Unverified both answers and raises important questions.
The much-awaited documentary on the UNC academic scandal premiers at the Varsity Theater Friday night in a private showing. Chapelboro obtained an advance copy from cereator and former UNC athletic tutor Bradley Bethel, and for anyone who loves this university, it is a riveting 90-minute watch that is a must-see.
It deals primarily with the many nuances of the complicated, four-year ordeal. Nuances that Bethel says were largely ignored by the media chasing a sexy, juicy story and did not want to be deterred by the details. Those details, according to Bethel’s own narrative, were also covered up by the university in trying to place the blame on athletics and, in the process, fired scape-goated athletic tutors Beth Bridger and Jaimie Lee, who were Bethel’s colleagues.
The turning point of the documentary is when Journalism professor Adam Hochberg challenges Bethel’s assertion that Bridger and Lee were fired by the slanted media coverage and information in the infamous Wainstein Report. Bethel could have cut that interview since Hochberg seemed to have checkmated his theory. But, actually, it gave Bethel the impetus to go back, dig deeper and report that Bridger and Lee were fired without due process, purely on implication by Wainstein, who made more than $3 million from UNC for his work.
Bethel’s crusade to vindicate his colleagues sometimes overshadows the main accusation of the movie – that the Wainstein Report was commissioned and carefully written to shift responsibility away from the university, as whole, and back on the athletic department. And his charge is aided by Chancellor Carol Folt’s refusal to grant Bethel an interview and former UNC President Tom Ross never responding to his request.
The chancellor, athletic director and football coach at the time all departed, but more because they were the men in charge than proven complicit in any wrong-doing. Since then, the athletic department has skillfully contested the resulting NCAA Notice of Allegations to the point where the biggest penalty could still go to the university for lack of institutional control.
Though Bethel’s work would not have helped lead to that conclusion, it would further support Unverified as having the story more right than wrong. Go see it for yourself.