A little blue in Carolina tonight

As I write this evening, I have just finished watching a press conference that has stirred several differing emotions within me. Before I get to that though, I feel as if I should preface these comments with the following. As probably all of you know, I am a proud alum of the University of North Carolina, and if you spend any amount of time around me then I'm positive something about UNC will come up in conversation before very long. This is in part due to the fact that I am truly a fanatic of their athletic program, but also because I truly believe it is one of the greatest institutions of learning in the country. I won't waste your time with all the academic statistics and the national rankings of various academic departments, but a compelling argument can be made that UNC is a premier university.

So as many of you know there have been allegations of members of the football team having illegal contact with a professional agent for several weeks now. Then today amidst the investigation, there are now allegations of academic misconduct involving a tudor and members of the football team as well. From a purely football perspective this is terrible news as it has been speculated that perhaps several star players are implicated in this investigation. What has been hailed as perhaps the best UNC football team in history is quickly becoming one of the most maligned teams in history, assuming these allegations are true. I don't want to discuss the implications of this investigation on the team, but from my perspective as an alum.

When Chancellor Thorp began the press conference by saying it pained him to make the following statements, it was evident on his face that he was sincere in making that claim. As I continued to listen, I was filled with anger that such academic misconduct could take place, disappointed that a tutor and players would willingly commit such misconduct, and also concerned that the university's image as one that prides itself in high academic standards and holds its student-athletes to be just that student-athletes, could be forever tarnished by these events.

At UNC the Honor Code is held in high regard. Basically this is a code of conduct that all students are required to adhere to both inside and outside of the classroom. During orientation and then typically at the beginning of each semester or school year, students are reminded of the Honor Code and the consequences of breaking it. The Honor Code is the heart of integrity at Carolina. Prior to every exam blue book, paper, or project that a student submits they sign the honor code declaring that the work is theirs and theirs alone. So to hear allegations of academic misconduct, which has been speculated to be plagiarism and/or turning in work not their own, is really disappointing and in strict violation of the Honor Code.

As I write this I am actually able to see my own diploma from Carolina, and as I was looking at it these words stood out to me "Be it known that Jeremiah Radford Davis (that's me) having completed the studies and fulfilled the requirements of the faculty for the degree of..." Those words are the beauty of the degree! That's why at graduations the bleachers are packed with family members and friends there to support your academic achievements. The honors and awards that graduates receive are for the work they have achieved. To submit work that is not your own and receive credit for it, is against every principle and standard of any academic institution. Not only that but it also lessens the prestige of a degree that others have received from that institution.

All that to say that I am extremely disappointed in these accusations and I do believe that the university will properly conduct the investigation. However if these accusations are true, no matter whether they are against the star players or a player that will never see the field of play, these players should be removed from the team and strongly considered for expulsion from the university. I realize some may think that is harsh, but I say the standards of student-athletes should certainly be the same as that of other students, if not higher, because for many observers the student-athletes are the only image of a university that is seen. I also know that if I had personally been faced with academic misconduct as a student those are the penalties I would have faced and these players should face those same penalties. It is truly an honor and a privilege to wear the Carolina blue and I hope those student-athletes see it as such.

No matter what the fallout of this investigation is, there is one thing I am certain of, as the Carolina alma mater says "I'm a Tar Heel born, I'm a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead!"

No comments:

Post a Comment