Lawmakers Ask About NCAA Role After UNC Scandal

December 11, 2014

Two congressmen sent a letter to Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Wednesday, requesting information about the association's oversight of the academic services its member colleges provide to athletes. The request was inspired by a report released in October that detailed how 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- many of them athletes -- enrolled and passed classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member.

A separate, earlier NCAA investigation into the so-called "paper classes" ended in no penalty for the university, as the courses were available to all students, not just athletes. The new report, however, found that nearly half of the students taking the courses were athletes, even though athletes made up just 4 percent of the student population.

"The NCAA’s response suggests that participation by non-student athletes in ‘no-show’ classes somehow inoculates NCAA member institutions from sanctions by their governing body," Rep. Tony Cárdenas and Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote. "Although the NCAA routinely legislates matters as mundane as meal quotas for student-athletes, its failure to sanction the use of ‘no-show’ classes calls into question the NCAA’s commitment to its educational mission.” In the letter, the lawmakers requested information about what actions the NCAA has taken in response to the report and what the association is doing to prevent similar scandals from happening at other colleges. The NCAA continues to investigate the report's claims.

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