John Nance remembers proudly the day in 2007 when he accepted his degree from the University of North Carolina. “My chest was about to bust,” he told Sporting News.

Nance was an atypical college student: in his 50s, working a full-time job, seizing an opportunity at an education that was not about trying to advance his career, but simply about learning and accomplishment. In the course of his time at UNC, he took an independent study class offered by the African and African-American Studies department. It was one of the classes some in the media routinely describe now as “fake” as the NCAA investigation into the UNC athletic department relationship with the AFAM department enters its fourth year.

Nance decided it was time to tell his story and contacted Sporting News.

“I just felt the coverage of the scandal and everything was maybe a little one-sided, and the portrayal that it was a class for athletes was nowhere near accurate,” Nance said. “I still cherish my degree, and I feel very privileged to be able to go to Carolina. There’s just too much generalization going on. I’m not trying to OK or sanction anything that didn’t go the way it was supposed to, but there’s just too much generalization.

“There was nothing fake at all about the work I did.”