First off I’m not an expert in any way shape or form when it comes to these types of things. I didn’t get into covering North Carolina athletics so that I could spend my time covering academic scandals but this has become the sad reality that surrounds the Tar Heels athletic programs.
We all know the background story so I won’t waste your time recanting it. Whether we wanted to admit it or not all UNC fans were worried, worried that this scandal in the AFAM department would bleed into the football program even more and dare I say the beloved basketball program. Nightmares of this thing becoming so big that it eventually took down banners in the Dean Dome, tainted what the great Dean Smith and our current head coach Roy Williams have built. Tarnishing what we proudly look at as a great program that is both a terrific example of what college athletics should be on and off the court.
Today the Martin Report came out and some very encouraging news came with it along with some sad confirmations of our reality. The Martin reports found the following:
This was not an athletic scandal. Sadly, it was clearly an academic scandal; but an isolated one,
within this one department.
The fact that this is not an athletic scandal is obviously terrific. But it may not be the best news, the following finding is what I found to be the most encouraging.
Within AFRI/AFAM, no other faculty member was involved unethically, other than former Chairman Nyang’oro and Administrator Crowder. Eight other professors were unwittingly and indirectly compromised in dozens of instances in which someone else signed their signatures to Grade Rolls and Grade Changes, without their knowledge or authorization to do so. Our evidence shows that no other AFRI/AFAM instructor was responsible for this wrongdoing.
The fact that this was limited to one department and only a couple of professors is something that I found hard to believe in previous reports and quite honestly I expected the worst in the Martin Report which makes the following finding yet another encouraging sign.
We found nothing that is inconsistent with the internal Hartlyn-Andrews Review. We found new or additional information, and a great deal more of the same information, from an earlier time. There was a mass of interesting information. We found “red flags” in other departments that aroused our curiosity, but found reasonable, acceptable explanations for those courses. After pursuing a large number of leads, we found no evidence to implicate other parties than those identified by the Hartlyn-Andrews Review.
While fans of the athletic programs can rejoice that these are great signs that we will not see banners ripped down and the programs we love so much look like they will go without being further tarnished this is yet another sad day. It is a sad day because it shows institutional failures by the University of North Carolina. I won’t spend much time discussing them because in my view they are obvious, two members of the faculty were able to cause this much trouble for a great deal of time and the University did not have a system in place to stop them dead in their tracks and that’s a problem.
The Martin Report is both reason for optimism and reason for scrutiny, who knows how long this thing will continue, who knows how many more reports will come out and how much longer we will have to hear about it let’s just not mistaken today as being great news and let’s hope that the University learns from this great mistake.
To view the Martin Report in it’s entirety click HERE.