The biggest question surrounding the so-called “paper class” scandal in the North Carolina athletic department is whether or not it will have an effect on the 2005 or 2009 national titles that the Tar Heels won.
Final Four appearance and trips to the national title game have been erased from the record books before, but to date, the NCAA has not had to vacate a national title in college basketball.
There’s already been speculation that the NCAA is going to have to bring the hammer down on UNC as a result of the findings released in the Wainstein Report. The defense that the NCAA is using in all the lawsuits that they are currently dealing with regarding amateurism and compensation for student-athletes is that these players are receiving an education in exchange for their athletic exploits, and that should be enough. UNC turned those classes and that education into a farce. The NCAA has to make an example out of them.
Things got worse this weekend, as Dan Kane — a report for the News & Observer who has been all over this story since 2011 — is reporting that the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title team had 35 credits worth of phony classes during the 2004-2005 school year. Nine of them were in the fall semester and 26 were in the spring, when North Carolina ran through the NCAA tournament.
According to the Wainstein Report, at least five players took as many as three bogus classes that spring. Rashad McCants has already admitted to taking a full course-load of fake classes, getting straights As and keeping himself eligible to play after a poor fall semester. And in 2010, Sean May said the following to the Indy Star:
That includes Sean May of the Sacramento Kings, the Bloomington prep star and son of former IU star Scott May. Sean May entered the NBA after three years in college, capped by an NCAA title in 2005. He graduated last summer.
May said he started as a double major with communications, but dropped it so he could graduate faster after leaving for the NBA.
Afro-American and African studies, May said, offered “more independent electives, independent study. I could take a lot of classes during the season. Communications, I had to be there in the actual classroom. We just made sure all the classes I had to take, I could take during the summer.”
On average, during the 18 years that the paper classes were being offered at UNC, the basketball team averaged 20 enrollments per year.