On Monday night, the Villanova Wildcats (35-5) defeated North Carolina (33-7), 77-74 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Kris Jenkins to secure their second NCAA national championship in school history at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Ryan Arcidiacono who led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points was named MOP of the Final Four.
Although this was a highly successful season for the UNC Tar Heels men's basketball program, it has been overshadowed by the current NCAA investigation pertaining to academic fraud. Please keep in mind that the scope of this investigation is focused only between the years of 2002-2011. (The academic fraud occurred during 1993-2011)
In my opinion, for critics of the program to sit back and criticize these young men for any wrongdoing is preposterous and depreciates their accomplishments for the 2015-16 season. Besides, these young men weren't even enrolled at UNC when these impermissible benefits were common practice at this prestigious institution of higher learning.
Roy Williams arrived in Chapel Hill from the University of Kansas in 2003. The team he inherited during the 2003-04 season had five AFAM majors. His 2005 NCAA National Championship team had ten players that were majoring in AFAM! That's five additional since his arrival to Chapel Hill. (The Blind Eye of Roy Williams)
According to the Wainstein report, the men's basketball enrollments in paper classes declined in 2007 under Williams, four years after Williams took over as head coach.
Although it appears that it took quite a while for Williams to address his concerns in reference to the heavy use of AFAM classes by his players, I will give him a degree of credit though because he finally decided to initiate some form of action to decrease his players enrollment in these classes. I'm still not willing to give him an out through the use of plausible deniability though and neither should the NCAA. This also applies to women's head basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell!
Last summer (2015), UNC self-reported two new NCAA violations involving women's basketball and men's soccer, these revelations delayed the university's response to a previous Notice of Allegations that found the university lacked institutional control. Many felt that this was just a tactical maneuver to allow the university more time to figure out how to save the storied men's basketball program from major sanctions.
If so, you can't really fault UNC administrators for delaying the process, especially if it's allowed during NCAA investigations. The concerns of losing millions in revenue would definitely be any schools motivation to further delay the process.
Although many feel that UNC escaped the wrath of the NCAA, we should continue to allow the process to be completed before jumping to any conclusions.
I strongly feel that UNC will self-impose or receive a postseason ban for the 2016-17 season and receive a reduction of scholarships over the next few years. I'm also certain that some financial penalties will be imposed by the NCAA and ACC. Let's not forget the sanctions imposed on Syracuse and Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim in 2015.
Even though the Heels lost a heartbreaker on Monday night, they still deserve some major props for accomplishing so much under the cloud of controversy that was way beyond their control. This alone makes them winners in my book.