And Then Holden Said…
Historians debate if it was THE primo media circus in UNC’s long history. Dickie & Meezie (and the pissed-off posse) Fire Matt gets votes, as does Butch, Holden & Dickie In The Headlights. Deservedly so for both. But The Martin Report presentation was a rip-roaring HUMMMdinger. I was there at The Carolina Inn that fateful day.
I have recounted this before, but this time is for Chancellor Carol’s benefit. She was AT DARTMOUTH when this took place.
My Good Sports compadre Art Chansky was seated to my left. The Fabulous Comparato Twins Nicole & Paige to my right. Retired (cough, wink) AD Dickie Baddour and his consigliere Jack Evans were across the aisle. N&O journo-assassin Dan Kane OF COURSE was in the media bullpen with his poison laptop. I knew or recognized half of the 100 or so curious, anxious attendees.
Kindly Ol’ Jim Martin, the show’s headliner, was two rows in front of me with a gal from the “big time consultants” that I quickly labeled “Ugly Betty.” DEFINITELY no threat to the Comparato Twins.
What happened over those two hours catapulted The Great Unpleasantness and The Flagship’s vaunted reputation into Deep Space. Comparisons to Krakatoa, Pompeii and the Johnstown Flood might be a stretch.
The old political adage states that “no politician should ever be caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.” Kindly Ol’ Jim Martin might add “or agree to run interference for a proud-to-a-fatal-fault academic institution caught with its academic bloomers around its ankles.”
There were two OMG moments that day. One of which percolated to the surface this week as Chancellor Charming Carol attempts to extricate her new employer from under a heap o’ trouble (of its own makin’).
OMG Moment #1:
UNC Trustee: “Governor Martin, did you meet with Coach Williams (during your four-months-long investigation) and, assuming you did, what did he have to say?”
Gov Martin: “Uuhhh, no I did not meet with Roy. I figured Roy was way too busy (over four freakin’ months) to spare me fifteen minutes (to discuss the most devastating scandal to ever hit The University).
Seismologists measured that exchange at an 8.2 tremor on the Brickyard at NCSU. Smoke began pouring out of Dan Kane’s laptop.
OMG Moment #2:
UNC Trustee: “All this nefariousness by Nyang’oro and that Crowder woman is horrific. Who was overseeing Nyang’oro?”
Gov Martin: “Uhhh… ahh… cough… snort… well, I don’t rightly know.
Holden Thorp: “Governor, I can answer that one. NOBODY. At this university, NO ONE oversees our Department Heads. They have absolute autonomy to do as they please…at least Julius did.”
Thirteen Trustee mouths (and Ugly Betty’s) went simultaneously agape.
“Goodness Gracious” whispered Nicole Comparato, gripping my arm.
10,000 rabid ABCers screamed “HOLY COW, they really did screw up!”
The Titanic had hit the iceberg.
I once asked the Provost at The Univ of Missouri “what does a Provost do?” It is a standing joke in academic administration. Like asking anyone at IBM “what do you do?” The gobbledygook that follows is unintelligible.
Holden’s admission removed one possibility. A Provost (at UNC) has nothing to do with professors or what actually goes on in classrooms… at least not with Uncle Julius.
That led us non-academic types to inquire: “OK, then what does a Dean do?” The only “Dean” we knew got Domes named in his honor…turned water into Gatorade and recruited Jeff “Touche” McGinness.
Apparently UNC Deans, as in Dean Of Arts & Sciences, don’t have any oversight with that silly professors / students / classrooms stuff, either.
To quote the current Provost at Washington U: “At Carolina, no one oversees our department heads.” Giving a classic meaning to “inmates running the asylum,” as legendary Bill Friday spins like a dervish in his grave.
NOTE: Does UNC have a Provost named Dean or a Dean named Provost? Academia sure can be confusing.
“Retired” (cough, wink) AD Dickie Baddour had Sgt Schultzized himself to a level of “I knew NUTHIN’” where he could not pick Butch Davis out of a line-up of Butch, Rielle Hunter and Fats Thomas. OUCH!
FWIW… N&O Political Reporter Rob Christensen could not ID Rielle out of that line-up either.
Dickie knew so little about what was going on with UNC’s student-athletes and the academic flim flams that upon his “retirement” (cough, wink) a study hall was named The Richard “Dickie” Baddour Didn’t Know Nuthin’ Room @ The Loudermilk Center. There is a plaque and everything.
Holden would periodically ask, “Dickie, is everything hunky-dory in our Athletics Dept?”
Dickie would proclaim “Yesssiree,” sing Hark The Sound and they would fist bump. Meanwhile The Flagship’s basement was 3’ deep and rising in septic sludge.
Cue the refrain from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.
Chancellor Carol says “proper academic oversight has been sorely lacking around here for quite some time.” OH REALLY??
Open Question to any Carolina fan: Are you (1) angry this stoopid crap was going on; or (2) simply pissed that UNC was caught doing it? Both POVs are popular and understandable. “Being a fan” means having opinions without consequences.
Re: Bubba Cunningham’s proposal to raise admission standards for UNC athletes. I am an unabashed fan of BubbaTheRealAD and support this sure-to-be-controversial direction. That said, The Franklin Street BCS Or Bust bunch will be chewing thumbtacks and razor blades for sure. Tough times demand tough choices. Bubba didn’t create this mess. He was hired to clean it up.
A prominent NCSU alumnus contacted me this past week. He wanted to apologize for “those idiots on GoPack.com and PackPride.” He said they embarrass his alma mater and should be shut down. I calmed him with assurance that his alma mater’s flatulent jackasses are no worse than my alma mater’s flatulent jackasses.
BobLee’s provocative commentaries always draw provocative reader comments to his website. Want to join in? Go to www.bobleesays.com. Dissenting opinions always welcomed. Bombastic idiots? Not so much.