The True Cost of Academic Fraud
Last night provided college basketball fans with one of the best moments in one of the best rivalries in all of sports. The Duke Blue Devils rallied from a 5 point deficit with under a minute to play to force overtime with their archrival North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor. When the dust settled on the game, Duke came out with a 2 point victory and will likely maintain their top 5 ranking in the country. While the game provided a high point in what has been a great basketball season so far, it also proves that college sports continues to move forward, despite the increasing number of academic scandals that have affected just about every major school in the country.
This topic is especially relevant to the UNC-Duke Rivalry, due to the current state of student-athletics at UNC. North Carolina is one of the top public universities in the world. Drawing students from around the world to study under world class professors. This commitment to excellence seems to have been pushed to the side to support the growing need to succeed in athletics at all costs. A number of North Carolina faculty members have been let go in the last few months for their part in steering Tar Heel athletics players to bogus classes, that boost G.PA.’s and make it easier for kids to spend time focusing on sports.
While the full breadth of the academic fraud committed by the University has yet to be (and may never be fully) revealed, what is certain, is that NCAA institutions make student athletes a promise when they offer them a scholarship to compete at the collegiate level. Student-Athletes are to obey certain rules, not profit from their likeness, and perform on the athletics field, in return for a University education that will benefit those athletes for the rest of their lives. While many will argue for compensating student athletes monetarily, at a minimum, Universities, and the NCAA, should be ensuring that those athletes receive the education that they were promised. By allowing, and allegedly mentoring, young student athletes to take classes that only stand to benefit the student’s G.P.A. and not their education, Universities have effectively tried to cheat their way to free labor from those student athletes. They are cheating not just at sports, but instead they are cheating 18, 19, 20 year old kids out of a future. While those students must shoulder some of the blame for their actions, they shouldn’t be put in situations where advisors, coaches, professors, and mentors are telling them it is in their best interest to not strive for greatness.
Five years from now we might not remember Tyus Jones layup to tie the game with only 29 seconds left. But hopefully by then, Jones, and every student-athlete currently enrolled in Universities across the United States will have received a proper chance at an education.