Joe Ovies

Some UNC fans see 'fake news' in NYT 'fake classes' story

Posted April 1

The New York Times did their classic New York Times thing, where the writer of the story parachutes into a long-simmering topic that has been exhaustively covered by the local press and industry publications. Given North Carolina is playing in back-to-back Final Fours while they wait for the NCAA to wrap up the academic portion of their nearly decade long scandal, the Times must have said, "hey, what's up with the Tar Heels, shouldn't they have been punished by now?"

And so, here we are, with a warmed-over look inside North Carolina's academic woes. The New York Times even gave it a really pretentious social media lede because that's what they do best.

Michael Powell, a Sports of the Times columnist, went for "North Carolina Academic Fraud Bingo" in the paper. It's got references to "fake classes," love for Dan Kane of the News & Observer, quotes from professor Jay Smith, heavy usage of the Wainstein Report, a dash of racial component, and throws in Rashad McCants for good measure. I can only assume Mary Willingham was not available for comment.

North Carolina fans on Twitter are understandably rolling their eyes since the article offered nothing new. However, one must consider the demographic that peruses The New York Times sports section, which only appears on the weekends. The folks Powell is speaking to are most likely aware the NCAA Tournament exists, they probably filled out an office pool bracket, and know North Carolina is one of the name brand participants. They probably know the Tar Heels have been part of some very bad thing, probably thought it wrapped up since the last time they saw them play basketball, and are slightly surprised to see the NCAA still hasn't ruled a thing.

That's about it.

Should we expect better out of The New York Times? Perhaps. But this is the same newspaper that suggested peas in your guacamole recipe. You win some, you lose some.

So consider my amusement when I see people I follow on Twitter, who routinely point out the great work of The New York Times in matters of non-sports news, completely drag the same newspaper because they didn't like the angle taken on North Carolina.

After I pointed the irony of throwing out "fake news" over a story on "fake classes," Twitter did what it does best. I got spammed with Han Solo gifs.

Y'all don't have to say you love me.

I know.

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