UNC investigation tarnishes college sports ideal for some
Posted October 12, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A high school senior and a former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice agreed Wednesday that scandals have tarnished the ideal of college sports. Both spoke at the weekly luncheon of the Raleigh Sports Club.
Evan McNeil, senior quarterback for Fuquay-Varina High School, was recognized as the club’s Student-Athlete of the Week. Attorney Robert Orr, former state Supreme Court Justice and current head of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, was the group’s guest speaker.
McNeil said he looks up to college football players and was disappointed by the year-long NCAA investigation into athletics at the University of North Carolina.
“It’s kind of sad to hear about how all of these schools and athletes are getting into trouble and affecting the game that we all love to watch,” McNeil said.
Orr said the real scandal is how college athletics operate in this country.
“Start looking at real reform instead of these Band-Aid approaches,” Orr said.
Orr said the football players being blamed for wrong-doing at UNC are scapegoats of a corrupt system.
“We can take these kids and literally use them to make huge amounts of money and entertain all of us, and then say, but they don’t have any rights,” Orr said.
Orr has been a vocal critic of the NCAA's treatment of former UNC football player Michael McAdoo, who was declared permanently ineligible for academic misconduct. McAdoo is suing the NCAA and UNC saying he was ruled ineligible based on inaccurate information.
"A major problem with the NCAA disciplinary system is it consistently denies students basic due process rights," Orr said. "In addition to a lack of legal representation, in the NCAA system, the student is presumed guilty until proven innocent and is compelled to cooperate under threat of future penalty.
McNeil said he just wants to enjoy playing football and not worry about money. He said he would love to play college football at a place like North Carolina State University.
For him, the UNC investigation serves as a reminder to play by the rules on and off the field.
UNC is set to meet with the NCAA committee on infractions in Indianapolis on Oct. 28 to respond to allegations that players received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits, a former assistant coach was too chummy with an agent and a tutor gave too much academic help to select players.