North Carolina has already received major infractions for improper benefits and academic misconduct. In March, the NCAA handed down a one-year postseason ban and scholarship reductions to the Tar Heels' football program. And those were in addition to North Carolina's self-imposed penalties, which included vacating 16 wins, firing football coach Butch Davis and having athletic director Dick Baddour resign.
While that's a substantial blow to the Tar Heels, even harsher penalties may be on the horizon.
According to the Associated Press, North Carolina is now investigating how what appears to be a transcript from former football and basketball star Julius Peppers -- who played at UNC from 1999 to 2001 -- surfaced.
The grade summary, which had Peppers' name on it, showed the Bears defensive end had taken and received some of his best grades in classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies -- in which North Carolina discovered fraud and poor oversight in 54 classes between summer 2007 and summer 2011. More than half of the students in those suspect classes were athletes.
If that is in fact Peppers' transcript and the fraud in the department went back further than the school's original investigation indicated, then eligibility questions would arise for Peppers and everyone else who took classes in that department, which had a high enrollment of athletes.
Keep in mind, while the football team has won just two bowl games since 1999, the basketball program has four Final Four appearances and two national championships since then.
Scandals in college sports are becoming commonplace.
And while the penalties are becoming increasingly more severe, the NCAA will never be able to fully clean up college sports.
School officials do whatever they can to get these superior athletes to attend their universities in order to make millions. And student-athletes do whatever they can to make it to the next level so they can make millions, with some even looking for handouts along the way.
The NCAA won't pay its athletes, insisting earning a free college education is an acceptable return for their contributions. And those athletes will continue to feel they deserve monetary compensation.
College sports has become a never-ending cycle of corruption. North Carolina may just become the latest to be caught.
- Jeffrey Tomik