The University of North Carolina’s football scandal is not as shocking as Penn State’s, but it is serious. Unlike the usual peccadillos of football players — receiving favors deemed inappropriate by the NCAA — UNC–Chapel Hill has had blatant academic corruption. The focus of the current investigation is its African and Afro-American Department (AFAM) — where plagiarism and phantom courses created a cozy niche keeping student-athletes eligible to play.
Now, Jay Schalin raises the question of whether this academic failing is an isolated incident. “While Chapel Hill’s administration and others have tried to paint the AFAM department as a single rogue program, the sheer size of the system suggests good odds that there are other substandard departments,” he writes. He recommends that the investigation be broadened to other departments and other schools (the UNC system has 16 campuses), and he offers a relatively simple way to do that.
One upshot of his suggestion has been a ferocious reaction from rival NC State boosters, who had been basking in the embarrassment of their rival.