Art Chansky

The Bowl 'System'

Many viewers who watched Carolina’s dismal loss to Missouri in the Independence Bowl Monday night – an apt ending to the ugly Butch Davis era – wondered why the Tar Heels even agreed to go to Shreveport, Louisiana, over Christmas. If the NCAA is coming with at least a one-year bowl ban, why not self-impose it this season that ended with a thud anyway? If UNC officials knew they were headed for perhaps the worst bowl and site among the 35 post-season games, perhaps they would have done so. But up to virtually the last minute before bowl selection Sunday on December 4, Carolina was hoping for a bid to the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., where the fan support would have been 10 times what it was in Shreveport. The way it turned out and the bowl “system” works, UNC might have netted out more money by not going to the Independence Bowl. And the players, some of whom bitched before, during and after the game, could have spent Christmas at home with their families. As is, Carolina claims to have used about 1,000 of the 10,000 tickets it was required to purchase. I asked a few people who were actually there, and they said a “smattering” of blue was seen among the estimated attendance of 10,000 in a 50,000-seat stadium on a cold, damp night. And that...

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A 'Subtle' Case

On the surface, Ohio State’s NCAA sanctions in football do not bode well for Carolina’s forthcoming verdict. In almost every case, the NCAA extended the Buckeyes’ self-imposed penalties, adding four lost scholarships to the five Ohio State already sacrificed over the next three years and issuing a one-year bowl ban that came as a surprise to many in Columbus. The actions stem from a handful of players, including star quarterback Tyrelle Pryor, who played in all 12 games plus the Sugar Bowl last season when head coach Jim Tressel knew they had violated NCAA rules. The Buckeyes had already vacated all 12 wins, including the Sugar Bowl championship, and will return more than $300,000 from the bowl game. When you compare what Ohio State did, the penalties it self-imposed and the sanctions ultimately received, it’s hard to imagine UNC getting off any lighter. The Tar Heels self-imposed the loss of nine scholarships over three years, took an NCAA probation for two seasons, vacated all victories from 2008 and ’09 (because Marvin Austin, Greg Little and company played in those 16 wins), and said the school would pay a $50,000 fine. As with Ohio State, no bowl ban was offered. There are subtleties supporting both sides of the argument that Carolina will get equally hammered or that, perhaps, it may escape with a shorter rap sheet. First off, the NCAA...

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Chapel Hill Saturday

For me, Saturday was a bright blue reminder of why we’re so lucky to live in Chapel Hill. Compared to other places, it’s just so easy and friendly. Went out to get the paper and on the way in I saw my right rear tire was almost flat. It’s a brand new tire, so something weird must have happened. I used my stand-up bicycle pump, pretending I was detonating old buildings, until the tire was hard enough to endure the drive down to Eastgate BP.   There, the nice older attendant helped me unravel the air hose and asked what happened. I told him and he said, “Start the car and roll it a few feet forward and a few feet back, and leave the window open so I can tell you when to stop.”   I did what he said, and when he yelled “OK” I got out of the car. He pointed to a silver nail I had picked up in the brand new tread. “Can you fix it?” I asked.   He nodded. “Can I wait for it?”   “Fifteen, 20 minutes,” he said. “Wait inside where it’s warm.”   I told him I had a few things to do in Eastgate, so I’d be back.   I really didn’t since my mission was to get my tire inflated and/or fixed and pick up breakfast, but...

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Blue Skies Ahead

It still may not seem so to the knuckleheads who hate Holden Thorp, but the Chancellor had a plan that he could finally hatch last July 26, when he decided that Butch Davis and the embarrassment his football program cost UNC had to go. For whatever reasons Thorp did not dump Davis in August of 2010 or right after the Musical Chairs Bowl – and believe me, they were good ones – he knew by making the move when he did that Carolina at least had a chance to recover. Key was getting Dick Baddour to step down, step...

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The Weekend Watch

If you’re a devout Tar Heel and ACC sports fan, who did not succumb to the Saturday sunshine, it turned out to be a helluva weekend watch, beginning with the Carolina-Kentucky tip at high noon and ending with Russell Wilson hoisting the Big 10 Championship MVP trophy close to midnight. In between was a classic college basketball game, two looks at possible new (and old) Carolina football coaches, and Clemson coming back from the dead to reach the Orange Bowl for the first time in 30 years. And, during a late afternoon window, you still could have caught UNC’s...

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On The Road Again (Updated)

LAS VEGAS – They came from Idaho, South Dakota, New Mexico and across the deserts of Nevada, all decked out in Carolina blue hats, shirts and fine wear.   It’s a phenomenon with Tar Heel basketball, wherever the team plays and especially when it’s too far away for anyone to ever make it to Chapel Hill. The national following that Dean Smith built over 30 years shows up in all sizes, sexes, ages and accents.   “We used to drive if they played within 10 hours,” said the father of a family of four from Idaho, “but we flew...

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Rating Dean The Best

I did not mind the well-deserved accolades for Mike Krzyzewski after he set the new victory record for Division 1 basketball coaches. What gave me a slow burn is how Dean Smith was left outside the three-point line by certain “analysts” comparing the greatest coaches of all-time.   Bob Knight was in every conversation, of course, because he owned the record until a week ago and is still on TV adding his dead-pan commentary to game broadcasts. UCLA’s John Wooden will be included for perpetuity with his never-to-be-matched 10 national championships. Adolph Rupp gets an occasional nod because he held the record for coaching victories so long until Smith broke it in 1997.   But in my (Carolina blue) book, Smith should never be left out of any discussion, and he ranks as a better all-time coach than Krzyzewski for reasons beyond national championships and all-time victories, categories in which the Duke coach leads the retired UNC legend. Both coaches could have, and probably should have, won more NCAA titles. The Tar Heels lost star players to the pros with eligibility remaining and had some horrible Final Four Saturday performances. The Blue Devils also lost some stars early and blew some big leads in semifinal and championship games.   For the record, Smith finished with 879 career wins to Krzyzewski’s 904 and counting. Coach K caught Smith with his 13th...

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A 'Classic' Beginning

When the ACC expanded to 11 and then 12 schools a few years ago, the new members were worried about UNC and Duke running away from the pack in basketball. So they asked to be treated equally in every tangible way, and from that came the cockamamie schedule in which some old Tobacco Road rivals don’t play each other twice a year like in the past.   Well, with the regular season now rendered meaningless beyond what kind of ranking and RPI teams can achieve in order to get into the NCAA Tournament, their worst fears have come home...

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Hurry, Bubba, Hurry

Bubba Cunningham can’t come too soon. And he might bring along a pith hat, small wooden chair and bull whip. Frankly, he’s walking into a bit of a zoo.   We’ve already fired a football coach and faced the judge and jury on nine major NCAA allegations, pleading guilty to eight of them and imposing some penalties that the NCAA might very well rule do not fit the crimes.   That fired football coach won’t seem to go away, and neither will his band of loyalists, many of whom paid through the nose because they thought he could take...

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Eras of Imperfection

As Bubba Cunningham takes over and goes about the process of producing a winning football program we can all be proud of, it brings to mind past UNC coaching regimes and blips along the way that occurred in all of them.   The post-Choo Choo Justice era has been rife with distractions and interruptions, the largest of course being the sudden death of “Sunny Jim” Tatum in the summer of 1959. Tatum, a Carolina alum, had returned from Maryland after winning the 1953 national championship in College Park and embarked on building a similar power in Chapel Hill.  ...

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