Does the UNC academic scandal bleed into the hoops side?


The scandal that has been uncovered involving the North Carolina football team has been ugly for a number of reasons.

It was, more or less, the triple crown of violations.

Players were receiving impermissible benefits and having lavish trips paid for; an assistant coach was a runner for an NFL agent; and, of course, there was the requisite academic fraud.

And it was more than just simple fraud in the tutoring department, as the Tar Heels have had a major scandal uncovered that has already cost a university department head his job.

The question that interests us involves the potential that the scandal stretched into the hoops side. UNC is undoubtedly a basketball school, and if a basketball school has that much cheating going on with the football team, what are the chances that the hoops team was involved as well? From the News & Observer:

UNC-CH men’s basketball coach Roy Williams said Thursday that the academic fraud case is not a basketball issue. “I’m worried about it from a university issue, but not from a basketball issue,” he said.

Some have cited the low percentage of basketball players enrolling in the 54 classes that university officials say showed little or no instruction. Three percent, or 23 enrollments, does seem small. But it doesn’t take many athletes to field a basketball team – five on the floor plus several backups. If Williams fielded a new team each of the four years of the period under review, 23 enrollments could equal one in three players taking a suspect class.

Furthermore, the records show that in two cases a basketball player was the sole enrollee in a class. In another, a basketball player was one of two enrollees. Two of those three classes were Swahili language courses, and are among nine classes in which officials can’t identify who created them and provided some kind of assignment.

Put another way, here are two language classes in which students would be expected to develop their speaking skills that never met. And they had no more than two students enrolled. How were they expected to practice speaking the language?

It is all speculative at this point, but it makes you wonder: is there more to this investigation on the hoops side than we know about?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.