On Friday, the NCAA made public its investigation into the long-running academic fraud scandal at North Carolina. The University suffered no major penalties; as the infractions panel could not conclude violations in the UNC case.
David Glenn addressed why the ruling came down like this on The David Glenn Show later on Friday.
“In the history of the NCAA, they have never based any sanctions on the concept that classes or a teacher or a department were not hard enough or were too dysfunctional. Never. Not one time. Now, if you got grades or credit for no work as an athlete, they have punished that. If you got grades or credits when others did the work for you as an athlete, they have punished that at the NCAA level.”
“Today’s conclusion is that they actually put PR on the back burner. They know they’re going to be belittled as a toothless, powerless, ridiculously incompetent organization. They know that. They’re going to take that PR hit but they admitted that their bylaws were not good fits for the horrible, disgraceful, embarrassing things that went wrong in the AFAM department at UNC.”
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If you would like to read the full transcript of David Glenn’s segment on the NCAA case involving UNC, check below.
The NCAA cannot say what happened in your AFAM scandal smells so bad and is so disgraceful in terms of our ideals of student-athlete, and the ideals of mixing in a healthy way academics and athletics. You can’t say, generally speaking, “It looks and smells and sounds so bad. You’re punished.” The NCAA must point to specific bylaws. If you don’t understand that, you’ll never have an intelligent opinion about this particular case.
Number two: The thing that you must understand. In the history of the NCAA, they have never based any sanctions on the concept that classes or a teacher or a department were not hard enough or were too dysfunctional. Never. Not one time. Now, if you got grades or credit for no work as an athlete, they have punished that. If you got grades or credits when others did the work for you as an athlete, they have punished that at the NCAA level.
If you have a situation where you got grades or credits because the tutors or the professors gave you the answers to the test questions ahead of time and you benefited as an athlete or maybe stayed eligible because of it, yes, the NCAA has also penalized and sanctioned those kinds of academic fraud.
The NCAA has never based sanctions on the concept that any classes, any teacher, any major, any department was not hard enough, was not challenging enough, was too dysfunctional. They used the word “anomalous” a lot with the AFAM classes. They have never used that, ever, as the starting point for sanctions and penalties towards an NCAA member school.
Every UNC athlete handed something in on his or her own. Every one of them. Now, it might have been a pathetically bad paper and it might have been graded by a secretary and it might have been in a class that was advertised as a lecture class and you ended up only having to not … You’re never going to class but just handing in a paper at the end.
The NCAA could not get over the hump that it had never punished any school under those circumstances simply because these classes were that easy, that dysfunctional, that anomalous, that irregular. Throw in whatever adjective you want. That’s the second thing you must understand to have an intelligent opinion about this stuff.
Finally, I’ve been telling you for four years. I feel like Jay Bilas of ESPN, who is an attorney. I, who practiced law for 17 years and have covered NCAA compliance issues for 30 years, and I don’t think we’ll get to fill both hands. There may be eight others, but I doubt it. Those of us with legal backgrounds have been saying over and over and over — the NCAA is either going to care more about public relations and optics and marketing type concepts, or they’re going to care more about whether their rules are a good fit for what went wrong at UNC.
Today’s conclusion is that they actually put PR on the back burner. They know they’re going to be belittled as a toothless, powerless, ridiculously incompetent organization. They know that. They’re going to take that PR hit but they admitted that their bylaws were not good fits for the horrible, disgraceful, embarrassing things that went wrong in the AFAM department at UNC.
One note. When I saw the makeup of the committee on infractions, the people who behind closed doors for the last eight weeks after the face-to-face meeting with the Tar Heels in Tennessee, where Carolina and it’s attorneys made their case. The NCAA compliance folks and enforcement staff made their case.
It’s kind of like the defense attorney and the attorney general making their case as you try to convict somebody in a criminal setting. There’s a jury watching. Well, the jury, in this case, is the NCAA Committee on Infractions. When I saw that three of the six committee members were actively involved in law at this stage of their careers, I began to believe that this conclusion was more likely.
Half of this committee consisted of a former football coach, a conference commissioner, Greg Sankey of the SEC, and a university president. If the entire committee was made up of a football coach, a commissioner and a university president, this could have gone the public relations way. This could have been like Penn State, where the NCAA tried to stretch its rules to fit something that it didn’t really fit, a criminal justice matter.
They punished the Nittany Lions but then they had to backtrack when they were sued and it was pointed out that their roles were not a great fit for the Jerry Sandusky details. Half of the Committee on Infractions not only have legal backgrounds, but work in the legal world, as we speak. One is an academic, or two, are actually in academia, and one is in private practice, but that’s half the committee.
The people who had to determine are these bylaws are good fit for what went wrong at UNC. Half the committee was looking through the eyes of attorneys, and when you do it that way, this conclusion became infinitely more predictable in a way that Jay Bilas and I have been trying to explain, often falling upon deaf ears, over the last several years.
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