For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
"These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report. He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.
Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.
Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light by CNN, the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets.
In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but adds the number "very likely falls far short of the true number."
Given that this was a pervasive, institutional fraud of a magnitude that is difficult to believe, the death penalty is well warranted for Division I athletics at North Carolina. At a minimum, all victories and championships should be invalidated.
That would mean Roy Williams, for example, would have to look elsewhere for a legitimate national championship title.
If they find the same thing at Duke, I would invalidate everything accomplished in the whole ACC forever. I mean, damn. How do you get away with cheating like this? I expect this sort of thing out of Kentucky. I didn't expect to find out that a degree from the University of North Carolina isn't worth the paper it's printed on.