I know, I’ve written about the academic atrocity at UNC a few times, but obviously all I know for certain is what’s been published. I’ve made some conjectures, of course, based on what I know of how higher education is run these days. So, it’s good when a book comes out and says what I was already saying years ago.
The book is Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports, and before getting to the book, I want to talk about the reviews on Amazon, which are spit between 5 star and 1 star (mostly 5) reviews.
It’s always interesting when reviews are split like this, it means something is up. In this case, there are lots of people that buy into the “win at any cost” mentality of college sportsball. Some of the critical reviews really drive the point home of the mindset:
1.0 out of 5 stars Happens to some degree at most all schools
By jody loweon August 19, 2015
i am quite sure this must go on at all schools to some degree–do you think Duke basketball players can compete academically at Duke? Sure a few can but most would have to have significant help
I’m a little hard pressed to consider this a fair review (from someone who didn’t buy the book, no less, though I admit the person might have read it). Just because it happens to some degree at most all schools, how does that make this book, documenting the cheating going on at UNC, bad? Boring, maybe, but you’d kinda think the reviewer here would know what he was getting. So, obviously a partisan, or a plant.
Another non-buyer of the book who we have to just assume read it:
1.0 out of 5 stars Calling this disingenuous would be giving it too much credit.
By LanceC on May 28, 2015
To say this book is disingenuous in the story that it tells would be to give it too much credit. UNC clearly has some issues in regards to it’s academic program but the authors of this book are doing little more than making a fraudulent attempt at cashing in on it. If you hate UNC and are a fan of fiction this might be the book for you but if not I’d take a pass.
Again with the theme of “yeah, there are problems, but so what?” Is the book a cash-in? Quite possibly, but the UNC scandal is so heavily documented now that it’s pretty tough to call it “fiction”…and you can’t exactly call the book fiction in one line while admitting to the problems the book discusses in another. Again, I suspect something here.
Lazy. Dishonest. While there is a problem with the education of the student athlete, this book is entirely about the authors’ personal desires and ambitions. It does a disservice to the cause that they claim to champion.
Seriously, were all the negative reviews written by one guy? A few of the other negative reviews reference private e-mails that were released, “somehow.” Gee, I’ve certainly seen Admin do such things before to retaliate against a professor speaking out. So, the e-mails are supposed to destroy the credibility of the authors here…I’ll look at those e-mails, but, again, the UNC scandal is pretty well documented at this point.
The gentle reader needs to understand that the super heroic lengths admin has gone to cover up the scandal means that a reasonable person should expect that what we know now, is the bare minimum of how bad the corruption is…it’s almost certainly worse.
The 5 star reviews, of course, have a more credible theme to them, and most of the reviews are 5 stars. Let’s see what others have to say:
The book is very hard on UNC’s administration, which ignored evidence that many athletes in the big money sports…
Gee, who else has been hard on admin? Oh yeah, me. Look, administrators are not educators, they’re mercenaries. There’s nothing to stop them selling out higher education for personal profit, and ultimately, selling out is their job. Time and again I’ve seen admin come in, find out what the school had to be proud of, and cash in on the prestige to enhance their own status…before moving up to another position. Time and again I’ve been stunned at admin doing vicious, inhuman things to our kids in college (especially community college)…and then been stunned again when I learn that there’s absolutely no impediment to such monstrous behavior.
“Cheated recounts two instances when staffers told superiors that football or men’s basketball stars handed in plagiarized work. The university took swift, decisive action, the authors write: It punished those who made the reports.”
Hmm, so the book says that when faculty reported students as cheating, the faculty were punished for catching cheaters. Hmm, who else has been saying that on campuses throughout the country? Oh yeah, me.
I know the things I say in this blog are outlandish to the point of incredulity. I totally respect if readers of my blog think I’m making stuff up. Thus, I take pleasure when others report and document, in writing, exactly the same things I say here.
UNC happened to get caught, then made things worse by trying to sweep the scandal under the rug with superficial “investigations” that said, “Move along, folks, nothing to see here.”
Now, the kind of scandals going on at UNC don’t happen everywhere…but many schools have frauds, even “wide open frauds” known by hundreds, if not more, personnel at the institution. The problem is, faculty are intimidated, and the few faculty left with integrity that try to do something, merely get punished and hit with retaliation that can be both petty and bizarre.
So, while this book covers the huge scandal at UNC, I’m not beneath giving an “I told you so” when the next wide open scandal erupts…I promise you, there’ll be another one just as big, just as long-running, and just as widely known despite endless administrative attempts to squelch any investigation into the truth of the matter.
I’m pleased to see that some folks understand the academic fraud going on at UNC (and elsewhere) is far bigger than just the fake courses for athletes that—let’s face it—we all know are a part of “almost” every institution with sportsball:
Talk about exploitation of the athletes (some of them at least) is a distraction from the big picture: that many colleges and universities have decided to enroll academically weak, disengaged students and keep them in school (and thus bringing in revenue) with easy-to-pass courses and inflated grades.
This really is the ultimate reveal of the UNC scandal: if a university, even a big name university with a great reputation, decides to sell out and offer completely fake courses and bogus degrees, there is nothing, nothing, to stop it from doing so. Even if whistleblowers come forward, nothing will be done, and the scandal can run for years before finally seeing the light of day.
Next time we’ll quickly consider those private e-mails that mysteriously appeared, and, again, I’ll point out the easiest way that could have happened is if administration wanted to retaliate against the authors.