Among the various questions Roy Williams fielded at ACC Media Day was yet another foray in the academic scandal. Williams was specifically asked about Chancellor Holden Thorp's statements that UNC would raise academic standards for athletes. Via Inside Carolina, Williams doesn't think that is going to happen(emphasis mine.)
“I’m not so sure that everything that appeared was exactly what Chancellor Thorp meant,” Williams said at the ACC Operation Basketball media event. “I personally don’t think that anybody in the ACC is going to try to do any of those new measures before everybody else does them.
“I’m not trying to criticize my chancellor here, because I love him to death, but there are some things that can’t be done. It’s just not right, not fair and not giving somebody time to prepare. I don’t know that that’s going to be done.”
Williams stressed that North Carolina has always had high standards and that he’s not against those standards.
“I don’t see us just jumping out of the window and doing something crazy now,” Williams said. “We’ve had a problem; we’re trying to fix the problem. We’re making a lot of changes for the problem, but to me, I think that we’re trying to move ahead.”
The 10th-year UNC head coach said he's received no indication about a change being made prior to the 2016 mandate.
“Nobody’s told me we’re going to do those things,” Williams said.
Translation? Holden Thorp might be on his own here and since he is essentially a lame duck chancellor, it will be interesting to see if he is able to enact anything he has suggested. Roy Williams coming out in such a public way to oppose what Thorp proposed probably puts the brakes on it actually happening anytime soon. In fact Williams is basically saying that the standards are already higher than most schools thus raising them before anyone else does would be foolhardy.
And he would be correct in that assessment. If you recall, NC State went down this road in 1990 when, under faculty pressure, the basketball program was emasculated via tighter academic restrictions. Thorp's comments lean in that direction though in UNC's case the faculty is nowhere near as noisy on the subject as their Wolfpack brethren 22 years ago. One significant reason behind that is the current scandal started with an academic department head and goes beyond just athletes.
Ultimately, the academic standards for athletes had no bearing on the actions of Julius N'yangoro nor does raising them alleviate the real problems surrounding those student-athletes who are only in school because of their athletic prowess. In that respect the focus should be more on oversight of athletes(and classes) once they arrive not on necessarily raising admission standards. The problem UNC faces did not necessarily stem from the kind of students being allowed in but rather a breakdown in the system used to maintain the charade of the student-athlete. Granted it is important not to overload that system with students incapable of doing the work. However, any real reforms must account for the whole systems not just who is allowed through the door.