How much does Wallace Loh’s opinion on University of North Carolina athletics warrant consideration?
Many are wondering that after the University of Maryland president told the Maryland senate last week he’s surprised the NCAA hasn’t banned UNC from intercollegiate sports in the aftermath of investigations into widespread academic fraud.
“As president, I sit over a number of dormant volcanoes,” Loh said, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “One of them is an athletic scandal. It blows up, it blows up the university, its reputation, it blows up the president.
“For the things that happened in North Carolina, it’s abysmal. I would think that this would lead to the implementation of the death penalty by the NCAA. But I’m not in charge of that.”
Southern Methodist University football is the last Division I team to receive the dreaded “death penalty,” with its program having been shut down in 1987.
A university of Maryland spokesperson described Loh’s comments as wayward, saying they are “not a reflection of personal beliefs about the university or its leadership,” per Sports Illustrated.
The NCAA is investigating allegations of academic fraud concerning as many as 3,100 student athletes at UNC over 20 years.
UNC, the winner of the 2017 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, blasted Loh’s remarks.
“We were surprised that a sitting university president with no direct knowledge of our case would choose to offer such uninformed and highly speculative opinions,” Joel Curran, UNC’s Vice Chancellor of Communications wrote to the News & Observer. “Clearly, Dr. Loh misunderstands the facts of the case, and how NCAA bylaws apply to those facts. We are now preparing our response to a third Notice of Allegations and suggest he read it fully once it has been submitted to the NCAA and made public.”
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