Today, the report by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein was released. It had been commissioned by the University of North Carolina itself. What it revealed was cake courses, not requring attendance or heavy-duty research/writing assignments, taken primarily by athletes. Here is the coverage by Sharon Terlep in The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
So? The practice of helping athletes through the academic part of college went to an extreme. That will be gotten into line. But no one should be so naive to anticipate that athletes won't be treated as "special" in higher education.
When I was a teaching fellow in the Department of Language and Literature at the University of Michigan I uncovered plagiarism by a freshman football player. Of course, I called him in, explained why that behavior was unacceptable, gave him the opportunity for a rewrite, and imposed no other penalty. I knew, no one told me, to not make an issue of this. Incidentally, today that athlete would probably be having his papers researched and ghostwritten by one of the myriad paid services which have created a whole new industry.