Let me tell you the story of Devon Ramsay.
Devon Ramsay played fullback at UNC. When UNC went through its Academic Scandal back in 2011 and started holding players out, Devon Ramsay was one of the guys they suspended indefinitely.
UNC at the time was engaging in a practice of enrolling players in Independent Study “Paper Classes”, which essentially is a nice way of saying they were putting their kids in no-show classes that automatically rewarded them with A’s or B’s. It is a pretty well-known way of keeping kids eligible, and quite frankly I don’t really care too much about it.
(The NCAA, by the way, investigated and despite mountains of proof found no wrongdoing with this at the time, but then again that isn’t surprising.)
So, when UNC got busted for this back in the summer of 2011, the administration decided it had to cover its ass until they scandal blew over. One of the fall guys? Devon Ramsay.
He was tarnished as a liar and a cheat.
Only here’s the thing. Devon Ramsay never cheated.
He was a high school Honor Student who was one of the few guys on the team that was both a good player AND a decent student. He was in the business school and actually gave a shit about his grades, despite the drastic time restrictions placed upon student athletes at the NCAA level.
He never participated in Paper Classes.
He worked with an academic liaison, or specialist, provided by the university. When he emailed a paper for a freshman sociology class to a tutor for editing, he didn’t think anything about it.
2 years later, he was pulled out of a practice, seemingly at random, and interviewed by the head of compliance.
To make a long story short, Devon couldn’t produce the paper in question (a 3 pager for a freshman lecture class) any longer, and no record of it existed with the professor either…because why fucking would it?
To make the whole situation even sillier, the head of compliance at UNC sent the case off to the NCAA Headquarters, where a bureaucrat decided that what was deemed an “inconsequential” amount of editing (in conjunction with a school supplied academic tutor) by a former North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice…who also taught classes at UNC Law School…was indeed academic fraud.
The “plagiarism” was so insiginifcant that the Student Honor Court, which hears such manners at UNC, didn’t even find enough standing for there to be a hearing, much less a disciplinary finding.
And yet, he was charged, tried and convicted, all in one day, all without representation, and suspended indefinitely. All because the university administration got caught doing something that was necessitated by their conscious decision to become competitive in football, and then once caught, decided they needed to make an example of someone.
Instead of resigning and using THEMSELVES as the example, they sacrificed Devon Ramsay.
They didn’t strip away any of their cherished basketball championship banners, despite 2 of their championship rosters being filled with guys that participated in Paper Classes.
Those banners still hang and probably always will.
They didn’t fire the decision-makers.
They scape-goated one of the few kids in the athletic department that was actually doing it the right way, and then dragged his name through the mud for good measure.
Ramsay never got reinstated until Bob Orr, the former justice I mentioned above, took up his cause and helped him fight back.
But, as well all know, that doesn’t come close to making up for what happened.
Listen, I love winning. I am willing to turn my head and look the other way for a LOT of stuff. When Al Quadin Muhammad beat the shit out of his roommate, or Eddie Johnson puts a kid in the hospital after a fist fight at a party, or Gabe Terry gets caught dealing drugs, I honestly do not care. I get mad when the university kicks them out. Boys will be boys as far as I’m concerned when it comes to shit like that.
Even I think this was a sleaze ball thing for UNC to do.
And if a university is capable of that, then I think it is safe to say some pretty hateful things about them.
Fortunately, I don’t have to.
What happened to Devon Ramsay sums it up nicely for me.
I am going to be in town for homecoming this weekend, and I expect to see UNC put up about 40 on our defense. The only question is whether we can keep to the blueprint we used so well against VTech:
Establish the run with Duke, Yearby and Edwards, and use the playaction game with Kaaya to keep the defense honest and steal a few big plays.
I have no idea because I have given up on figuring out this team week to week. I just want it to be a fun game.