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Former DTH editor-in-chief to publish book about UNC academic-athletic scandal

Andy Thomason, UNC, DTH alum and author of "Discredited: The UNC Scandal and College Athletics' Amateur Ideal", poses for a virtual portrait in his home on Monday Apr. 12, 2021.

Andy Thomason was a student at UNC when news of the academic-athletic scandal first broke. Now, almost a decade later, he wrote a book about it, which will be released in October. 

"Discredited: The UNC Scandal and College Athletics' Amateur Ideal" details the 2010s academic-athletic scandal that rocked the University and its athletic program, alleging UNC was unethical and provided unequal opportunities to scholarship athletes. 

Thomason was editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel in 2012. He went from covering the scandal at the DTH to covering it at the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he is now an assistant managing editor.

“When I started working at the Chronicle, I got a better understanding about how higher education works, and I found the marriage between big-time athletics and college education,” Thomason said.

In 2016, Thomason became interested in writing "Discredited" and ended up working with an editor from the University of Michigan Press. 

The book is already getting attention from around the community.

Kevin Schwartz, former general manager of the DTH, said Thomason had great leadership and a skill for writing. 

“I’m sure this will be a great book,” Schwartz said. “It is a very anticipated work because there needs to be more sources discussing this topic.”

But Thomason's book is not the first about the scandal. Jay Smith, a UNC professor, co-authored a book about the 2010 allegations — called "Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports" — that was released in 2015. Smith is just one of many sources interviewed in Thomason's book. 

“Andy is using a wider lens to consider how athletic programs mesh with academic infrastructure at universities,” Smith said. 

Thomason said he wants to continue conversations about not only the scandal itself, but also about its lasting effects.

“One of the things I want to stress is that the UNC scandal ended in 2017, but the causes and effects that fueled the scandal are extremely relevant in college athletics at large and we're seeing all of these colleges in a state,” Thomason said.

He said he hopes this book will be complex and thought-provoking for his readers. 

“This is really a story about people with understandable intentions trying to function in a system that has a lot of contradictions embedded in it,” Thomason said. 

UNC declined to comment on this story because the book is unpublished.

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