This unfortunate anniversary would probably be less depressing if UNC wasn't still mired neck deep in the repercussions of the scandal that burst onto the scene less than two months after Austin's tweet was sent.
Five years later, the tweet operates in urban legend territory.
When it was first discovered, the theory went that Austin was tweeting from a swanky club in South Beach about getting free champagne, a clear NCAA issue. As it turns out, Austin was simply tweeting a line from a song by Rick Ross, probably from the airport.
The notion Austin was at the club has been dismissed by Austin himself and disproved by our own Doc Kennedy. While the tweet itself was ultimately benign, Austin's Twitter feed in general included plenty of red flags, ones UNC didn't pick up on, eliciting the first-ever failure to monitor social media charge from the NCAA.
Regardless of the tweet's content, it does serve as a marker in time. It is the proverbial splash point for UNC's five years of troubles.
At the time, it was believed to be a minor ripple. There was the belief in the first month or so that this issue would be isolated to two players, Austin and Greg Little, with each probably missing just the opener versus LSU in Atlanta. Those pie-in-the-sky predictions soon caved to the reality: the NCAA had launched a full-blown probe of the entire football program.
Looking at tweets became reviewing emails and asking players to hand over their phones to review text messages. UNC opted for full cooperation, which is best described as bending over and letting the NCAA have anything it requested. What was originally thought to be a minor eligibility case involving two players morphed into a scandal that engulfed the entire football program, resulting in a postseason ban, probation, scholarship reductions and multiple suspended and banned players.
The football scandal was just the beginning. Digging around into the academic element of that scandal uncovered the AFAM paper classes. That portion of the scandal has now lasted longer than the original football investigation did. What was seen as a ripple on the surface of the water in 2010 has become a cataclysmic tidal wave in 2015, threatening to crush the Tar Heel athletic department.
In July, 2010, the birth of the football scandal led to speculation and waiting. Five years later, with UNC preparing to release a second notice of allegations to the public, the waiting and speculation continues.