This morning, a University of North Carolina press release came out saying that the NCAA found no violations in the investigation of the schools Afro-American studies program where it has been said that athletes took classes that did not actually occur. While an investigation into North Carolina's academics is still going on, this resolution determines that no new charges will be added to the case already in front of the Infractions Committee.
Before I write, let's take a look at what some national columnists think:
So UNC has years of documented, institutionalized academic fraud and no NCAA rules were broken? Got it.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 31, 2012
"The NCAA concludes ... " c'mon, whatever it wants to conclude.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) August 31, 2012
Long story short on NCAA's "conclusion." UNC, unlike Penn St, didn't make the evening news.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 31, 2012
So feel free, schools of America, to make up fake classes and let your athletes take them. As long as you nail that APR score!— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 31, 2012
We all know that the NCAA is a joke and that Mark Emmert wouldn't know academic success if it came up and slapped him across the face. Let's move on from that for right now, though.
By ignoring the insurmountable evidence stacked up against North Carolina, the NCAA has opened the door for documented, institutionalized, academic fraud to be OK. They have said that an education which is a farce is still an education. They have made it much easier for schools to allow players to skate by and deny athletes a chance at learning. In the view of the student-athlete, this ruling does more damage and is more unfair that any punishment (and in this case, non-punishment) before, including the one here at Penn State.
As Devon said on Twitter earlier today, "Remember when Emmert said that the Penn State sanctions would help foster a culture where academics are more important than football?" I'm sure we all do. It's what I was hoping for. And it can still happen with the investigation into the Tar Heels still ongoing. But to punish those outside the width of your by-laws while turning a blind eye to violations that can't even be covered up is disturbing. And to allow one of the premier institutions of learning in this nation get away with it degrades higher education as a whole.
The mission of the NCAA is to make sure the integrity of academics is respected in the scope of athletics.
The NCAA has failed at their mission.