John Clay: If Harvard, Duke and Tar Heels are cheating, isn't everybody?

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 11, 2012 

Harvard Cheating Investigation Basketball

FILE - In Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, Harvard's Kyle Casey (30) celebrates after he scored against Penn in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Philadelphia. Casey plans to withdraw from school amid a cheating scandal that also may involve other athletes, according to several reports. Sports Illustrated and the Harvard Crimson reported Tuesday that Casey, a senior, would withdraw in an attempt to preserve a year of eligibility once the issue is resolved. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr, File)


Turns out, it's true.

If you're not cheating, you're not trying.

And everybody is cheating.


After all the diamond-buying and grade-fixing and memorabilia-selling and scandal-hiding that has come to light at the so-called "model" programs recently, surely we can agree that everybody is at least bending the rules, if not snapping them in half?

Everybody's hands are dirty.

Why on a Tuesday full of trouble we found out that Harvard — that's right, Harvard — leading scorer Kyle Casey had withdrawn from school amid allegations that he and possibly another basketball player were involved in an academic cheating scandal involving the class "Government 1310: Introduction to Congress."

I know what you're asking: Isn't cheating the appropriate introduction for anyone learning about the U.S. Congress?

This is Harvard we're talking about. An Ivy League school. They don't even give athletic scholarships there. They don't even hold a post-season conference basketball tournament. Their football teams don't even go to bowl games.

And, yet, this looks like the same sort of cheating that rocked Florida State back in the last decade, the same sort of academic irregularities that has North Carolina in hot water over in Chapel Hill.

And then, speak of the Heels, on Troubled Tuesday, we found out that the mother of former North Carolina basketball star Tyler Hansbrough was not only employed by North Carolina, but had taken administrative leave from UNC amid allegations that she and her superior had taken personal trips at the university's expense.

The kicker: According to the Raleigh News and Observer "those trips appear to have included destinations where her other son, Ben Hansbrough, then a star basketball player at Notre Dame, was playing."

Seems Tami Hansbrough, divorced from Hansbrough's father, was making $95,000 a year as a major gifts officer, a job that she had held since December 8, 2008.

If you check your calendar, that would be the December of Tyler Hansbrough's senior year at North Carolina and the same basketball season, 2008-09, in which the Tar Heels won the national championship.

As a friend on Facebook commented, "How ironic that Tyler's mom was caught for 'traveling' but Psycho T never was."

But then, speak of the (Blue) Devils, we were already reeling from the news that somehow former Duke basketball player Lance Thomas was being sued for non-payment involving a $97,000 jewelry purchase made while Thomas was a starting forward on Duke's 2010 national championship team.

Maybe they should rename the Research Triangle the Scandal Triangle.

Come on now, all this comes after the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal at THE Ohio State University and a Penn State mess so ugly and depressing we won't even rehash the details. What's the point?

Remind me, again, are Penn State and Ohio State in the Big Ten's Legends Division or the Leaders Division?

It would be easy to think that there are no legends or leaders in college athletics these days, especially up at club headquarters, otherwise known as the NCAA.

Mark Emmert and his secret agents have apparently dismissed the North Carolina academic scandal — student-athletes were directed toward African-American studies classes that had little or no instruction — and there were reports Tuesday that Lance Thomas' jeweler had refused to cooperate with the NCAA.

Critics claim they've seen this movie before and predict the NCAA will merely shrug and say, "Oh, well, nothing more to be seen here."

After all, no NCAA basketball champion has ever had to vacate a title.

And yet, when that is even thought to be a possibility with programs such as Duke and North Carolina, how could you not think one thing and only one thing?

Everybody's cheating.

John Clay: 859-231-3226. Blog: Twitter: @johnclayiv.

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