball. We are not sure if the exact situation that happened at UNC is happening at other schools, but there is no doubt that many schools around the country put athletics ahead of academics and make life easier for their student-athletes in any way they can. From relaxed admissions standards for athletes, to giving them extra help with their classes, there are countless things administrations will do to make sure their athletic programs are successful and bringing money into the school. At UNC, they took it to the extreme, with over two decades of providing student-athletes with “fake classes” where they only need to submit a paper to get a high grade. These classes wouldn’t even have a professor and wouldn’t even meet. This is unbelievable, especially for a university like UNC, who is respected academically and known for having a great athletic program. To let student-athletes get by without even putting in any effort by taking a “fake class”, it is an insult to the other students and student-athletes at the university who are passing their classes normally, and it is an insult to other schools around the country who are following the rules.

    What is even worse about the situation, is what happened to Mary Willingham. She found out about what was happening at UNC, and blew the whistle on it. She did the ethical thing, she stopped something that was clearly wrong, and she was treated terribly for it. UNC instantly tried to cover up the situation and tried to discredit Willingham and ruin her reputation. Willingham did what was right and her employer treated her like dirt, simply because if the truth got out, their athletic program would be hurt. This shows how far schools are willing to go to make sure their athletic programs remain successful and they get their money as a result. This scandal could cause the NCAA to take a serious look at schools’ dealings when it comes to their athletes and academics. It will also cause the NCAA, as well as the public to look at the structure of college sports in general. It is an industry that generates millions of dollars, money that schools like UNC are willing to break the law for and the student-athletes who are making the money for the universities are getting none of it. The UNC scandal is an example of what is wrong with college athletics and changes need to be made.

  44. Marquis C February 15, 2019 at 10:26 pm #

    This article brings to light an important situation that is going on at many colleges universities. Academic honesty in sports has been a major discussion for years now. I don’t believe every institute is doing what University of North Carolina did in creating fake classes. However, many universities put sports over education, just so they can succeed and win more. When I was reading this article, I can’t say I was surprised that these type of things are happening over the country. Most of these athletes come to play and be a star, and then leave early to get drafted in their respective sport.
    I believe these colleges are doing these athletes wrong and it shows what people will do for money. UNC coaches are telling kids the ages from 18-22, that they don’t have to attend class and to focus on their respective sport. Coaches instill this idea in players’ heads that if they put their full focus on their sport, they will become the next big thing, while that is completely false. In the article NCAA states that less than 2% of college athletes go pro. This means most of these athletes will have to find real work and careers, but they’ll be set up for failure because they have a fake degree and no idea what to do.
    All together, these programs are failing their athletes. Regardless if they make it to the pros or not they should have a back up plan, because you can’t play sports forever. The NCAA should also be ashamed that they didn’t punish UNC after a professor who was apart of these fake classes admitted the truth. It’s simply that these UNC is a major source of income and NCAA can’t afford to lose them. We can only hope that something is done to these colleges and sports programs that are taking advantage of these kids.

  45. Jake B October 4, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    I remember this scandal coming out when I was a Freshman in High School who dreamed of playing college sports and thinking to myself “Is this what it’s going to be like?” 5 years later here I am and it is the polar opposite of what is talked about in the above post. Stuff like this is what takes away from the credit that student athletes deserve fort the daily grind that they go through in being a student-athlete. Unfortunately, there are always a few young superstars who find their way to slip through the cracks and rather than doing something about it, it’s looked over or pushed under the table because they have a chance to be the #1 pick next year.
    For the rest of us, who rely on getting a good degree for when our sports career, is over, it’s tough. It’s really tough, imagine having a workout and 3 hours of class in one day? But that’s not one day thats from the time I wakeup until 11:15 AM. Follow that up with another afternoon class, treatment, early work before practice, practice, more treatment, and then homework. And would you look at that, I didn’t even mention a meal, because those are sometimes hard to fit into my schedule on certain days too.
    The top sports programs have it great in college sports, the best facilities, their own dining halls, but for the rest of us it’s hard, it’s really hard and these one or two examples of athletes taking fake classes ruins the reputation for the rest of us who are working on something all day.

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