There Are Two Sides To Every Story

May 06, 2014 71 Comments

UNC Football

Everybody at one point or another in their life has heard the phrase, “There are two sides to every story.”  It’s what drives us to be fair to every situation presented to us.  Seeking to hear and process each side is what allows people to have a balanced and informed approach to how they respond to the story or situation.  One part of our society for which this balanced approach is crucial is the media.

The media tells us what is going on in the world around us.  In some cases all there is to do is tell us what happened.  However, in other stories they report, their journalistic reputation is on the line in giving us accurate facts from both sides of the story.  When this fails to occur and it becomes clear that the narrative is focused on one side of the story, and in some cases pushing only that side as the truth, readers and viewers start to question the integrity of the story being told.  Then they start to question the motives of those telling the story.

A clear example of this failure in media integrity is how the University of North Carolina academic scandal story has been handled in recent months by multiple media outlets.  There has been one narrative told, and when facts arise in dispute of this narrative, they are dismissed and not reported.  Or in this case, when the “facts” being used to push this narrative are discredited, there have been no corrections made to the record.

The recent example of this has to do with Mary Willingham, who worked with UNC student-athletes during the time that this scandal was exposed, and has been called a “whistleblower” in all of this recent uproar.  She has been trumpeted about by the likes of CNN and ESPN, who reported that her research showed that over a hundred student-athletes she worked with at UNC couldn’t read at a high school level.

CNN’s video report:

This article won’t bore you with her statistics.  In fact, it would be a waste of time because that research was recently discredited by three different outside experts from three different institutions of higher learning.  But what it will do is show the other side of this story from a qualified vantage point of somebody directly involved with this situation who is focused on the student-athletes and the reforms that have taken place and continue to take place moving forward.

That vantage point belongs to Bradley Bethel, a learning specialist who has worked with student-athletes at UNC for the last 3 years, and at other institutions prior to UNC.  It should come as no surprise at this point that none of the outlets who put Willingham out front and center have shown an interest in Mr. Bethel’s counter-narrative.  When one outlet did (News & Observer), they managed to dice up his comments in a way to keep their original narrative intact.  So we decided to seek out the other side of this story and spoke with Mr. Bethel.

I first read on that you gave an interview to Dan Kane at the News & Observer, but that he took your statements and put them out of context in his article? – “Yes, that’s true and so I can’t see working with the N&O again.  I guess my answers didn’t fit their narrative without some journalistic creativity taking place on their part., however, despite being clearly supportive of UNC athletics, has at least tried to acknowledge legitimate criticism of UNC while still pointing out the flaws in critics’ claims.  They’ve been the most fair with the information that the media is discussing.”

How do you describe what you do with student-athletes? – “My job is most succinctly described as helping student-athletes learn how to learn.  That’s what I do.  I work with underprepared student-athletes who have come to college without having developed the habits of a successful learner.  They  often did not grow up in an environment, like you and I did, that may have showed them along the way what habits and routines it takes to be a successful student in college.  In many cases these student-athletes are first generation college students.  They typically come from school environments that didn’t foster the learning of these habits.  So my job is to then help them develop these habits so that they can become successful learners and get the most out of their college experience with a meaningful, real education.”

In referencing that first generation college student, many of these student-athletes might not have had that college opportunity without athletics, right? – “Yes, exactly.  In fact, that’s an example of how athletics can be a means of providing a real education for these students.  I would say that’s the number one reason people in academic support do what we do.  I would even venture to say that a lot of us see what we do as accomplishing a degree of social justice in the process.  We want these students to get the most out of this opportunity that they would not have had a chance to have without athletics.  They may be big stars to the fans, but to me, a lot of them come from poor backgrounds, even poverty, and this can be their big break beyond athletics.  We want  help them be as successful as they can be in the classroom and beyond.”

How would you characterize your mission then? – “I would say we use the opportunity student-athletes have been given through athletics to help them experience a meaningful education and prepare them for life, a successful life, after athletics.”

With that mission in my mind, how could so many of the educators at UNC not be behind that? – “I think many UNC faculty and staff are behind it, but Mary Willingham has dismissed it, and That’s what is the most frustrating part of this story and why I have started speaking out.  The narrative of Mary Willingham (MW) has been to completely dismiss the great work that the academic support program does with student-athletes and call it all a scam.  That we are constantly failing these students and at the same time trumpeting herself as the only enlightened educator among the support staff who can see through the problems we face.  That frustrates me because I know the commitment and dedication that this staff makes with the student-athletes.  The sacrifices all of us make in knowing this job can be all hours of the day, sometimes every day of the week.  All with the goal of providing these student-athletes a real educational experience.  I feel privileged to have worked with these people and they’re some of the best educators at UNC.  I’ve worked on other academic support staffs at other institutions and I strongly feel that UNC’s staff is as dedicated and talented as any in the country.”

Do you think MW’s original intent was pure, or was it skewed from the get go? – “Well, this is speculation, but I think she saw a problem originally, a problem that I’ve acknowledged as well.  There were students being admitted that shouldn’t have been admitted.  I don’t mean not admitted to college, but maybe not admitted to UNC.  UNC is a rigorous university and some of these students were not prepared for that level of academics.  UNC does not have the support infrastructure to support that type of student.  So as a result, you have to have higher admissions standards that match the rigorous level of learning at UNC.  She saw this and wanted something done about it, which is good.  But then she took a destructive approach to it by embellishing her stories and inflating or fabricating her statistics with the intent of grabbing headlines.  She made it about her being focus of change instead of keeping the focus on the change itself.”

What do you mean by making her the focus? – “Well, the problem stems from her insistence that she be part of the change.  Instead of letting the  new administrators and support staff come in at this point and really reform the system.  I don’t know how else to describe it other than attention-seeking.  An example of that is her consistent refusal to acknowledge what changes and reforms have taken place since 2010, which, by the way, is the last time she worked with student-athletes at UNC.  There have been changes made already, but she wouldn’t know about it because she doesn’t work in this field any more.  But she’s still insisting that her ideas, as unclear as they have been, be put in the forefront of this discussion.”

So she hasn’t been involved with student-athletes at UNC since 2010? – “No, she has not.  She also hasn’t worked with the scores of new people that came to UNC and have been the champions of these reforms.  Since she was here we now have a new Provost, a new Chancellor, a new Director of Academic Support, a new Athletic Director, and a new football coach.  There are so many new people and changes, all of which have been ignored by her and the particular media outlets that will only follow her narrative in this story.  And it’s a shame, because those outlets could really use their voice to trumpet the reforms that have taken place and help drive further positive reforms.  True reform requires integrity and ideas, not duplicity and defamation.”

In your blog you spoke of the difference in reform philosophies between MW and you. – “Right.  Ethics too.  She has really adopted the “ends justify the means” approach where she is willing to go on CNN or other stations and say whatever she needs to despite the truthfulness of those statements.  The fact that she is accessing students’ records without consent, and then publicizing information in those records in the media and places like Twitter, is unethical and a violation of those students’ rights.  She is really unscrupulous in her methods, which is problematic to say the least.  My philosophy has been more about giving more of a voice to the student-athletes in order to allow them to advocate for themselves.  That’s why I support the idea of what the Northwestern team is doing and the O’Bannon lawsuit.  That “idea” is giving the student-athletes a seat at the table so that they have a voice in deciding how these reforms affect them.  I would rather be behind the scenes because it’s not about me, but again, MW insists that she be front and center, despite the ethical damage she does in the process.”

Has she offered up any ideas? – “She said she would start a literacy program, which is interesting, but doesn’t make sense.  That would  assume that there  are as many students who are reading at an elementary level or are illiterate as she claims, but there aren’t.  Her statistics were flawed at best, fabricated at worst.  And such a program that teaches athletes to read would be condescending and patronizing because they know how to read.  A more appropriate service to them is something like I am starting this summer, which is a program that teaches students to read and study at a college level.”

Is this another new change? – “Yes, I’m developing a summer program that works with underprepared student-athletes to get them prepared to go to school at UNC.  Again, this doesn’t mean they read at an elementary level.  It just means they need help developing the reading habits they will need to study at UNC.  So this starts in August, where I’ll be teaching new football players an intensive college reading strategy course for them so that they’re up to speed to the reading level of UNC academics.  It’s not teaching them the basics of reading, because, again, they already know how to read.”

UNC Football Stadium

Mary Willingham believes student-athletes are being exploited by the commercialism of college sports.

How do you feel about the fact that MW’s major charge of intent on UNC’s part is to exploit these student-athletes? – “Well, the irony of that is that she seems to be exploiting the athletes themselves as a means of getting attention. The worst example being the recent tweet about the basketball players.  She had no right to look at these records in the first place.  But to then tweet it out is exploitive and cheap and obviously a show of growing desperation on her part, in light of her data being discredited by outside experts in recent weeks.”

You showed point by point why her methodology was flawed in assessing these students and representing the data in the way she did, in which she has since been discredited.  This was a major point ignored by the media. – “Yes, she has not been transparent about her methodology, and the hints she has given us suggest an unsound methodology, which she would be unqualified to employ even if it were sound. Look,  she is not qualified, and neither am I, to interpret certain  tests she claims to have used in her assessments.  There are tests she is referencing like WAIS that only a licensed psychologist can read and determine the results.   She isn’t a psychologist.  She is just really stretching with this misrepresented data.  That’s what is so frustrating.  The media like CNN, HBO, and ESPN have not come back and corrected the record.”

What do you feel about the faction in the UNC faculty that is behind MW, or really just behind the anti-athletics side of this story at the university? – “That’s a great question.  One, it’s not a big group.  By and large the faculty I have interacted with are great educators who care about the student-athletes’ education and don’t hold being an athlete against them.  But for the ones you’re referencing it really is mind-boggling.  Because at the core of this they have abandoned their own scholarly methods of truth-seeking.  When you’re a scholar you respect peer-reviewed journals and presentations because that is how you become credible.  It’s the rigorous methods of determining truth through the peer review process that gives credence to your work.  So they practice this truth-seeking in their own work but then abandon all of that to support this sensationalism and this media narrative.  This is  ironic because any one of them would tell their classes that they cannot use a newspaper media source as a reputable source of information in their work.  They want you to use sources that have been subject to scrutiny to the methods of determining truth.  Yet, they’re following the media’s narrative of MW as total truth.”

In that vein, has there been internal concern you’ve seen as her research has begun to be discredited in its methodology and presentation, in terms of how that reflects on UNC’s reputation as a leading research university? – “That’s a great question.  One I don’t have the answer to because I don’t know if anybody has looked it from that perspective.  And that perspective should concern us, yes.  I do know that there have been faculty members who have been critical and have not been swept up in MW’s crusade.  You know, there’s always a silent majority and I believe that most members are not on her side and are more in the middle on this debate.  And part of that is because of the reforms the faculty has seen over the last four years because this has been an all-in approach.  The constructive reforms have included input from the faculty, the administration, the athletic leaders and the academic support program.  And honestly, there’s no persuading the MW group.  I’m trying to stay constructive and keep the people in the middle behind the positive changes going on and keep moving that forward for the student-athletes.  They’re who matter in this, not some anti-athletics crusade.  Again, some of these students wouldn’t have this educational opportunity without athletics.”

Have the same media outlets that have interviewed MW reached out to you? – “Well, what I can say is that they don’t seem to be interested in a narrative other than the one they have been telling in their reporting.  So I’ll be interested in what they do moving forward.  I thought the media would be just as excited at getting the record right on the flawed whistleblower because they are focused on a good story.  But they, people like Paul Barrett and Sara Ganim, really refuse to acknowledge that they were duped by MW because they have invested too much into her narrative at this point.  I think they are intentionally ignoring this at this point and hoping it goes away so that they don’t have to admit any fault.”

Again, it seems like MW is doing everything she can to stay in their spotlight. – “Yes.  That’s true.  That’s why I think MW has been exploited herself.  She is victim and a perpetrator.  The media has turned her into something she is not.  Four years ago she was an educator.  Now she has resorted to inappropriate and at times unethical behavior to secure a spotlight.”

Expand some on the positive changes that have taken place since 2010 at UNC. – “Well, first of all are the changes to the admissions’ process for student-athletes.  We’ve shifted to a quantitative assessment in which we  can predict what the student-athletes’ GPA will be in that first year.   That is better than just the typical qualitative assessment that focuses on looking back at where the student-athlete came from.  UNC is one of the only institutions I know of that is using this method.  And the main thing driving this positive change is cooperation.”

What are you referring to when you say cooperation? – “At the top, there is cooperation between Athletics and Admissions. At the bottom, there is cooperation between academic support and the coaches. Every Thursday morning we have an academic meeting with the football coaches.  We give them a complete rundown about what’s going on with their players academically.  Coach Fedora has been very respectful and supportive towards us.  They have actually demonstrated a genuine commitment to the academic success of their team.  Our interactions with them have been positive.  And I can tell you that not every school in the nation can say that about their football coaches.  I won’t say which schools, but again, I’m involved in our national organization and I know colleagues that say the wish they had the working relationship and support that we have with this staff.  I feel fortunate to be working with Coach Fedora and his staff, as an educator.”

How do you feel about UNC today, in terms of how they support and prepare their student-athletes compared to what you know happens at other schools? – “When I came here, I did not arrive at what I thought was an academic support program in disrepair or in need of an overhaul and I’m insulted when I read that overhauling was needed.  It’s not a program that needed to be or has been overhauled.  Did it need improvement?  Sure, and that’s why I was excited to come here and be a part of those improvements.  But there is genuine commitment from Bubba Cunningham to make our academic support program one of the best in the nation.  We are great now, but we continue to get better and we will be one of the best in the nation.”


Thanks to Mr. Bethel, you have seen a glimpse into the other side of this story. Did things go wrong at UNC?  Yes.  Did UNC pay for that?  Well, that’s what is up for debate. UNC was investigated by the NCAA and sanctioned.  The Chancellor at the time is gone.  The Athletic Director at the time is gone.  And the football staff at the time is gone.

So it’s safe to say those people paid for these problems.  When the recent academic scandal broke, the NCAA was in Chapel Hill in the Fall of 2011 with UNC officials as it investigated the charges and determined that there were no further infractions committed.  But again, whatever side you fall on in this debate, at least be willing to look at both sides of the story.  When one side is pushing their narrative by ignoring new facts presented in this case, that should tell you something is amiss with their story.

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71 Responses to “There Are Two Sides To Every Story”

  1. Liam Ottway says:

    Great interview. I’m really surprised that Paul Barrett’s and Sarah Ganim’s editors/producers at BusinessWeek and CNN have given these two free rein to slander thousands of student athletes for their personal agendas. It’s shameful, really. Dane Kane’s managing editor (Drescher) is already a hack who writes the headlines before the reporting, and to which the reporting has to conform.

    Once one sees that the underlying facts aren’t as reported, and sees that none of BusinessWeek, CNN, NYTimes or N&O have seen fit to correct the record, it makes one mistrust all the other things produced by those outlets. Journalists are, in the end, in a position of trust, and without that trust, they’re just entertainers marketing stories — without regards to the truth — to niche partisans.

  2. Name says:

    Thank you for this insightful interview. To say the least, it puts a new light on this story. As a Professor at a top private University that has no Div 1 sports at all, I am very impressed with Mr. Bethel and the reform efforts UNC has put in place since 2010 to help student-atheletes. I now wonder how or if any in the media will respond to this, to correct the slanted narrative that was forwarded by Willingham, Ganin and others. It does not reflect well on a Pulitzer Prize winner.

    • Jeff Greenberg says:

      Thank you and I agree with you. Mr Bethel is impressive and good at what he does. Ignoring the reforms and positive changes that he’s been part of is what’s wrong with this narrative at this point in time.

  3. john M says:

    I can’t say that I followed this story closely but have made an effort to check in on it from time to time. I was surprised at how repetitious so many of the stories published by the local paper were. One could attempt to check up on the story one week and get brought up to speed. The following week, the articles that were published were almost carbon copies of the previous week. I find that curious although it seems to be more and more prevalent among media outlets these days.

    I think NC has some questions to answer but it appears they are making a concerted effort to do that. I have no problem with the paper covering their missteps. I think the paper has a responsibility to do that.; however, the papers coverage should be equally as diligent in covering the steps taken by the university to correct their issues and that doesn’t appear to be happening.

  4. Jason says:

    I was unaware that the young womans work had been reviewed and results published. Admittedly, I don’t read this particular publication but were those results covered and published by the paper?

    The Atlantic Coast Conference has always been considered one of the better academic leagues in the country. Duke, UVA, GT, ND, NC, BC are all very good institutions so this is something I’m sure the league isn’t happy about .If NC has been sanctioned already and removed as many people as Mr Bethel cites, it would appear that they are making a good faith effort to fix their problems. It would also seem appropriate that the local paper cover those efforts with as much fervor as the rest.

    • miller says:

      The ACC is a strong academic conference. Duke, ND, UVA, UNC, BC, WFU, GT and Miami all rank among the top 50 according to US News and only two ACC schools total, NC State and Louisville, rank outside the top 100. I’m not sure what that has to do with it however.

      The conference can’t and shouldn’t be held responsible for mistakes made by one of it’s institutions. While i suspect the conference is disappointed that it happened and I don’t think they feel it damages the reputation of the conference.

      • mossy says:

        With all due respect, it appears that the ACC, while a good academic conference, is made up similarly to many other leagues. You have some very good schools at the top, some good schools in the middle and a couple at the rear that have work to do.

        I’m not disparaging the conference in any way and perhaps I misunderstood your meaning but i don’t think the academic quality of a conference comes in to play here. Just because a conference is academically challenging, it does not mean they don’t have the same problems others do.

    • Jeff Greenberg says:

      Your last sentence says it all. Thanks for reading.

  5. Dink says:

    Thankfully someone has taken the time to provide an unemotional and intelligent POV. It does not fit the “NATIONAL ENQUIRER” spin of the news&disturber. So they will not publish it. It has always amazed me how danny kane, m willingscam, and the n&o feel more qualified than all the experts. They have pulled a narrow false narrative from 1000’s of employees and documents and spun it into a conspiracy of the athletic dept. That is sensational and provided fuel for a rival’s feeding frenzy. But in the end it has been disproven by many sanctioning bodies and experts. In the end all it has done it has cost the taxpayers of NC. Wow I hope drescher, lil danny, m willingscam & baby jay are proud of themselves and they feel good about participating in a hoax. I am especially amazed at the level of hate and unprofessionalism exhibited by a college professor. Diversity and the ability to manage a college sport is both difficult and needed in a college environment to provide a melting pot experience. Not that many people grow from being exposed to a book on French monsters.

    • R. Blanton Allen says:

      Your name fits your character. Dink.

      Unemotional and intelligent POV? That’s laugh out loud outrageous.

      You think the NYT, BusinessWeek, CNN, David Ridpath, SACS, the Dept of Education are all out to get unc-ch out of the decades of jealousy you all accused local sportsfans of having for unc-ch?

      Shills for your “cause” can continue to trumpet their horns as loudly as they want. The only people hearing them are the sycophantic cheerleaders that are largely responsible for the sham that WAS the carolina way.

      • Dink says:

        Wow truth shines light on the sham and then the dark heart has to cry out to try to belittle others. Typically the way a small person tries to feel better about themselves, but fails miserably. Hate is stupid and is usually the voice of jealous, low self-esteem people! that hate themselves!!! just like calling yourself R. Blanton Allen. Sounds pretentious!

      • Jeff Greenberg says:

        Relax guys. Healthy debate is, well, healthy. The point is the coverage hasn’t been balanced and there has been zero reporting on the positive changes that have come out of the mistakes made at UNC.

  6. Teri O says:

    Thank God, for the FIRST time since ALL of this started, the truths are brought out about the data used in the original dirt slung by Mary W. It’s a shame that when you make a mistake, you can’t just “Woman Up” and admit it. Instead you keep piling crap on top of crap, hoping that nobody will notice that what started all this, has been DISPROVED. How desperate does one person have to be to keep the spotlight on themselves, to keep disparaging the very athletes she CLAIMS to care about? You, Sir, are the FIRST reporter to TELL THE TRUTH! The rest don’t care about the truth, that doesn’t sell as many papers, or on-line subscriptions. If I didn’t already subscribe to Sports Glutton, I would have started today! I will spread the word, that there is ONE place we can go for Sports News, that will actually be reported fairly, without some sort of agenda. I appreciate you guys being the ones to step up and do the UNPOPULAR thing; which is, to report the FACTS!!!!

    • R. Blanton Allen says:

      Funny that in your first paragraph you tell someone to “woman up”, yet in 4 years the administration at that cesspool of a university have done the complete opposite.

      Fix your own house. The FACTS are, you cheated the state of North Carolina, the member institutions of the ACC, and every athlete you gave, repeat GAVE a fraudulent degree to for decades.

      Own up to your own mistakes, then criticize other parties.

      That is the integrity unc-ch fans and administrators have often boasted of, yes? Lies, deceit, immoral activity, lack of ethics, lack of reason, and narcissistic self-love are your greatest sins, but that doesn’t even cover all of them.

      • Teri O says:

        You must be one of those Crackride subscribers, whose own athletic department, (we use that term VERY loosely), has been in the toilet since the cheating Jimmie V. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that cheater you guys have made infamous. So, coming from ANYONE at Crackride, it’s LAUGHABLE, you are the original CHEATERS! Who was your basketball player with a 700 on the SAT, Chris who? Oh yeah, the one that robbed the pizza guy on campus. DON’T you DARE get on YOUR HIGH HORSE, b/c it hurts like hell when you hit that dip and FALL OFF!!!! You people perpetrated this FARSE and you hate that it’s blowing up in your face! GET OVER IT, the BANNERS ARE NOT COMING DOWN!!! YOU FAILED!!!!!

    • Jeff Greenberg says:

      That’s one of the main points. The “house” is being fixed. Mr Bethel spells that out here. First, the house was cleaned out and since then the new people in charge have implemented new changes to help the student-athletes in a positive way. Isn’t that the main goal of identifying a problem? Fix it and bring about positive change?

  7. M_N says:

    “She said she would start a literacy program, which is interesting, but doesn’t make sense.”

    What exactly do you suggest UNC do with athletes that cannot read multi-syllable words (Wis-Con-Sin!). I have one: don’t offer them scholarships. Oh, but that would hurt the product on the field/court and deny someone their inalienable right to a free UNC diploma because they can hit a 3 pointer or have 4.4 speed.

    It is undeniable that UNC admitted athletes with woeful reading skills. You can argue all day as to exact numbers and exact literacy levels, but that’s nothing but a red herring. The 200+ fake classes you invented to keep them eligible is clear indication they were there. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have invented the scam in the first place.

    • Teri O says:

      Yeah, and the “SHE: you’re referring to is an idiot, and didn’t have a clue what she was doing, or everyone that has gone behind her wouldn’t have pointed out all the problems with her data. As for the easy classes IF YOU or ANYONE else in a DIV.1 College, think for ONE SECOND it isn’t going on at EVERY Div. 1 college in AMERICA, then, only YOU, would be a bigger idiot than her!!!!! When you come up with the solution to this problem, then we can talk, but, as long as that remains the way Div. 1 does business, THAT IS HOW IT WILL BE!!!

    • SJD says:

      You say that like UNC is offering kids that other schools would have denied. The kids UNC brings in are the same kids offered scholarships by multiple other major universities, and usually other ACC schools. Carolina wins some of these recruiting battles, but many times these kids end up at NC State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Tennessee, etc.

      If these kids are so under prepared what does that say about the caliber of kids at these other institutions? Do you really believe that this issue is only related to kids at UNC? I don’t see anybody turning away a 4 star recruit that meets the NCAA minimum requirements because the ‘university’ decides they don’t think they have what it takes to make it at that particular school.

      I do believe there is a larger issue of athletes being under prepared for college and that they are only admitted because of the money they bring in the university, but pointing the finger solely at UNC is a prime example of trying to fit the issue into the one sided anti-UNC narrative.

  8. M_N says:

    Absolutely STUNNING the change in narrative in Chapel Hill. You’ve gone from “not only do we not do things like this, the Carolina Way guarantees it’s impossible to EVER do things this way”, to now “this is what everyone does.”

    Keep telling yourself that. Whatever gets you through the night. I don’t know what stage of Grief you are in, but its somewhere between Denial and Bargaining.

    • Teri O says:

      There is no stage of grief, that is all behind us. It’s you ABCer’s that can’t get past this. STOP ALREADY! AS I said earlier, the BANNERS are NOT coming down, your witch hunt failed. Put your tail between your legs and go back to the cave you crawled out of. IT’S OVER! We took our punishment, learned from it, MOVED ON!! It’s time for all of you, JEALOUS that you WILL NEVER be Tar Heel, to do the same!! If you knew what it was like to be part of a family, that loves you, GOOD and the BAD, maybe then you’d get it! We always have our athletes’ back, even AFTER they are gone!!! That’s why OUR family is what you ABCer’s will NEVER understand, because it’s NOT that way where you come from. We understand, you strike out because of jealousy, envy and just plain can’t stand being losers. We get it, don’t understand it, but, we get it!

  9. M_N says:

    Ah yes, we’re back to jealousy again. I was “just jealous” when I pointed out, YEARS ago, that there was absolutely no way UNC had any 96.whatever% graduation rate. Not when we all recruit the same athletes (yes, we do. UNC wanted Chris Washburn and Chris still has the recruitment letter with Dean’s signature to prove it). Turns out we weren’t jealous. We were correct.

    But you’re right, we’re jealous now. You’re absolutely right about that. We’re jealous we didn’t invent that little scam before you did. We’re jealous you got away with it for 20 years, perhaps more if we really cared to look. And we’re jealous the NCAA did nothing to you for the largest academic fraud case in the entire history of the NCAA.

    Jealous. Damn straight.

    • Teri O says:

      Well, now doesn’t it feel better. They say admitting you have the problem, is the first step. Now, you’re just going to have to move on. I was also right about you being from crackride, too. I’m not always right, just never wrong. NO BANNERS coming DOWN, move on!! That’s what you guys don’t seem to be able to deal with. Crackride has more pages dedicated to UNC then they do to their own athletes. Maybe now you guys can get back to pulling for your team, and move on. I’m sure nobody wants ANOTHER 0-8 ACC Season, DO THEY????

    • J_C says:

      Actually, UNC did NOT want Chris Washburn. That was widely known, and was a ‘red herring’ that Dean didn’t want the best big man not only in the state of N.C. but in the nation. There was a famous SI article that showed Washburn lying in his room surrounded by ALL of the letters he got. His first letter was from Lefty Driesell in 7th grade. His 2nd letter was from Dean Smith in 8th grade. A few months later (by 9th grade) it was widely known around the Hickory area (which is where I’m from & I’m also the same age as Chris) that Washburn had a drug problem & was illiterate. The one letter he got from Dean in 8th grade was the ONLY one he ever got from him. Many other ACC coaches famously followed suit & stated things like “well, IF Dean doesn’t want him…”. Valvano obviously chose the wrong path. Also, Chris didn’t just score below 700. He scored a 395. 300 points for correctly filling in his name. Of course, he later admitted that he walked out after only 22 minutes, stating that he’d “already been told by Coach V that I was in! I didn’t need no score, I was in. I just needed to go in & take the test!” This is EXACTLY the type of crap that came back to get Valvano fired when the BOT discovered it, even though Washburn had moved on to the NBA, and despite the fact that Valvano voluntarily stepped down as AD (but literally BEGGED to stay on as coach), and the fact that the BOT knew that his firing would be most unpopular with alums, fans & donors. Interestingly, NONE of the games that Washburn, Shackleford, Weems, et all played in were ever vacated by NC State, despite the revelations that Valvano had directly brought pressure to bear on their professors & TA’s in an orchestrated SCAM that had all of his players’ poor grades changed to those of “INCOMPLETEs” in order to keep them from being declared ineligible. And remember, this is not “he said/ she said”, it’s confirmed by NC State’s own BOT. And, don’t think that it only ranged out to only a handful of players. NO. It was widespread throughout Valvano’s decade + on the bench. Throughout that decade +, and through over 100+ players having taken the court for Valvano, only 11 managed to graduate! ELEVEN!! And Valvano was put into NC State’s INAUGURAL Hall of Fame in 2012 as many NC State fans & alums were calling for UNC to burn to the ground. It truly is the height of hypocrisy to hear from the NC State fan’s on this matter. Thanks for reminding us all, where the bottom of the ACC dwells.

      • Teri O says:

        AMEN, THIS is what should have been all over the FRONT PAGE of the N&O, but, I don’t remember much coverage of this at all, MOSTLY COVER-UP! I asked earlier how they could say ANYTHING, the way the revere the biggest CHEATER EVER, Jimmie V!!

  10. RWC says:

    Yes, recruiting letters = scholarship offer and admission. HAve we dipped deeply into questionable academic levels? Surely. I can name some. But please, find a better example. Why don’t you discuss scholars at NCSU? Seriously, it’s a much better story for all schools to discuss the successes, including the weak entrants who graduate having learned a TON. This is also truth that should be enlightened.

    • Jeff Greenberg says:

      That’s why Mr Bethel should be heard. He is involved in helping these athletes NOW. He’s involved in the reform and positive change all parties claim to want and believe is needed.

  11. M_N says:

    “Why don’t you discuss scholars at NCSU?”

    Why do you want to change the subject so badly?

  12. M_N says:

    “You say that like UNC is offering kids that other schools would have denied.”

    Are you KIDDING me??? UNC has not only offered, but ACCEPTED athletes that C-L-E-M-S-O-N said “Son, you’re just too stupid to play here.” CLEMSON! Dude, when CLEMSON says you are too stupid to play for them, you are one dumb monkey farmer!

    Seriously? You really think UNC didn’t take players that other schools rejected on academics? Really? What’s it like living on “Planet SJD”?

    • Teri O says:

      Talk about changing the subject!!! We knew it would be a short discussion if you had to talk about NCSux scholars. Plus, you never answered me regarding the getting back to pulling for your team! You guys are hoping for better than an 0-8 ACC season this year I hope; or, does what is or IS NOT happening to UNC more important AGAIN this year??? You saw how your teams responded last year with all the loss of attention. Are you really going to waste another year pulling AGAINST UNC instead of FOR NCSux?

    • David says:

      Dwight Jones was the exception to the rule, so you should probably amend your “athletes” statement from plural to singular unless you can point out another case.

      There were also other factors in the Dwight Jones situation that figured in. It also had nothing to do with Dwight being stupid, but your use of that term without really knowing anything says a lot more about you than it does about him.

      UNC admits kids with better academic numbers than NC State or ECU, and UNC’s “special admissions” are in line with the bottom 10% of NC State’s “regular” admissions, so it’s not a matter of recruiting outliers.

      What happened at UNC was a terrible mistake of no oversight, and certain people took advantage of it, but to state (like it’s a fact) that the university itself created and carried out those classes solely as a means of keeping athletes eligible hasn’t been (and I don’t think it will be) proven to have been the case; but you’re a great example of someone who swallows the media narrative and/or you’re an ABC’er so desperately drowning in schadenfreude that you grasp at anything that’ll bring you joy since your own school obviously has nothing to buoy your flagging hopes and dreams.

      And, seriously, how pathetic is it to run around to every single article about UNC, pro or con, to spew your uninformed and exhaustive drivel? You and R. Blanton Allen seriously need lives.

      • SJD says:

        Exactly, I think Jones is the only instance and a unique one at that. And I don’t think anyone is saying that UNC doesn’t take questionable athletes is not the point. The article above clearly states that they do.

        To somehow try to say that UNC targets or accepts these types of kids at at a disproportional higher rate to other schools is what I find crazy talk, and shows that M_N isn’t here for real conversation or debate.

        I bet if you look at the offer lists of the top kids in NC year in and year out you’ll see they are offered by both UNC & NC State. If that’s the case what does it say about NC State if they are going after the same kids?

        Now if you want to talk about what happens after a kid gets into UNC and whether the classes they took met acceptable academic standards…I think there are some real legitimate questions there, worthy of discussion.

        But to talk about admissions…you’re focusing on the wrong part of the argument. They are the same as every other school.

  13. Bill says:

    I don’t know which side to believe. how can one decipher? Bloomberg BusinessWeek or some guy named Bradley Bethel? The Raleigh N&O or ManateeHeel? really, how can anyone come to any sort of consensus with all these credible sources contradicting each other?

  14. DeanSmith'sConscience says:

    Is this the best you’ve got? You keep saying you’ve fixed everything, but you’ve yet to admit what was broken that needed fixing. Nobody cares about all the dumb athletes UNCheats lets in. What people care about is how you kept them eligible through fake classes, forged signatures, and fake grades. Why is this so hard to understand?

  15. Craig Rowe says:

    Any talk of UNC on the whole being a “bad school” because of this is absolute nonsense. It’s an excellent school, as are most of the UNC-system schools. It all comes down to what you want to study. Engineering? State. English? UNC. Marine Bio? UNCW.

    Look, you can’t use the academic integrity of the school as a crutch to lean on when arguing this issue. The very problem of shoddy classes and unauthorized grade changes may be solved, and all the culprits removed. But, UNC should not be given credit for that. It’s what should happen.

    The problem lies in the fact that UNC has simply not proven that Prof. Nyan (not even attempting) and Crowder acted alone. Perhaps they did. Yet, it hasn’t been proven. When the School addresses the problem’s origin, then it may end. That’s why the issue won’t die — UNC has not adequately shared how it started and who knew.

    I find it hard to believe that even the most die-hard UNC fans don’t find it possible that the coaches knew about the classes. Of course they did. It’s okay to admit that, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good fan or anti-UNC. It just means you’re a rationale adult with an ability to thing for yourself.

    And maybe all of Willingham’s research is bogus. Maybe she made it up one night in a drunken rage about having that haircut. Fine. But how does that impact the issue of who made up the classes and alerted so many athletes (and yes, some frat guys) to their existence?

    Opponents of the N&O’s reporting (Claiming editorial bias is as childish an argument as there is. You can’t control what’s said about you. It’s a tired, pedantic stance not worthy of an entity of UNC’s reputation.) need to place blame on who made the PR decisions early on. You may not like what’s happening in the local media, but it can be solved rather easily. Guess how?

    If bias is so blatant, where are all the UNC Journalism professors?

    Wouldn’t they be able to lend credence to such an argument?

    Heck, there’s a current prof at UNC’s J school right now who was the editor of the N&O at one time. Where’s he on the bias issue? Interview him.

    Look, it always seems bias when you’re the target. You can never control the media. But you can control the message, and that’s where UNC has blown it in this mess.

    • Sharon says:

      Can you PROVE you don’t beat your kids, wife, girlfriend? No. It would have to be proven that you do beat them. How then is UNC supposed to prove Nyang’oro (take the time to learn how to spell it if you want to use it in your argument) and Crowder acted alone? The burden of proof is on you ABCers who want so badly for it to be so.

      UNC has been under the microscope of now the 8th investigation with no such proof turning up. But you and your tinfoil-hat-conspiracy ilk don’t care about that. The facts mean nothing if they don’t bring down banners.

      • Teri O says:

        Amen Sharon, as I said way earlier in this pissing contest; that’s ALL the ABCer’s want to HEAR, and BANNERS are NOT COMING DOWN, deal with it and move on, or spend yet ANOTHER DECADE in mediocrity worrying MORE about UNC then your OWN 0-8 ACC season. Time for you guys to switch gears and get behind those wulfpups and quit worrying about HOW we’re beating your A$$, and start figuring out how YOU can get one for your pathetic team!!

      • Craig Rowe says:

        There’s no conspiracy. I’m not sure to what you’re referring.

        Evidence across the board, in several of the reports, shows that others knew about the classes advertised as lecture but executed as independent studies. How did those inquiring to enroll students find out about them?

        It’s reasonable to assume that they were advertised to athletic academic counselors, proven alone by Marvin Austin’s enrollment in one prior to stepping on campus.

        Do you think, honestly, that the New York Times puts front page stories that don’t matter? Or Businessweek? Even in this age of dying print. Do you think they respond or drive stories according to message board posters and blog responses?

        Say what you will about what State and Duke fans dug up, but the truth is, they dug up facts. Peppers’ transcript and what’s his head’s plagiarized paper, which got by the very professor, and department head, accountable for grading it. Maybe the Prof. (nah) was acting alone. But again, we’ll find out in court.

        You may not like to admit it, but the school you support is embroiled in a very serious scandal. Push blame to opposing fans all you like, but it won’t change the facts.

        By the way, it’s UNC that keeps starting the investigations. No one else.

  16. Al C says:

    Speaking of the ACC, in the “US News and World Report” 2013 rankings of all national universities, 14 of the 15 ACC schools were in the top 100. Duke, Notre Dame, UVa, Wake Forest and North Carolina all made the top 30.

    Ironically, the one school in the ACC that failed to make the top 100, is the school located in the same city in which the Raleigh News and Observor resides.

    • Teri O says:

      The school, like the paper, BEHIND the TIMES, and seen better days. Unfortunately, NCSux can come back from this, sadly, the N&O has ONLY this STORY, to pay it’s bills. Why do you think they are still talking about it? The IDIOTS who live in Raleigh and WENT to school there, all want to read it. The problem is, the REAL NEWS is how PATHETIC both institutions are, that THIS is ALL they LIVE FOR! The BANNERS are NOT COMING DOWN, so, crackriders, ABCer’s, GET A LIFE, the last 4 and 1/2 years have been a TOTAL WASTE of YOUR life and time, and you got NOTHING that you wanted!! MOVE ON, or spend 3 more DECADES sucking!!!!

  17. William says:

    Great read Jeff. Got to say…I enjoyed this as much as anything you’ve written. Nice work.

  18. Al C says:

    And I know I misspelled Observer.

  19. Magpie says:

    All the reforms are meaningless unless UNC gives back the things they got by cheating (i.e. championships and millions of dollars).

    When a thief comes clean he doesn’t get to keep what he stole.

  20. Dean smiths conscience says:

    And guess what the top 50 schools with best return on investment just came out. That means you can get a good job after you graduate. Let’s see, there’s NCSU, Clemson, etc. No EweNC to be found. Not that this has anything to do with the athletic cheating scandal.

    • Sharon says:

      So I guess you missed the US News and World Report that once again ranked UNC #1 in the nation in the Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges for 2014

  21. Al C says:

    Return on investment? Lol.
    It’s easy to have a high return when the investment is miniscule.

    If you spent as much time trying to actually do something that commands respect as you do blaming others for your failures, you might have a chance of cracking the top 100 yourselves one day. You might even win something on the field of play. Sad lot.

  22. Fan says:

    If unc recruited from the same pool as everyone else and didn’t have all these good systems they have now, then how did they have such a high APR and low casualty rate to brag about?

  23. Mike says:

    I think what is lost in the discussion is that it is not an ncaa violation to have easy courses- as long as they are available to all students and not solely for athletes. These classes were known to be easy and all students took them. While embarassing to unc’s acedemic rep, its not an ncaa issue.

  24. Dean smiths conscience says:

    You are correct mike, easy classes are not an NCAA violation, however fake classes and unauthorized grade I changes to keep athletes eligible is an NCAA violation.

  25. Mike says:

    It wasnt a fake class. Students, athletes and non athletes, turned in work. You can argue it wasnt rigorous enough but it was an actual class.

    • laxtonto says:

      Actually, you can.

      For a class, any class, to be considered a legitimate course, it is required to meet the standards put forth by both the accrediting body and the state governing body. There are also requirements put forth by the NCAA, but they are minimal.

      So rigor is required and there are thresholds to meet. That should be fairly evident just by looking at how minimum requirements set for the various degrees. So far, none of that has been discussed, because there are no real syllabi available. Combine that with the consistent shield of FERPA and there is very little available information regarding the legitimate validity of these courses and does the rigor of these course match that of the course they are supposed to be mirroring.

      I am curious how this oversight has been accomplished, due the many entities requiring both a course syllabus and comprehensive course tracking for individual course.

      Additionally, at some point is there the question about a state/federal fraud indictment, due to the use of financial aid monies as well as state subsides to pay tuition for these course that are may be shown to not have met. At some point, there are some very interesting subtopics in this entire affair that need to be further addressed.

      • Sharon says:

        Nyang’oro billed the state of NC for regular classes and then taught them as independant study classes. That’s not fake, it’s fraud.

  26. costner says:

    Does anyone really want to see what’s going on in the UNC system. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Do a side by side comparative analysis of UNC, NCS and ECU. Let’s see who’s admitting who and how they have progressed during their time at each.

    Let’s compare admission credentials, SATs, ACTs, GPAs and see where each stacks up. It would cost very little to do, provided each school cooperates and would shed some light on the quality of student athlete each school is admitting.

    There has been a great deal of exploration and scrutiny afforded the NC kids for a while now. Let’s do the same at the other two and see what shakes out.

    • marty says:

      My understand is that your suggestion has already been presented to some members of the BOG for the UNC system but they are reluctant to push the idea. I suspect they feel the idea would not be well received by some of the schools.

      I’m not sure how much could be learned from that type of analysis that isn’t already known anyway, although it is an interesting idea.

      • costner says:

        Oh I think a great deal could be learned. First and foremost, some of these cries about “academic integrity” which are nothing more than rivalry based hubris could be exposed for what they really are.

        The other thing is those of us living in the area all know athletes that have been admitted and played at each of these schools, so, we all know what type of students they are and how qualified they might be based on high school performance. I know at least a half dozen myself, three of which were very fortunate to make it to high school graduation, yet are performing flawlessly, supposedly, at “other” area schools. How does that happen?

        Let’s get that out in the open and compare, player by player, school by school and see who is underprepared and who isn’t and which school decided to bring them in.

        Like I said it would be relatively inexpensive and would answer many questions.

        Spending a day in class learning how to accurately mix 2 cycle oil for the correct operation of a string trimmer might be a class that meets but is it a class that needs to meet?

    • SCOTTY says:

      I think we all know how that would look Costner. NCSU fans don’t want to open that can of worms. UNC’s revenue athletes have significantly higher incoming GPA’s and test scores than their own athletes and that has always been the case. How are less academically gifted NCSU athletes getting through? Hmmm I wonder. They aren’t concerned about academic integrity unless it relates to their rival. They are way more concerned about anything UNC does than what they do. That is why their athletic program has been so poor for so long. If NCSU had the same admissions standards as UNC for athletes they would be the doormat of the ACC (They’re already close). I would love to have an equal playing field statewide but they will never go for that. UNC will always be the premier institution both academically and athletically and NCSU fans are having a hard time dealing with that.

  27. Craig Rowe says:

    My dad can beat up your dad. Our kids are smarter than your kids. So pointless. It all averages out. Stop it already. Like a bunch of young dogs distracted by the simplest of movements across the room. “Oh, look over there, a ball rolled.”

    Once again, perhaps Willingham is 100% wrong. Fine.

    But, does that explain why Prof. N. created the classes? If he was simply lazy, looking to bill his employer, why did Crowder help him? Why did an e-mail read “The frat crowd is catching on to these classes … ”

    It’s not about easy classes, it’s about classes advertised as one thing, executed as another and put in front of primarily athletes. All athletes? No. But mostly athletes? Yes. And, when the frat crowd moves in, were they supposed to say, “Sorry, you can’t take this class, it’s only for athletes.”? How would that have looked?

    If they were perfectly legal and above board, why was Prof. N. indicted? He’s due in court, you know. And, if he reveals more in this case, and he’s a direct source, what then? More bias?

    Now, Mr. Greenberg, if you and Bethel really want to get to the bottom of this, stop going after what the N&O reports and what its sources make public on their own, and start doing your own research.

    The FOIA makes that entirely possible. I worked in communications for a UNC-system school and I can tell you, citizens hold a great deal of power when they know how to execute and organize it. It was a pain in my ass, but for them, it’s very effective.

    Facts are not bias. If you can prove what media is saying is untrue, then you’ll be right. As long as facts exist, media is free to report them all day, all night. Your issue, ultimately, is with the facts existing. But you can’t stop that, you can only hope to constrict the source.

    Do your part as a taxpayer of NC and I assume, a UNC alumnus (alum isn’t a word, by the way, everyone needs to stop using it), and find out.

    Aren’t you invested in the good name of UNC-Chapel Hill?

    If you want to end the reporting of redundancies, then find some new facts. Or wait until the trial.

  28. Joe says:

    Great interview Jeff

  29. matthew says:

    Here’s an idea. Any student athlete that Mary has supposedly championed that feels he/she was not served appropriately by UNC, bring them back, on the university’s dime and offer them the opportunity to pursue any degree listed in the UNC catalog.

    Use the 183, or the 179, or the 176 (number depends on which side of the bed Mary got up on each morning) and make them that offer in writing. Give them 12 months to respond, accept or decline. Allow them to choose whether or not to keep their existing degree or toss it aside and begin anew. Allow them to keep any of the required courses they took that might apply to another degree, or toss it all and start fresh. Explain in detail that nothing outside the educational process will be required of them. There will be no practice, no games, no pressure. Just a written statement that they feel they were exploited and victimized by UNC and that they have chosen to accept UNC’s offer to make a real education available to them. Or, a written statement that they are perfectly satisfied with the way they were treated while at UNC and with the educational opportunities that were presented to them during that time.

    There are several multimillionaires included in that group that would probably be willing to help finance the effort of those that choose to take advantage of the offer.

    I think that would be an interesting concept.

  30. Garland says:

    Don’t give the ABC’ers facts, they can’t handle it. Some of you are correct when you say that these people, (and I use that term loosely) are more interested with trying to discredit anything UNC than supporting their own team.

    The Central Prison fans are MAD about students taking easy courses, while their student Athletes, are on Drugs and going around beating up and robbing 70+ year old Bus Drivers!

    I just hope Debbie Cow runs their Athletic program in the ground much like she did at Maryland, I think she’s well on her way!!

    • Teri O says:

      BUT, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!!!!! ALL of their athletes are 3.0 and higher, in Engineering Majors, dang, I can’t even write that without LMAO!!! As was mentioned earlier, THEY DON’T WANT ANYONE looking in THAT closet. Let’s face it, their NON-athletes aren’t even that bright, what do you expect from their jocks??? After all, how many classes can you take about how to spread the manure on your farm????? People in STICK houses, shouldn’t play with fire!!!! They REALLY need to try pulling for their teams though and quit worrying about what we’re doing. Like I said, they have wasted 8 YEARS of their lives NOW, the first four at NCSUX, then the last four, and WE STILL HAVE OUR BANNERS!!!!!!! GET A LIFE!!! IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON!!!!!! You are NOT going to get your wish! AND that FOOTBALL team of yours, really needs some love, they have no where to go but UP after last year!!! THAT’S where you need to be focusing your attention now! This WITCH HUNT IS OVER!!! YOU LOST– I know you’re USE TO THAT!!!! This one is really hard to swallow, huh??? Time to move on! GO HEELS!!!!!!

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