College Sports 101: A U.N.C. Class Reviews a Scandal at Its Source

“Players understand their market value, coaches understand it, everybody understands it,” Southall said in an interview.

To hear Smith tell it, the course, first taught over the summer of 2016, came naturally to him. As a historian, he said, “you look for developments over time, charting both continuities and change, and you identify the issues that seem to be at stake.”

“I want them to leave the class with a reform spirit,” he added. “I want them to have a fresh appreciation for the way the system mistreats the athletes and why we need radical new thinking to correct those inequities.”

Ally Mastroianni, a sophomore on North Carolina’s lacrosse team, said she had enrolled in Smith’s class out of a sense of responsibility. “I did want to learn about the scandal,” she said. “I feel as an athlete I should know the facts.”

Her days are long, she said, filled with practice, rehab, classes, meals, homework and maybe some social time. Her main complaint about the relatively new Loudermilk Center for Excellence, a state-of-the-art athlete support center in the football stadium, is that it does not stay open past 10 p.m.

“When I see people rolling their eyes, it’s hurtful,” she said of her classmates’ attitude toward Loudermilk, which Smith’s students toured. “I don’t think it’s just a sham.”

Still, she did not regret enrolling in Smith’s course. It is, she said, “probably the most interesting class I’ve taken at U.N.C.”

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