Debbie Crowder has broken her silence, and it’s good for UNC.

After three rounds of Notices of Allegations from the NCAA, including one charge against UNC for her own failure to talk, the infamous administrative assistant from the academic scandal has decided to defend herself and her practices.

Debbie Crowder has lawyered up with the high-priced Raleigh firm of Joe Chesire and explained what she was doing over the last two decades that is at the heart of the scandal that has rocked the university but failed to bring down the athletic department, much to the chagrin of rivals waiting for it to happen.

Crowder issued a sworn statement, backed by a more detailed letter from Chesire‘s firm, explaining that the independent study courses offered by the old African American studies program amounted to what they call “customized educational opportunities” for all students in Chapel Hill that were being burned by the bureaucracy of a major university, including mistakes made by academic advisors, class scheduling conflicts and or anything else that was a deterrent to getting an education and earning a degree.

Crowder said the so-called paper classes were totally legit and within professorial bounds to shape assignments as the teachers saw fit, and the required work and grading was consistent across the board with athletes and non-athletes, including the signing of an honor pledge that they would not cheat.

The statements by Crowder and Chesire’s firm chastise the NCAA for false accusations that defame the students who took the courses and have devalued their degrees. All this comes on the eve of UNC’s latest responses to the allegations and, though words “law suit” were not in the statements, had that veiled threat all over them. And, of course, left to the university to argue is that however these classes were offered and taught is outside the purview of the NCAA bylaws, which UNC is claiming have been violated almost from A to Z.

The three-plus-year controversy is long beyond what actually happened and has been relegated to a policy and legalize battle similar to what is going on in Washington on any number of fronts. Clearly, these statements are behind UNC’s unwillingness to give in to what it considers unfair charges and accept unfair penalties. Now it is the NCAA’s turn to respond – again.