An ‘alternate’ look at the UNC scandal

If the UNC mess were inverted and reported under the headline “Shocking claim: Some top college students read like adults, play like kids“:

Yoop compiled data on the skill levels of thousands of UNC-Chapel Hill students admitted for nonathletic reasons from 2004 to 2012. She found that 60 percent had at best a middle-school level of basketball aptitude. Worse, she found that about 10 percent played below a third-grade level.

“My research confirms that the vast majority of UNC students, the ones who dunk at all, are dunking only on the four- to eight-foot level,” said Yoop. …

UNC has been rocked by an ongoing athletic fraud scandal ever since Student Body President Michael Q. Jordan sent out an unfortunate tweet asking why it’s called a basketball “when it bears no semblance to a basket.” Public outcry led to several investigations, leading to several embarrassing revelations:

  • Athletically unprepared students are directed by advisors into special rooms called “classes” where they are placed under direct adult supervision of a professional sitter (called a “professor” for short)
  • Sitters have complete control over the classes and actively prevent the honing of athletic abilities, often going so far as to keep students seated for the duration of the class and limiting activities to reading, writing, “active listening,” and playing question-and-answer
  • Exorbitant salaries — frequently extending into six figures plus benefits — are paid to the sitters
  • Many sitters are further granted “tenure,” meaning they are essentially unfireable, even now
  • Sitters’ control over students often extended beyond the class time by the imposition of lengthy reading and writing assignments specifically required to take place outside of the class, and they have even developed special strategies to test for whether students are keeping to those instructions
  • UNC had been able for years to keep this elaborate system from attracting outside suspicion by judiciously interspersing athletically gifted students among the classes; however, unlike the others they are also assigned coaches who ensure they aren’t made to neglect athletics

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