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UNC-Chapel Hill And NCAA At Odds Over Academic Fraud Investigation

An image of UNC's Old Well
Wikipedia Creative Commons

The NCAA and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are at loggerheads over the ongoing investigation into academic fraud at the university. Recent correspondence between the two organizations, obtained by the News and Observer, shows the sports association no longer considers the university a partner in the investigation into fake classes targeted at student athletes.

News and Observer investigative reporter Dan Kane broke the story of fake classes. Kane, who has reported on the institution for more than five years, explained that both UNC and the NCAA have accused the other party of not being cooperative on The State of Things.

“[The NCAA] felt UNC didn't uphold its end of the bargain in terms of what a joint investigation should be," Kane said.

UNC accuses the NCAA of dragging their feet. Kane explained the next stage in the investigation process will be a hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Jay Smith spoke out against the University’s reaction to the fraud scandal. He authored a book on the subject and is currently teaching a sports history class that delves into the interplay between academics and college sports at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Smith said he wants undergraduates to think critically about the UNC-NCAA academic scandal and to learn more about the pressures on student athletes.

"They are vulnerable to all forms of abuse," Smith said of the treatment of high-level student athletes by universities across the US.

Kane and Smith say there may be alternatives to the current model of college athletics.

“There have been a lot of proposals, and just about all of them involved major change,”  Kane said.

No matter the new administrative and financial model for college athletics, Smith argues the focus needs to be on student-athletes themselves.

“They don’t have a seat at the table. They have no say in setting the terms in which they perform their athletic feats,” Smith said. “As a result of that, they’re [at] the mercy of their coaches who run this professional commercial enterprise, and who are pressured to win at all costs.”

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Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.