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UNC Tracking Athletes Via Bluetooth

And the faculty are not happy about it.

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Gonzaga v North Carolina
 CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 15: Head coach Mack Brown of North Carolina football is introduced with staff at halftime during a basketball game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs on December 15, 2018 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 90-103.
Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images

Here’s an interesting story from the Daily Tarheel that says UNC is using beacon technology to track student-athletes, apparently to make sure they attend class.

According to an embedded tweet in the story, Duke is a client of SpotterEDU, the company that supplies the tech to UNC, but it’s not clear how Duke uses it. You can certainly use it to baby sit athletes, in the old vernacular, but it has other applications too.

It’s hard to imagine Duke basketball using it (we can hear Coach K saying something like “I shouldn’t have to track you to make sure you go to freaking class (pardon the RoySpeak). Monitoring people on that level diminishes trust. We want you to do it because you know what your responsibilities are and embrace them”), but other teams might or maybe the school does in some other way. We just don’t know.

It’s caused an interesting reaction at UNC, where there is already some lingering tension between athletics and the faculty following the paper class/academic fraud scandal, not least because they apparently aren’t being consulted, or even informed, about the devices being installed. One dean actually had them removed.

Another professor named Barbara Friedman said this: “There is a natural consequence to skipping classes -- the student’s grade declines. Tracking student-athletes’ whereabouts with an app infantilizes them, and I can’t imagine it helps to discover and address the conditions that lead to them to miss class in the first place.”

That sounds about right.

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