Here is a story from the News & Observer today. This is the lead story. Not the sports section, mind you. This on the front page. Marvin Austin was the catalyst for the investigation into the UNC athetic department last summer. He is now trying to make the NY Giants team as a rookie.
Austin entered UNC as a highly recruited 5-star defensive lineman. In high school Marvin was not a standout student. His grades and test scores could never have qualified him for admission to UNC, except that he was a football player on scholarship. What makes this story interesting is how UNC treated Austin upon admission. He had a poor score on the writing portion of his SAT that barely allowed him to be admitted. Yet, in his first semester at UNC he was allowed to take a senior level course in African Studies. This is not all bad. But, in this case, the professor was the same one who failed to catch the flagrant plagiarism in Michael McAdoo's term paper.
Marvin made a B+ in the course. He took two other African Studies classes and made B- in both. He also took remedial math and English classes. His partial transcript was included in the print edition, but was removed from the online story. Marvin was a rising Senior on the football field and had not taken a real college level Math class through his Sophomore year. According to the transcript, he had a 2.21 GPA. UNC refused to comment or release his official up to date transcript.
I am a proud resident of the State of North Carolina. I love it here and this embarrasses me deeply. My 18-year old is making her college decision and decided her grades (top 15% with 3.90 average) and ACT scores (23 composite) are not good enough for UNC. She made an A in honors Physics last year and I know she is smart enough to do well at any school, but the UNC admissions process appears too difficult for her. Yet, Marvin Austin got in and stayed eligible for three seasons. That is, until he screwed it up by Tweeting how much fun he was having courtesy of a pro agent.
To their credit, UGA cleaned up much of this crap after the Jan Kemp scandal. I had no idea a school like UNC allowed this to happen. UNC has a great reputation. At least, until now.
I am sure we have majors, and professors, the athletic department looks at with greater favor and points their marginal students in their direction. Some of you are current or recent students. Are remedial course taught at Tech? Are they a part of the core curriculum? This story hit me the wrong way this morning. I know we will never have the fan base of UNC or UGA. We are always working up hill in recruiting. Our coaches have to work harder getting kids admitted and keeping them eligible. We all accept that as part of being a fan at Ga Tech. Duke and Wake Forest have the same problem.
Am I the only one pissed about this? Maybe I am upset because it comes on the heels of the huge scandal in Miami. Also, I have not gotten over us having to vacate the ACC Championship because it's not certain Bay Bay's cousin gave him the clothes. I agree with NCAA President Mark Emmert that fundamental changes are required. Maybe we can start by making the college athletics feel more like amateur sports and not like pro sports. Maybe ESPN is not as important as they like to think.
Whew. I feel better now.
Updated: One of my UNC friends alerted me to an error in my post. Eng 101 and 102 are, in fact, college level classes. The Eng 100 class is remedial for anyone making less than 460 on the SAT Writing test.