David Ridpath, president of the Drake Group, is concerned the NCAA let UNC walk away from the scandal relatively unharmed, yet it disciplined NCSU for a player’s actions that were legal under both NCSU and OSU’s guidelines.
“There are some schools that are more valuable to the association than others, and it would’ve been quite damaging if North Carolina was punished as it should’ve been,” Ridpath said.
He said he thinks deeming Braxton Beverly ineligible is ridiculous, considering the amount of evidence against UNC, years of systematic work, compared to the small-scale nature of NCSU’s offense.
“This poor kid. He took a class at Ohio State,” Ridpath said. “Who really gives a flip?”
Ridpath sees the NCSU decision as an example of the NCAA abusing its academic oversight powers, and he thinks its role in education should be diminished.
“The NCAA says it’s not supposed to get involved with curricular decisions," he said. "But here, they’re getting involved in a curricular decision."
Students at NCSU were outraged when the news broke. NCSU sophomore Xavier McKinley said it seemed like the NCAA exposed a double standard in its decision making.
“It’s ridiculous they cracked down so hard on our basketball program,” he said. “Everything that happened with us was clean; (Beverly) just took a class. It’s nothing compared to what was going on at Chapel Hill.”
Kenneth Janken, a professor in UNC’s African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Department, was perturbed by the whole affair and is eager to put the scandal in the past.
“People that thought — that the NCAA would make things right — were not only mistaken, but were fooling themselves,” he said.
Ridpath compared the recent scandal at UNC to one he faced while working as an administrator at Marshall University in 2001.
He said a teacher at Marshall wanted the class’s student-athletes to gain access to the final exam, but eventually it fell into the hands of the entire class. This benefited all students, not just the athletes.
“The NCAA raked us over the coals for that,” he said, referring to the punishments levied on Marshall.
Ridpath said he finds it troubling that despite the similarities between the Marshall and UNC cases, the NCAA still didn't act in Chapel Hill, yet ruled the NC State player ineligible.
“Don’t make decisions about curriculum or what this poor kid did, and then come back and say North Carolina didn’t break NCAA bylaws,” he said.