Academic dishonesty will test NCAA

The University at North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s mission statement reads, “With lux, libertas—light and liberty—as its founding principles, the University has charted a bold course of leading change to improve society and to help solve the world’s greatest problems.” The university itself has now charted a bold course to disaster, as it is under serious investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for giving approximately 3,100 student-athletes easy As and Bs to keep up with the rigorous academic curriculum.

This is a catastrophe for the Tar Heels’ athletic program. With most of the bogus grades given to athletes in football and basketball programs, the university is in store for major sanctions from the NCAA. The NCAA has enough evidence against the school to administer a “level one” violation. This includes loss of scholarships, substantial fines, postseason bans and even a one-year suspension of head coaches. This is similar to what Pennsylvania State University received in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Should UNC be punished on the same level as Penn State? The NCAA is in an awkward situation––they can ruin the academic and athletic integrity of a top tier school that earns them over $80,000,000 a year in athletic revenue.

I believe the NCAA should punish UNC to the fullest extent. Although its actions weren’t nearly as heinous as the actions that took place at Penn State, North Carolina damaged its own integrity as an administration. Multiple faculty members not only had knowledge of what was going on, but took a major part ensuring that struggling student athletes got the grades that they needed to stay in Carolina blue.

If I were a student at UNC, I’d be filling out a transfer application right now. How dare a university with such prestige and academic integrity give out free passes to certain students, while also housing some of the brightest students in the world? With out-of-state tuition rates exceeding $50,000, North Carolina is robbing hardworking students of dollars they could be spending at schools that don’t view certain students superior enough to boost their grades.

The decision the NCAA comes up with will be a major reflection of the organization’s purpose as a whole. Being labeled as a monster entity that is more concerned with money than their students, the NCAA has an opportunity to show the world that they do not condone this kind of behavior. If it decides to not punish UNC to the fullest extent possible, then it will relay the message it has given off for years: profits before academic success and standards for student athletes.