May 22, 2018
NBA Legend David Robinson Hammers UNC Over Scandal
The NCAA may not be punishing the University of North Carolina over the academic fraud scandal, but that doesn’t mean the school is completely out off the hook. Since the FBI investigation, the NCAA has created the “Commission on College Basketball,” a committee to investigate what happened at UNC and to take steps to keep it from happening ever again.
While the commission is led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, perhaps the member most are watching is former NBA all-star, David Robinson. The Hall of Famer had some harsh words for UNC after reviewing the facts of the case, calling the scandal, among other things, the “most disappointing thing I’ve seen since I’ve been watching sports…” Robinson added:
“If you’re going to promise education, and you say this is our big benefit to you is giving you a potential to make $1 million more over your lifetime because we give you a great education, then you say the classes we gave you weren’t valid… then I have a real problem with that and that’s probably the most damaging thing I’ve seen personally.”
At the heart of the scandal are a group of classes UNC officials initially agreed were “fraudulent,” before reversing course in a clear effort to avoid NCAA sanctions. When learning about that, Robinson delivered his most scathing comments:
“It undermines everything we talk about with here’s the value of what we’re giving these kids. Then we’re undermining the value of what we’re giving the kids. … If you have a system where you’re not really giving the kids what you promised, it does kind of look like, you know, slavery or just a really bad system…”
The damage, here, to UNC is not just what’s being said, but who’s saying it. While the scandal has made the news, the general public has largely not paid too much attention to. However, basketball fans revere Robinson, and his statements on the case will certainly be weighed and considered.
But there’s another angle to the comments that could create even more of a communication and fan relations issue, not just for UNC but for the entire NCAA. There is a growing movement in the country to try to force the NCAA to begin paying student athletes. College athletics has long since argued that the education the students receive is just recompense for a system that can make huge amounts of money for the school. But, if the “education” being offered is “fraudulent,” there are many others who will begin echoing what Robinson is suggesting.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.