More on the UNC fiasco and the FBI’s recruiting investigation

bell tower” by zach_mullen is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

I was planning to wait a while before talking some more about the UNC academic/athletic fiasco and the NCAA’s toothlessness, but articles just keep popping up that grab my attention:

  • UNC gave opposite stories to its accrediting agency and the NCAA
  • One of the head coaches implicated in the major FBI investigation was fired

10/20/17 – The News & Observer – How UNC changed its story-and lost its voice in college sports – Apparently UNC had a reputation of ethical behavior in its athletic programs before the current systemic academic & athletic fraud developed.  That reputation is now gone.

The current administration addressed the academic fraud with the accrediting agency and accepted responsibility. An internal investigation concluded the purpose of the fake courses was to keep athletes academically eligible for participation. The University drew a one year academic probation.

Article provides quotes saying that the University accepted responsibility, identified the courses as wrongdoing, admitting the courses were frauds, acknowledging the scheme was running for a long time, and agreed that more than two people were involved.

And then came the NCAA investigation…

UNC changed its story when dealing with the threat to their lucrative cash flow. When talking to the NCAA, the University said the courses were legitimate and did not violate any UNC policies.

Consider the following paragraph from page 18 of the NCAA report:

But given UNC’s early admissions, its implementation of corrective measures and its recent distancing of itself from the Cadwalader report, the panel concludes that it is more likely than not that student-athletes received fraudulent credit by the common understanding of what that term means. It is also more likely than not that UNC personnel used the courses to purposely obtain and maintain student-athletes’ eligibility. These strong possibilities, however, are not the operative or controlling starting points to the membership’s academic fraud analysis. What ultimately matters is what UNC says about the courses. In addition to rejecting its early admissions and distancing itself from the Cadwalader report in the infractions process, UNC took the firm position that the courses were permissible and UNC will continue to honor the grades. Despite the fact that the courses failed to meet, involved little, if any, faculty engagement, and were often graded by the secretary, UNC argued the courses violated no UNC policy. UNC further claimed that work was assigned, completed and graded, and the grades counted towards a UNC degree.

Let me rephrase a couple of key points in the paragraph:

  • Previously UNC admitted there was academic fraud.
  • UNC corrected those problems (which UNC implies to the NCAA weren’t actually problems, so we are left to conclude UNC agreed to correct problems that never actually existed).
  • The committee of infractions concluded it “is more likely than not” that fraudulent credit was awarded.
  • The committee of infractions concluded it “is more likely than not” that the purpose of the fake classes was to keep ineligible students eligible to play.
  • UNC now says those classes were legitimate.

The COI’s conclusion is that since UNC now claims the classes were perfectly fine there is no violation of NCAA rules. Oh, another reason it is all good is because non-athlete students participated in the fraud. That makes the admitted fraud okay.

The News & Observer article explains UNC has forfeited its credibility and will have no voice in the soon to develop discussion on recruiting violations now that the FBI has been looking at the issue.

10/16/17 – Courier-Journal – Rick Pitino fired by University of Louisville athletics board amid recruiting scandal – The head coach of the Louisville basketball team was fired for cause.

The ‘for cause’ part means he won’t see any of the remaining $44M due on this contract, which runs through 2026. Oh, since that is another 9 1/2 years, that means he is paid a whopping $4.6 million a year for coaching a men’s basketball team. Article says his contract is for $7.6M a year, which includes an Adidas contract and a bonus for retention.

The coach was not explicitly named in the recent round of indictments, but many reporters have speculated he is the ‘coach 2’ mentioned in the indictments. Article says Justice Department sources have confirmed he is in fact ‘coach 2’, suggesting he many soon be indicted.

One of 8 reasons he was fired include his running an ‘escort service’ for players. Maybe it was potential recruits, I don’t know. Let me translate that: he was providing hookers for players. (This may be the hooker issue to be mentioned in my next post, but I really, really don’t want to know any more details.)

The NCAA actually found some rule that was violated by providing hookers. By the official NCAA standards, that presumably means the coach was not making those, um, services available for the general student population. Consequences included surrendering the 2013 championship title, repaying a portion of tournament revenues for 2012 through 2015, and vacating a whopping 123 wins.

Of note is his contract was not terminated after the escort service fiasco.

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