ACC M5: New Year’s Eve Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 31st, 2012


  1. Raleigh News & Observer: After the Martin Report investigating North Carolina was released, it raised numerous more questions than answers. It also reflects several inconsistencies that point to one of three things: (1) people lied to Jim Martin, (2) people lied to N&O reporter Dan Kane, or (3) there was a serious lack of depth to the report that failed to check those assertions. Kane went through the committee minutes and didn’t find evidence of “red flags being raised” and confirmed that with a member of the committee himself. He also points out some (damning but circumstantial) anecdotal evidence as a counterexample to the Martin Report’s assertion that this isn’t an athletic scandal. Don’t think we’ve seen the last of this.
  2. Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas comes from a basketball family. His mom and dad both played in college, and two years ago his sister was the ACC Rookie of the Year. He’s still very raw — especially on the offensive end — but he’s extremely aggressive, a solid rebounder and already a good shot-blocker. If Thomas can cut down on his turnovers and hit some more shots, he’ll be a very good player for Jeff Bzdelik in time.
  3. Baltimore Sun: It’s pretty generous to say Maryland‘s non-conference schedule was “too soft.” Right now the Terrapins’ strength of schedule is a below average #265 out of 347, according to the still evolving RPI. According to Ken Pomeroy and Jeff Sagarin the slate rates an even more pathetic #341 and #343, respectively. Outside of the Terps’ opening game against Kentucky, there’s been no substance to speak of.  Next up: IUPUI. Then conference play. Needless to say, it’s hard to know exactly where the Terrapins stand going into ACC play, but the league really needs Mark Turgeon’s team to be good this season.
  4. Macon Ledger-Inquirer: Speaking of schedules best described as a “parade of pre-ACC pretenders,” Georgia Tech is also wrapping up its non-conference schedule against the terrifying Chattanooga Mocs (which is short for “mockingbirds” if you were curious). Georgia Tech’s cupcake schedule makes a lot more sense than Maryland’s, though, for one reason — this truly is a rebuilding year in Atlanta. The NIT is a more reasonable goal for the Yellow Jackets than the NCAA Tournament, so the non-conference schedule is more of a confidence builder and tune-up than a resume. That said, as the last two articles illustrate, ACC play could be a real wake-up call for a lot of teams.
  5. USA Today: Bad news out of Coral Gables, as Reggie Johnson will yet again miss a significant portion (six to eight weeks) of the season with an injury. This time it’s a left thumb fracture that has already caused Johnson to miss the past two games. The really unfortunate part about the news is that Johnson has always seemed to be on the cusp of greatness. Likewise, this seemed like Miami’s year to put together a run and contend in the league. We’ll have a more thorough analysis of what Johnson’s injury means for the Hurricanes a little later this morning.
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Martin Report About UNC Academics Released: Leaves Questions Unanswered

Posted by mpatton on December 20th, 2012

North Carolina released the independent report from former governor James Martin Thursday morning and a lot people aren’t happy. Admittedly biased rival fans aren’t satisfied (or here), and North Carolina fans and alumni aren’t either. The primary reason for people’s disdain is simple: The report doesn’t add much, in substance, to what was already known. Yes, Martin throws out some statistics about the number of grade changes investigated, but the major players weren’t interviewed. That means Julius Nyang’oro (the head of the African American Studies department, who taught many of the fraudulent classes), Debbie Crowder (Nyang’oro’s assistant) and Wayne Walden (the counselor who came to North Carolina with Roy Williams but left in 2009 when basketball players stopped taking African American Studies classes) were not interviewed.

Jim Martin released his report on the UNC academic scandal, which left most questions unanswered. (Photo: Chris Seward / Raleigh News & Observer)

Jim Martin released his report on the UNC academic scandal, which left most questions unanswered. (Photo: Chris Seward / Raleigh News & Observer)

The report puts the onus of the scandal on the African and African American Studies department with Nyang’oro taking all the blame, but the lack of relevant interviews leads to a murky picture (emphasis added):

We were unable to discern a clear motive for establishing and offering these perverse and anomalous courses. The evidence is consistent with one hypothesis that these courses were provided for the primary purpose of enlarging the department’s enrollment, as a factor for increasing its allotted faculty positions. As a generality, no one was paid extra for having more than the normal number of these courses. There is no evidence that anyone outside of the Department office was active in its instigation and continuance. I believe personally that the big money from television contracts does distort values of collegiate sports programs; but we found no evidence that it was a factor in these anomalous courses. Despite what one might imagine, there is no evidence the Counselors, or the students, or the coaches had anything to do with perpetrating this abuse of the AFRI/AFAM curriculum, or any other.

So essentially after the Martin Report, we’re no closer to finding out why these classes existed. Were they for athletes? To increase enrollment? Because Nyang’oro loved reading 20-page research papers instead of lecturing? The paragraph above admits that the money in college athletics “does distort values” of programs, but in the same paragraph accepts absence of evidence (from what appears to be a corporeal investigation) as evidence of absence.

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