Roy Williams has won two national championships, two ACC tournament titles and six ACC regular-season championships at North Carolina since 2003. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)Image Enlarger

Roy Williams has won two national championships, two ACC tournament titles and six ACC regular-season championships at North Carolina since 2003. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The most impressive part of any University of North Carolina basketball media guide during Dean Smith's glory years wasn't a rehash of all the Atlantic Coast Conference championships or the Michael Jordan bio. It was a section in the back that offered updates on the whereabouts of every single player Smith had coached, including degree, year of graduation and current job.

All-American academic integrity, in other words.

If there is a flagship ACC school, it's North Carolina - in big part thanks to the steady class that oozed from Smith's comprehensive dedication to the student-athlete. Those were the days when ACC administrators privately sneered at conferences with lesser classroom reputations - particularly the SEC and Big 12 - and publicly added a year of sanctions to the NCAA's two-year penalty levied against Clemson in 1982 for recruiting violations.

Now the North Carolina basketball and football programs are at the center of the messiest academic scandal in recent college sports history, with details outlined in a 131-page report released Wednesday. The scam included 1,500 athletes taking phony African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) classes that didn't exist. It lasted from 1993-2011, from the end of Smith's tenure to the eighth season of Roy Williams' ongoing stint as head coach.

Why waste time and wait for NCAA penalties?

Why extend the mockery of a sham?

North Carolina should immediately fire Williams, a part-time Isle of Palms resident.

It should vacate various basketball championships, <URL destination="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_men%27s_basketball">including the 2005 and 2009 national titles.

</URL>The ACC also should act proactively, placing North Carolina's basketball and football programs on probation: No postseason play and a scholarship reduction for three years.

It's the noble thing to do, a way to restore integrity to an ACC that North Carolina has tarnished.

167 players too many

Gerald Gurney, president of the Drake Group, a firm that defends "academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports," told CNN that the North Carolina scandal "easily takes the prize for the largest and most nefarious scandal in the history of NCAA enforcement."

Thanks, Roy, for the great basketball memories and media cooperation.

If you didn't know about a bogus academic sham that ran for almost all your stay in Chapel Hill, well, you should have.

Williams, according to the report compiled for North Carolina by independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein, asked about the AFAM classes two years after becoming head coach in 2003.

"(Williams) asked (assistant coach) Joe Holladay after a couple of years, 'Please make sure we're not steering kids (to paper classes),'" Wainstein said at his press conference.

But it didn't stop.

North Carolina basketball players enrolled in fake AFAM classes by North Carolina head coach, according to the report:

Dean Smith (1993-1997) - 54.

Bill Guthridge (1997-2000) - 17.

Matt Doherty (2000-2003) - 42.

Roy Williams (2003-2011) - 167.

"The coaches' responsibility should be to encourage" players academically - not judge class validity, North Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said Wednesday during a meeting with editors of the Raleigh News & Observer.

Scandal avoidance is also a coach's responsibility.

No trivial matter

It's not just Williams, but many of the North Carolina culprits have moved. North Carolina has already fired some people and announced Wednesday that four others were on their way out.

If this happened at Memphis, the NCAA would have turned the athletic department into a parking lot by now.

The saddest part is that North Carolina did wrong by 1,500 players, watching as they devalued their academic opportunity in the name of eligibility. Using athletic talent to make money for the school isn't new or unique to Tar Heel blue, but it should be severely punished.

Which means Clemson's 0-57 basketball losing streak in Chapel Hill might get reduced to 0-40 with an asterisk and 17 forfeits.

But this is no trivial matter, nor is the instruction given to students who tutor athletes at Clemson these days in the new-world ACC: "Let's not be like North Carolina."

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff