NYT on TGU: Nothing New …BUT

    New York Times
    BobLee
    February13/ 2016

    The Old Gray Lady – The New York Times – like that old gray mare, ain’t what she used to be…. BUT.

    If you are a vain-glorious, terminally self-indulgent institution that STILL can’t pass a mirror without admiring itself…. you probably DO NOT want to be the subject of a New York Times’ article containing the words – UNC and Scandal  Too bad, caused that’s what happened yesterday. …. Some NYT ink-stained scribe named Joe Nocera did a rehash of the 5 W’s of The Great Unpleasantness. UNC Scandal

    I didn’t see anything in his article that every ABCer hasn’t memorized…. and every TCW-oholic TruBlue has tried to exorcise from his/her memory.   He does make a connection to DEAN SMITH…. as in implying “how could HE have NOT known?” which is enough to ruin My Buddy’s Art day fer sure.

    Larry Fedora and Ol’ Roy’s recent dismissives of “there’s nothing to it any more…. so move along you people” are, of course, quite incorrect.

    There IS Something Left To Do …. The NCAA has yet to pass a Final Judgment on the whole steaming pile o’ crap.   That might come “this Spring” or it may be delivered by a 5th Horseman of The Apocalypse on That Great Getting’ Up Morning.  Who the heck knows?

    As with those blind men and the elephant…. everyone will “see” what they want to see in this article.   He was …. too tough on Dean …. not tough enough on Dean …. too tough on UNC …. not tough enough on UNC. …. blah blah yadda yadda.

    The undeniable absolute is that a major national newspaper wrote ANOTHER lengthy article about The UNC Scandal.

    For TruBlues, I’m pretty sure very very very few semi-literate 17 y/os read The New York Times.  I’d bet not a single one.  I’d bet Ol’ Roy doesn’t either.

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/13/sports/ncaabasketball/dean-smiths-shadow-looms-over-unc-as-it-struggles-with-a-scandals-fallout.html?_r=0

    Dean Smith’s Shadow Looms Over U.N.C. as It Struggles With a Scandal’s Fallout

    Sports Business
    By JOE NOCERA ..FEB. 12, 2016

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — I hadn’t realized when I came here this week that Sunday marked the first anniversary of Dean Smith’s death. But I was quickly reminded; the front page of the University of North Carolina student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, featured a photograph of Smith, the legendary former U.N.C. men’s basketball coach, along with an article that was less about his 879 wins and two national championships than about “the lives he touched and the impact he left.”

    I had come to Chapel Hill because I wanted to understand the effect of the terrible “paper class” scandal on the larger university community: the faculty, the alumni, the administration and others who care about what is undoubtedly one of the finest public universities in the country. What I wound up discovering is that there are two shadows hanging over U.N.C. One is the long shadow of the scandal. The other is the even longer shadow of Dean Smith.

    If you follow college sports, you probably know about the paper class scandal, but, just in case, here’s a recap: In 2011, an academic counselor named Mary Willingham began telling Dan Kane, an investigative reporter with The News & Observer in Raleigh, that North Carolina athletes were being steered to sham independent studies classes that never met. Students were required only to turn in a paper that did not even have to be literate. The paper classes went back as far as the 1990s. The grades the athletes were given were always high enough to ensure they were eligible to play.

    The “paper class” scandal at North Carolina has had a big impact on the entire university community.

    Incredibly, given that most of these athletes were black, the fraud was being run out of what is now called the Department of African, African-American and Diaspora Studies. The two people orchestrating the fake classes were Julius Nyang’oro, the department head, and Deborah Crowder, the longtime department administrator. (oops, Joe you forgot Burgess McSwain)

    Although the university initially claimed that the scandal had nothing to do with athletics, that was untrue. Kenneth L. Wainstein, a prominent lawyer, issued an authoritative report in October 2014 that noted that nearly half the students in the paper classes were athletes, “even though student-athletes make up just over 4 percent” of the student body. When they were interviewed by Wainstein’s investigators, Nyang’oro and Crowder said that their motivation was to help struggling students, especially “that subset of student-athletes who came to campus without adequate academic preparation.”

    Try as it might, the university has been unable to put the scandal behind it. In 2012, Willingham, who had been an unnamed source for Kane, went public, which resulted in her vilification in Chapel Hill by the university provost, James W. Dean Jr., and her departure from the university. (Willingham now works as an adjunct at a local community college, six years short of qualifying for a state pension.) The university was placed on probation by its accreditation board — a humiliating blow.

    Carol Folt, a former Dartmouth (WOW!) provost, became the university chancellor in 2013 and launched a wholesale reform effort. The 70 reforms include severely restricting how many independent studies courses any one professor can teach and the creation of an “audit trail” if a professor changes a student’s grade. Recently, Folt announced that the university would hire a chief integrity officer.

    Nyang’oro was briefly indicted. (It was dropped when he agreed to cooperate with Wainstein.) Others in the department lost their jobs, though mostly low-level employees who appear to be scapegoats. The academic counseling staff was overhauled. Jan Boxill, the faculty chair — and the director, believe it or not, of the Parr Center for Ethics — saw her reputation destroyed when her emails revealed that she had been an active participant in the scandal.

    Michael Hausfeld, the lawyer who brought the O’Bannon case against the N.C.A.A., filed a lawsuit against North Carolina (and the N.C.A.A.) charging that athletes had been deprived of the one thing they are promised in return for their labors: a real education.

    Kenneth L. Wainstein, left, led an inquiry into academic irregularities at North Carolina and addressed the news media in 2014. Listening were, from second to left, Thomas W. Ross, the university president; Carol Folt, the university chancellor; and Bubba Cunningham, the athletic director.

    Last fall, the university, responding to public records requests, released several hundred thousand pages of emails that had comprised some of the evidence for the Wainstein report. A Twitter user named Ted Tatos — his Twitter handle is @BlueDevilicious, and yes, he went to Duke — began poring though the emails, tweeting out the most egregious ones on practically a daily basis. He has recently been focusing on the improbably high number of diagnoses of learning disabilities among North Carolina athletes — allowing them to receive special accommodations. Hundreds of thousands of additional emails have yet to be released, meaning that the drip-drip-drip of embarrassing disclosures is far from over.

    And then there’s the N.C.A.A. Last summer, the association issued a lengthy notice of allegations, which included the dreaded “loss of institutional control.” Days before the deadline for North Carolina to respond, the university told the N.C.A.A. that it had found evidence of additional wrongdoing. The N.C.A.A. is said to be preparing a new set of allegations, which it has yet to deliver. Serious sanctions seem inevitable. Several members of the women’s basketball team have transferred, including its leading scorer, Allisha Gray. “It has hurt recruiting,” acknowledged Bubba Cunningham, the athletic director, who took the post just before the paper class scandal broke, and has spent much of his tenure involved in the reform effort.

    What does Dean Smith have to do with any of this? Nothing — and everything.  Although Smith retired in 1997, four years after the paper classes began, rare is the person in North Carolina who thinks he knew about them, or that he would have looked the other way if he had. (???) Smith was widely admired for his integrity and for the way he cared about his players, taking an interest in them as human beings, not just as basketball players, and pushing them to graduate and better their lives. Smith coined the phrase “The Carolina Way.” It stood for the idea that the University of North Carolina was a place where athletic excellence and academic excellence could exist side by side — and where the former did not necessarily corrupt the latter.

    The paper class scandal has shattered that illusion. (Uh Oh!) On the one hand, younger alumni and current students view the scandal as “more an irritant than a source of shame,” Dylan Howlett, a former sportswriter for The Daily Tar Heel, told me. It also wasn’t all that big a shock. “Our generation grew up in a celebrity-oriented sports culture where winning trumps all,” he said. There is also a substantial percentage of the faculty that believes the problems revealed by Willingham’s whistle-blowing — which they deeply resent — have been adequately dealt with by the Folt administration. They just want the whole thing to go away.

    But there is another, smaller group of faculty members, along with a large number of older alumni, people who were around during the Dean Smith era, who harbor a tremendous feeling of betrayal, a deep hurt that Smith’s Carolina Way devolved into a fraud. Let’s be honest: There are many big-time sports colleges where athletes are given a pass academically — and nobody cares. But Tar Heels fans always believed that North Carolina was better than that. Discovering that it wasn’t has hit them hard.

    “Dean Smith was a great man,” said Jonathan Yardley, the longtime book critic for The Washington Post. A 1961 graduate, Yardley received a distinguished alumni award in 1989. (He retired from The Post at the end of 2015.) “It’s pretty obvious now that he was an anomaly.”

    Yardley continued: “Chapel Hill always basked in a reputation for being a place where big-time athletics was more or less in its proper place.” Decrying the school’s huge athletic complex — it is planning to build an indoor practice facility for the football team that is likely to cost around $25 million — he said, “It’s not the place I knew.” He now roots for the Tar Heels to lose.

    Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, the chair of the anthropology department, also a Carolina graduate, told me that the sense of personal loss many people feel is so profound that they have difficulty even talking about it. He cited several instances in which alumni or professors, speaking in a public forum, veered into the scandal — and then just stopped talking, unable to articulate what they felt.

    “It’s as if there is no place to take the conversation,” he said. Some professors come to him now, wondering what they are supposed to do when athletes miss classes because of their travel requirements. How do they accommodate athletes while maintaining appropriate academic standards? “I have concerns for the welfare of the athletes,” Colloredo-Mansfeld said — that is, finding a way to ensure they get a real education despite the demands on their time, and the fact that more than a few are unprepared for college-level work.

    “Sports are the lifeblood of our relationships,” he added. “Our family relationships and our relationships on our campus. By harming sports, it is not as much fun to talk to your father about the football team.”

    Colloredo-Mansfeld told me that for all the reforms instituted by the administration, it has been unwilling to address the larger, tougher questions surrounding the relationship between academics and athletics. And he’s hardly the only one who feels that way.

    “We entice these players to entertain the public and enrich their coaches by performing a vast amount of arduous, dangerous and unpaid work, with the opportunity for free education and the distant chance to ‘go pro’ as their only compensation,” Harry Watson, a history professor, has written. “Then we set up conditions which make the ‘education’ either meaningless or nearly unattainable. To me, this situation is fundamentally immoral.”

    Jay M. Smith, who teaches European history — and last year wrote “Cheated,” a book about the scandal, with Willingham — has led a small group of faculty members seeking reforms that would address these larger issues. Every resolution he and his group have proposed has been shot down by the faculty council. He, too, has been dismayed that the paper class scandal has not led to a national conversation about how the needs of athletic departments corrupt academics — and how athletes can be better served by the institutions of higher learning they attend. “I naïvely believed that if enough attention were paid to the corruption, it would lead people to call for a change to the system,” he said. Instead, the system is treating the paper class scandal at North Carolina as a one-off. As it always does.

    “I knew Dean Smith quite well,” Kenneth S. Broun, a retired dean of the law school, told me in an email. “Dean would carefully advise his players who had an interest in professional or graduate school. He would frequently refer them to me (and to other friends around campus) for counseling as to what they needed to do to be able to make it outside the world of basketball.” He added, “Dean was an unusual guy, but it can be done.”

    Starting that national conversation might be the best way to honor Dean Smith’s legacy.

    ###

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    BobLee
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      2 years ago

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      • BobLee Reply
        2 years ago

        There are certain “intrusions” with annoying ads I refuse to subject my loyal audience to…

    • Mike Chandler Reply
      4 years ago

      But there is something new in Mr. Nocera’s column: This seems to be the first major media mention that there appear to have been shenanigans with Learning Disability and ADHD diagnoses over there on the Hill. This mirrors the radio interview with Tydreke Powell some months ago. Seems like a disproportional number of student athletes were admitted to the “Public Ivy” and then subsequently diagnosed by UNC with learning disabilities or ADHD that had never been detected previously in 13 years of K-12 schooling.

      As a result, UNC athletes could have special accommodations, such as extended or unlimited testing times, tutors to take class notes for them and help them with coursework, etc. Think this helped them stay eligible with minimal effort?

      Worse, over-diagnosis of ADHD would allow the student athletes to be placed on Ritalin or Adderal, even if they really didnt need it. These drugs are essentially amphetamines and are banned from sports as performance enhancers. Yet, if you get a diagnosis, you can play with them in your system. If you are a school that has no ethical qualms and value wins over all else, you could see the attraction of giving your players this sort of boost, especially in sports like football, where speed and aggression are viewed as assets.

      Even better, such a scheme could easily be hidden behind FERPA, HIPAA, and medical / psychological confidentiality laws.

      If even close to true, this is many times worse than the other aspects of TGU.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        If the NCAA is willing to dismiss all the other piles and piles of solid evidence of a several decades-long “eligibility scam”, I doubt this new info involving ADHD is going to register. Is Ted Bundy or Timothy McVay “more guilty” due to # of victim?

        • Mike Chandler Reply
          4 years ago

          I get your point (cheating is cheating) but there seems to me to be a qualitative difference between running a system of bogus classes with fake grades etc. to keep athletes eligible and actually having “experts” (and presumably medical staff) conjure up exaggerated or fake Learning Disability / ADHD diagnoses and handing out unecessary medication.

          Giving student athletes good grades for classes that didn’t exist or for grossly deficient or plagiarized work is one thing; labeling them as learning disabled and encouraging them to get doped up is something else (even if the overall motive is the same…..just win, baby). Failing to offer student athletes on scholarship a real shot at getting a decent education is fraudulent and exploitative; putting their health at risk by giving them unneeded meds is unconscionable and possibly illegal.

          The academic parts of the scandal potentially invoke penalties from the NCAA and SACS; the LD / ADHD portions, if true, could pique the interest and attention of other entities ( medical and psychological boards, Department of Education, Department of Justice, etc.).

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            Wishful thinking. No indication that any of those agencies have any interest in getting involved. If Hillary Clinton can keep skating on all her “baggage” don’t hold much hope of UNC being held to answer for these. In a perfect world perhaps….

            • Mike Chandler
              4 years ago

              You are probably right. No one much seems to care.

              As Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

            • BobLee
              4 years ago

              I didn’t say that. I still believe a hammer of some significance WILL fall… but not to the degree many are hoping… but more than many others are hoping.

    • MattN Reply
      4 years ago

      How much Adderall exactly do you need to pass a fake class that never meets?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        I don’t know. Does anyone think Roy has a clue what Adderall is? Dickie, of course, has no “clue” about ANYTHING.

    • Bill-TheBlueDevil Reply
      4 years ago

      Interesting article. I wish Vegas would come out with two numbers to bet on regarding this historic ALI Shuffle by UNC. Set the total cost from Marvin’s tweet forward at 31 million and 1 to 2.5 to 1 odds that the men’s basketball and football programs receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist while Sylvia Hatchell and the women’s team get sent to a concentration camp in Siberia for ten years. I will take under 31 million and risk losing 250 on a c note if they do indeed hammer UNC. If UNC gets smoked you could see 35 million by the time the we are innocent UNC lawyers finish defending Dean’s honor.
      .
      The University would have been much better off to admit they created these classes to keep ineligible athletes on the field and take a modest punishment years ago. They would have saved a tremendous sum of money and the probation would have come and gone. What have UNC athletics accomplished on the field of play the last 5 years? Nothing that probation would have damaged.
      Bill- Duke ‘77

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Now Bill …. 11-3 in FB was pretty good! …. But your point IS valid EXCEPT…. No ABCer can fully appreciate how critical The Carolina Way has been to its disciples over the past 50+ years. It is the egotistical Oxygen needs to sustain Life. It cannot be forsaken any more than one could cut off both opposable thumbs.
        .
        For sure WBB will be pummeled into unrecognizable goo…. but I think MBB gets more than “a wrist slap” and ORW’s head will explode when he gets hammered….

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      That moment when one vain-glorious institution publishes an account about another one. Tis true that animals will eat their own when faced with desperate circumstances.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Indeed!

    • Dick Gray Reply
      4 years ago

      I have read a story about Lincoln (the topic was ambiguity – on purpose – in prose) who, when asked to write a letter of recommendation (that he felt compelled to write) for a young man Lincoln considered lazy, wrote something to the effect that the prospective employer “would be fortunate indeed to get the young man to work for him.”

      I wonder what Dean Broun, who still lives and works in the land of the kool aid drinkers, really meant when he wrote: “Dean was an unusual guy, but it can be done.”

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        The Cult of Dean will never die…. In our lifetime.

    • Porcophile Reply
      4 years ago

      Think how much worse this would be if South Building hadn’t spent those millions on public relations.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        The mind reels at that prospect ….. “Spin and obfuscation”. ?

        • DrVinnyboombatz Reply
          4 years ago

          The PR firm has contained this some as far as keeping it out of most of the in state media outlets. They cannot stop social media posts from getting to national journalists like Nocera. I heard that 60 Minutes actually has a copy of Cheated but a UNC alum at CBS was able to squash having TGU on the air.

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            The Mythical “UNC Mafia” that have been puppeteers of The Carolina Way for multi-decades. I think ESPN’s John Slipper (UNC’75) is the current “Don” of that Family.

            • Dr.Vinnyboombatz
              4 years ago

              Will anyone in their comments to the NY Times piece think to ask about Mr. Swofford’s role in the scandal?

            • BobLee
              4 years ago

              My reply to the on-going ABCer concerns re: Swoff is why don’t representatives of the thirteen other members of the ACC ever try to oust him as Commish ??? He serves at the pleasure of the member institutions and could be voted out at any time… but such concerns are never voiced by officials at NCSU, Duke, Clem, UVA, etc etc. Other than ABC fan complaints convinced of his “obvious” malevolence, NOTHING is ever said ???

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