The University of North Carolina has been in hot water with the NCAA for years now thanks to an academic scandal that never seems to find its resolution.
The intention is to conduct an investigation, and, if necessary take it to trial, but that’s rarely how these things play out. Politics, both in and out of the college and the NCAA, as well as procedural delays, changing testimonies and issues gathering and confirming evidence, can cause these scenarios to drag on for extended periods.
And that’s bad for everyone involved. For the university, it appears that there may be a lot more to the story than there really is as if the issues go much deeper and are more widespread than they may actually be. The constant partial reports and string of “what’s happening lately with this…” headlines can build a dark cloud that follows the university around for years.
Meanwhile, if the NCAA investigators take too long and fail to uncover much…but still keep looking, it appears to those on the outside to be kind of a witch hunt. As if the NCAA really doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but they have to look like they’re doing something.
Now that this issue has continued for this long, you can bet both entities would be happy to see some movement on it. UNC wants the investigation over, no matter the outcome, and the NCAA needs to find something conclusive and to be able to pin that on someone they can legitimately hold responsible. Otherwise, all that time and money invested will appear to be spent on something unfairly punitive.
How long has this been up in the air? Well, the first investigations were announced way back in 2010, when rumors surfaced of irregularities in the football program’s approach to academics. That initial probe uncovered problems in the classes taken by student-athletes in multiple sports … a lot of problems.
Of course, even if both parties are interested in resolving an investigation, there can still be snags. In this case, the “snag” is one of the witnesses, who is refusing to speak to investigators. That, in itself, is a tempting headline, because any time someone says they will testify then abruptly refuses to cooperate, that opens up a chain of unanswered questions. Answering these questions will be the job of the media covering this unfolding story, and that means the principles involved will have to be there to answer those questions … because they won’t go away otherwise. So, once again, more delays.
And, as mentioned, with every delay, there are more questions … and more people making up their minds.