Athletics

Amid Rumors, Cheerleading Team Suspended

The cheerleading team at Coastal Carolina University was suspended indefinitely last week, leading to many questions and rumors but little clarity, The Sun News reported.

A spokesman for the university confirmed that the team is being investigated, but he would not go into details.

A local TV station, WMBF News, spoke with an unnamed cheerleader who said the university president received an anonymous letter about the team’s activities. Those allegations included prostitution, buying alcohol for minors on the team and paying people to complete class assignments for them.

After those allegations began to circulate last Thursday, the cheerleading team sent out a statement about “false accusations.”

“At this point in time, we no longer wish to be contacted about the current situation. The false accusations have led to harassment on campus as well as through social media and are beginning to negatively impact our daily lives as well as our studies,” the statement, which was intended to represent the entire 20-person cheerleading team, said. “As a team we ask the community to support us through these tough times, as we hope the situation will be cleared up shortly.”

The team’s website has been changed to redirect to the general university spirit page, and the cheerleaders will no longer be performing in a national competition later this month.

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Costs of UNC Athletics Scandal Near $18M

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has accrued nearly $18 million in legal costs stemming from the decades-long scandal involving fake classes that appeared to benefit athletes disproportionately, The News & Observer reported.

The $17.6 million spent to date has gone toward an NCAA investigation, lawsuits filed by former athletes against the university, several law firms representing the institution, public relations costs to manage the scandal and the review, redaction and release of public records to news organizations. UNC has produced at least 1.7 million records related to the investigation.

UNC will not be paying off those legal costs with tuition dollars or state funds, officials told The News & Observer, and it’s very likely the university will be billed for additional legal fees in the coming months, as some of the lawsuits are ongoing.

The scandal in question spanned about 18 years and involved over 3,000 students -- half of them athletes. Some UNC employees were pushing students to take “paper classes” that were not taught by university faculty members and did not meet in person. In these courses, students received high marks on the single required assignment regardless of accuracy or quality.

It is widely considered one of the most far-reaching cases of academic fraud in higher education history.

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The NCAA women's basketball tournament, if academics mattered most

Our annual look at who would win the NCAA's Division I women's basketball tournament if academics trumped athletic skill.

Facing scrutiny, college sports organizations ramp up lobbying efforts

In December, an association representing the country's top athletics directors created a political action committee. It joins the National Collegiate Athletic Association's own lobbying efforts, which have more than doubled in the past five years.

Q&A with the author of new book on 'how to fix' college sports

A new book argues that the NCAA "has lost its way in the governance of intercollegiate athletics" and that the association is incapable of achieving reform.

At NCAA meeting, college sports leaders recommend supporting athlete protests

At NCAA meeting, college sports leaders say institutions should support athletes' right to protest and urge colleges to communicate better with their players.

Minnesota coach's support of team's protest draws criticism

Minnesota football team has ended its boycott over the suspensions of 10 players accused of sexual assault, but coach’s comments in support of the team continue to draw criticism as taking sides against woman who brought complaint of gang rape.

Minnesota football players end boycott as details emerge about why 10 players were suspended

Boycott by football players focused on issues of due process for 10 suspended athletes. But as university's investigation into sexual assault revealed damning details, support for the athletes ebbed and boycott was dropped.

Minnesota Football Players End Boycott

University of Minnesota football players on Saturday announced that they were ending their boycott of football activities, a boycott that they earlier suggested would extend to refusing to play in the Holiday Bowl.

The football players said they were boycotting to protest the suspension of 10 players on the team. The university did not announce a reason for the suspensions, but they are believed to be related to a sex assault investigation in which police declined to bring charges. A series of documents that have come out since the boycott started show that the university's investigation found that some suspended players violated rules barring sexual assault and others violated rules against sexual harassment.

Eric W. Kaler (right), president of the university, met with players after they declared their boycott but insisted that he would not reverse the suspensions, citing the importance of university "values" that may extend beyond legal standards of what constitutes criminal conduct.

In a statement released Friday, Kaler said, "One of my jobs as president is to put our institutional values at the forefront of all we do and ensure our actions are aligned with those values. This principle is far more important than any football game and the university community as a whole, and it is more important than any single athletic team. Some of the values that we hold, as a community, include: every member of the university community deserves to be treated with respect. Our student-athletes are important representatives of the university, and when they wear the M, they are held to a high standard of conduct. When the expectations for conduct are not met, there are consequences."

A statement from the football team announcing the end of the boycott started by declaring that "sexual harassment and violence against women have no place on this campus, on our team, in our society and at no time is it condoned." While the statement said the team members continue to have concerns about due process and "a lack of communication," it added that it has become clear the suspensions will not be lifted. The football players' statement said they were ending their boycott based on assurances that the suspended players would receive due process, and that support would be shown for the "character" of "the great majority" of players.

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Education Department's historic sanction against Penn State for Clery violations, Sandusky's abuse

Identifying a football culture that protected athletes and officials, the Education Department will fine Penn State U nearly $2.4 million for failing to notify students about assistant coach charged with sex abuse and for failing to disclose other campus crimes.

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