bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Massive academic fraud at the University of North Carolina

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Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of smoke coming out of Chapel Hill that seemed to point to some major wrongdoing within the University of North Carolina and its sports program involving fake classes and the like. The NCAA supposedly investigated and decided to accept the school’s own sanctions against itself, which were pretty minor, and took no further action. This week, a new report came out indicating that the problems were far more widespread than had been previously indicated.

It seems that lots of UNC athletes, as well as some regular students, were regularly directed into bogus “classes” that did not actually meet or teach anything, in order to keep grades inflated and players eligible. It also appears that this was not a dirty little secret kept by a few people, but rather a well-known thing that involved thousands of students and many professors and advisors. This “shadow curriculum,” although not exclusive to athletes, was clearly used mainly for players, as nearly 50% of the students involved were athletes despite the actual percentage of athletes in the student population being much smaller.

When the first bits of this came to light back in 2009/2010, the NCAA decided that this was not specific to athletics and therefore no special penalties would be levied. The new revelations have made it impossible for them to leave it at that, though, so a new investigation has been opened. I’m fascinated to see what comes of this. The NCAA was quite gung-ho about jumping into the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State fray a couple of years ago, despite that being a legal issue and not related to anything governed by the NCAA at all. In this situation, players taking fake courses to stay eligible is right smack-dab in the wheelhouse of what the organization is there to prevent. I have no belief in that mess of a governing body or its crooked, grandstanding president, but it would seem that there is no way that this will be ignored.

The university itself should be under a major investigation and its accreditation would have to be at risk here, really. The school has always had a great reputation and has been considered one of the top public universities in the country for a long time. Fake classes, fake grades, and complicit faculty will surely damage that well-crafted image.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Post-championship riots are ridiculous. Post-regular-season-win riots are totally absurd. Fourteen students were arrested last week at the University of West Virginia after the football team beat Baylor the previous weekend. Police cars and fire trucks were damaged, as well as street lamps and other things in Morgantown. Three of the students have been expelled.

3) Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA, lost his job after he called golfer Ian Poulter a “lil girl” for criticizing Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo. Whether or not you, like Bishop, think that this was a rather severe action for a few words, you have to agree that a guy in his position should have known better than to put something like that out there on Twitter.

4) St. Louis Cardinals phenom Oscar Taveras was killed on Sunday in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

5) Sammy Watkins is a talented young wide receiver who was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. He looks like he also has that wonderful wide receiver mentality, and that’s not such a good thing. He turned an 89-yard touchdown catch into an 84-yard non-touchdown catch by starting his celebration far too early and being tackled from behind by Saliim Hakim of the Jets.

6) The Big Idiot Football Player of the Week is Shonn Greene of the Tennessee Titans. About to get a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot, he instead ignored the officer, jumped in his car, sped away (nearly hitting the poor officer), and ended up with an arrest for failure to stop, driving on a suspended license, reckless driving, and illegal parking. Brilliant.

7) Florida State football’s legal troubles continued this week when senior running back Karlos Williams became the subject of an investigation into domestic assault. Quite a program they have there.

8) Big Ten officiating has always been somewhat of a joke, in my opinion, but the ridiculous calls in the Penn State-Ohio State game on Saturday hit a new low. A play that was somehow called an interception despite the ball obviously hitting the ground was not overturned by replay due to some kind of equipment malfunction. Later, Ohio State kicked a field goal even though the play clock had been at zero for a full three seconds before the ball was snapped. The conference sort of apologized for the mess, admitting that mistakes were made.

Good sports:

1) In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Ottawa last week, an NHL game began with a tribute to those affected. The Philadelphia Flyers game against the Pittsburgh Penguins began with the singing of “O Canada” in honor of the soldier who was killed.

2) Arkansas’ win over UAB on Saturday was highlighted by a touchdown pass thrown by Sebastian Tretola, who happens to be a 350-pound offensive lineman.

3) Oak Harbor High School in Washington state forfeited its scheduled league title game against Marysville-Pilchuck High School, the scene of a deadly school shooting last Friday. The Oak Harbor players wanted Marysville-Pilchuck to be awarded the championship as a show of support.

4) Sunday was a big day for quarterbacks in the NFL. Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes and then Ben Roethlisberger one-upped him by throwing six. I am pretty sure Roethlisberger’s big day came from feeling at home in uniforms that looked like prison garb.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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