College sports continue to be a big business in America, drawing millions of fans to games and even more viewers to broadcasts. But college athletics programs also continue to be troubled by scandals involving academic fraud and player behavior, along with charges that unpaid players are exploited financially in what has become a multibillion-dollar business. Recent cases in which men’s basketball and football programs have been accused of creating an atmosphere that encourages sexual assault or mistreatment of women have been particularly troubling to critics of those programs. At the same time, increased spending on coaches’ salaries and expensive athletic facilities have led to charges that college athletics are financially out of control. And while women’s participation has grown dramatically, some observers say women’s college sports programs still are not treated equally.
|Brice Johnson (11) of the North Carolina Tar Heels rebounds the ball during a game against DaJuan Coleman (32) and the Syracuse Orange in the 2016 NCAA Final Four semifinal in Houston on April 2. Both teams were among several men’s college basketball teams being investigated for possible violations of NCAA academic integrity rules. (Getty Images/Lance King)|
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament — known as “March Madness” — is a crown jewel of college sports. But as the 2016 tournament wound down, it competed for attention with what has become a less attractive aspect of college sports: Scandals involving high-profile programs.
The University of North Carolina Tar Heels, from Chapel Hill, and the Syracuse University Orange — two of the most storied teams in college basketball — faced off in the tournament’s semifinals. But in 2015, an NCAA investigation found a host of academic rule violations at Syracuse, including tutors completing classwork for basketball players and a booster who improperly provided more than $8,000 to football and basketball players for volunteering at a local YMCA. The Tar Heels team, meanwhile, is facing an ongoing NCAA investigation into charges that players received grades for fake classes to help players remain academically eligible to compete.