It was misrepresented

Last week I made a post about the UNC student who allegedly received an A- for a 146 word plagiarized paragraph on Rosa Parks. I thought it smelled funny. Yes athletes are allowed to dodge hard college work–who doesn’t believe that? But this just smelled “off,” for the reasons explained.


Well it turns out it was clearly not a final paper and the student received the A- for the entire course, not for the fragment of writing in the photo. It’s not clear what the assignment actually was. Slate describes the project in detail here.

Regardless of the state of academics in big time athletic programs, this is a perfect example of confirmation bias. If something comes to you with the phrase “can you believe this?” attached or implied, the unspoken answer is always “yes, of course I can! I already do!” when it should be “probably not.” The point of those things is to allow us to cluck over what we already know or believe. It’s like melodrama in the theater, or professional wrestling; a broad, comic, cartoonish restatement of what we already believe.

Although in historical analysis “probably not” is pretty much the default position. Whatever this source is saying, it’s probably not true, or not reliable, or not the way the author of the piece claimed.

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