Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Inevitable University of North Carolina-Type Student Athlete Scandals

Back in 2007, Rush Limbaugh told a caller, “Look it, let me put it to you this way. The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.” This January, Stanford alumni Richard Sherman confirmed Limbaugh’s observation with his loutish behavior at the end of the National Football League’s (NFL) NFC Championship game.

But NCAA college football is the feeder league for professional thuggery and a scandal far greater than Sherman’s screeching is all but ignored by the national Main Stream Media—above all, its undeniable racial angle.  One of the top public colleges in America is embroiled in not one, but two huge racial scandals that prove the NCAA has nothing to do with anything resembling “higher education.”

The University of North Carolina (UNC) is one of the top institutions of higher learning in the South.  Not surprisingly, this means the black male student population is low, and a high proportion of what “diversity” there is functions as “student-athletes” on the football or basketball team. [Only 98 of nearly 4,000 new first-years are black males, By Julia Craven, The Daily Tar Heel, October 14, 2013]. A 2013 study conducted by the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, [Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports, By Shaun R. Harper, Collin D. Williams Jr., and Horatio W. Blackman (PDF)] noted that only 3.5 percent of the undergraduate population of UNC was black, but 69.9 percent of the revenue-generating athletes (football and men’s basketball) were black.

Stripped of Political Correctness, what this means is that black males are not capable of earning admission to UNC on academic grounds, but that the college thinks it requires blacks to staff profitable athletic teams.  

The perennial problem for UNC and other universities: how to keep these black male athletes academically eligible to compete for the school, while maintaining academic integrity and credibility.

The solution UNC developed: fraud!

The first scandal is the revelation that the UNC “Afro-American Studies” department engaged in massive fraud to ensure black athletes received grades they didn’t (and couldn’t) earn.  [The Scandal Bowl: Tar Heels Football, Academic Fraud, and Implicit Racism, by Paul Barrett, Business Week, January 2, 2014]

The fraud including changing grades, forging professors’ signatures, and “little or no class time” for supposed students.  It extended back to 1997.  [UNC probe reveals academic fraud, by Robbi Pickeral, ESPN, December 2, 2012]

Professor Julius Nyang’oro, a Tanzanian immigrant, was criminally indicted in December 2013 for the disgrace and has hid in a “cone of silence.”  According to the New York Times, before the scandal broke, Nyang’oro was an “internationally respected scholar.”  Now, it has been alleged that though students received grades, some of his classes never even existed.  [A’s for Athletes, but Charges of Fraud at North Carolina, by Sarah Lyall, December 31, 2013

The University has been reduced to spot checks of scheduled classes to make sure they are actually real.  [“UNC holds unannounced inspections of classes to make sure they exist,” by Robby Soave, Daily Caller, February 28, 2013]

For those wondering, an internal audit found that 40 percent of those enrolled in 54 classes at the heart of the scandal were football or basketball players. What percentage went on to get masters or even PhDs in Black studies or some other made-up liberal arts degree? [UNC players made up 39 percent of suspect classes: Nearly 40% in certain UNC courses played football or basketball, Charlotte News and Observer, May 7, 2012

Long-time NFL star Julius Peppers was one of those black athletes who maintained eligibility by taking those fake African studies department classes.  [Peppers’ transcript might point to broader academic issue at UNC, by Dan Kane, News & Observer, August 13, 2012]

The entire UNC Afro-American Studies Department apparently did nothing but cook the books for academically unqualified black athletes.  [Prof ‘sickened’ by UNC academic scandal, by Erin Hartness, WRAL, May 10, 2012]

The predictable result: UNC racial scandal Number Two.  A study conducted by UNC learning specialist Mary Willingham discovered that a significant percentage of the UNC’s football and basketball players cannot read above a third grade level

Equally predictably, the community reaction was to condemn Willingham for her “hate speech.” She has even received death threats.   [Death threats and denial for woman who showed college athletes struggle to read,” by Sara Ganim, CNN, January 14, 2014]   

Her higher-ups at UNC have also disavowed the study.  [UNC will seek outside research into athlete literacy, by Amanda Albright and Daniel Schere, Daily Tarheel, January 22, 2014]   

But the fact is that UNC is not the only university where this is going on:

A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.

As a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro, Willingham researched the reading levels of 183 UNC-Chapel Hill athletes who played football or basketball from 2004 to 2012. She found that 60% read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. Between 8% and 10% read below a third-grade level.

“So what are the classes they are going to take to get a degree here? You cannot come here with a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade education and get a degree here,” she told CNN.

[CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders, by Sarah Ganim, CNN, January 8, 2014]

Nor is this even new.  Mary Willingham’s case is reminiscent of that of Jan Kemp, an academic whistleblower who exposed similar academic fraud for the benefit of athletes at the University of Georgia. [This Case Was One For The Books, by William Nack, Sports Illustrated, February 24, 1986]

Indeed, it is just the tip of the iceberg.  Given the choice between maintaining tradition and academic standards and pursuing profits with illiterate minority athletes, most universities will pick the latter every time.   Hence entire phony departments (like “Afro-American Studies”), multicultural lunacy to conceal academic incompetence, and a culture of repression aimed at students and faculty who want their school to be something other than an Affirmative Action degree mill.   

This is the cost of the multimillion dollar spectacles where overwhelmingly white crowds cheer overwhelmingly black athletes wearing the school colors. 

It’s not just UNC, or “Afro-American Studies” that’s a racket. 

In the age of diversity and Obama, all of American higher education is becoming just one big fraud.

Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White and  Second City Confidential: The Black Experience in Chicagoland. His latest book is The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2013.