Each were cited as examples of "doing it the right way."
There was "The Carolina Way," the self-described motto the University of North Carolina gladly accepted as the way their virtuous athletic department went about its business.
There was Penn State's way, which really meant Joe Paterno's way, the Nittany Lions football patriarch exalted as the rare coach who cared more about academics and rules than winning at all costs.
The past couple of weeks have brought more evidence that both were/are primarily myths, glaring examples of how in many ways college athletics has lost its way.
Much like Kentucky, North Carolina is known as a "basketball school" with hopes of someday building a football power. After failures outnumbered accomplishments in that regard, UNC turned to Butch Davis, the former Jimmy Johnson protégé and University of Miami head coach, in an effort to start playing football with the big boys.
The result has been all but ruinous to the school's lofty reputation. Carolina started acting like the big boys, all right. Rule-breaking. Relationships with agents. Near constant chicanery. It's all the usual machinations that land a football program on NCAA probation, which the Tar Heels currently find themselves serving.
Even worse, however, may be the recent allegations of academic irregularities and downright fraud.
One charge: Athletes were pushed to take Swahili as their foreign language requirement because of tutors who were fluent in the language.
In another instance, the NCAA found that a tutor had committed academic fraud by writing papers for defensive end Michael McAdoo, who has since filed suit against both the NCAA and the school.
Then two weeks ago, the Raleigh News and Observer reported allegations that classes were assembled for the sole purpose of keeping athletes eligible.
A total of 54 classes with little or no instruction were found on the UNC schedule, most with a high enrollment of athletes. Eighteen of the 19 students in one class were football players.
This comes on the heels of allegations that Marvin Austin, a defensive lineman, took an upper-level summer class in African-American studies, and received a B-plus, before he had even been on campus for a full semester.
Austin was able to take the class even though his low SAT score required that he take a remedial writing class, which he did in his first fall semester.
That is the "Carolina Way" you don't hear much about.
Outside of the rather remote surroundings of Penn State, you heard little beyond Joe Paterno's commitment to academics, abiding by NCAA rules, and good works. He was more than a winning football coach but an icon representing what the sport was supposed to be about.
Where Penn State got into trouble was its commitment to assuring that's all you would know about Paterno and his program.
With former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's conviction Friday on 45 counts of committing unspeakable acts against young boys, we have a jury's confirmation of sinister acts in Happy Valley.
The next question is to what lengths did the school and its administration go to cover up Sandusky's crimes and protect the reputation of Paterno and his program.
Thing is, these days, universities are as much (if not more) in the public relations business as the academic business. Athletics cannot only bring in big dollars, it can bring much-needed attention and publicity. Think of the free advertising Alabama and LSU received at last season's BCS Championship Game, or Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville and Ohio State received at this year's Final Four. Sports success is a conduit schools use to improve their profile.
Some schools even point to their athletics programs as extensions of the university's commitment to doing things "the right way."
Two of the more high-profile examples, however, seem to have lost their way.
John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com