Chansky’s Notebook: Remembering Bruce Jenner

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

Say what you must about Caitlyn Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage Wednesday night on the ESPY’s. Heart-warming that this transgender has finally found her true inner self?  Freak show that cheapens those who have won the award for acts of courage toward others, like Dean Smith? Or just a big WHAT- EVER publicity stunt? Jesse Helms would have loved this girl-guy!

I prefer thinking about BRUCE Jenner, one of the most popular athletes in the country after winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where by the way, Smith led the U.S. men’s basketball team to its own gold medal. So, for the moment, let’s talk about her in the male gender.

Bruce Jenner was born in 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York. He had dyslexia and struggled in school at a young age, but excelled at sports such as water skiing, football, basketball and track. He accepted a football scholarship from Graceland College in Iowa, but after a knee injury took him out of that game, he concentrated on track and field. His college track coach, L.D. Weldon, convinced Jenner to train for the Olympic decathlon. Little did either know that Jenner would go on to become one of the most beloved athletes of the 1970s.

Jenner mastered the 10-sport decathlon, a grueling combination of track and field events where on Day One athletes compete in the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters; on Day Two comes 110 meter hurdles, Discus throw, pole vault, javelin toss and the dramatic 1500 meters.

Weldon encouraged him to train for the 1972 Summer Games, and Jenner placed third in the Olympic trials to qualify and tenth in Munich, where by the way the U.S. men’s basketball team got screwed out of the gold medal. At Montreal four years later, Jenner scored 8,634 points to win the gold and set a new world record and become one of the famous athletes on the planet.

In subsequent years, Jenner appeared with his family on the reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and this year revealed in a Diane Sawyer interview that he is a transgender and identifies as a female. In June, Jenner announced on Twitter that she is a woman known as Caitlyn. The circus of publicity followed.

This may be her biggest battle, but I will always remember HIS golden moment.

3 Former UNC Athletes Join McAdoo in Lawsuit Against School

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A former women’s basketball player at the University of North Carolina has joined in a lawsuit which alleges the school failed to provide athletes a quality education by guiding them toward sham classes.

Kenya McBee has joined the class-action lawsuit filed by ex-football player Michael McAdoo in federal court last November.

Another former women’s basketball player, Leah Metcalf, and former football player James Arnold have filed a similar class-action lawsuit in state court.

McAdoo’s lawsuit said he was guaranteed a good education while being recruited, but was ultimately directed toward three options, one of which was African-American Studies — the curriculum that formed the basis for the long-running academic scandal.

UNC spokesman Joel Curran said in a text message that the school wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

‘Stop Publicly Debating Struggling Athletes’

UNC students participating in revenue-generating sports have been thrown under the microscope and the quality of the education they are receiving has been called into question. Carolina’s Faculty Chair-elect, Bruce Cairns, says the conversation has gone down the wrong path.

“The ones that are struggling, we shouldn’t be personally debating them out in public like this,” Dr. Cairns says. “We should be figuring out a way to support them.”

Those comments were made during a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner.

***Listen to Part 3***

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Dr. Cairns is the Jaycee Burn Center director and John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery. He was recently elected as chair of the faculty at UNC and will take over from Jan Boxill at the start of the new academic year on July 1. The faculty chair position holds a three-year term.

The public debates increased when academic advisor Mary Willingham blew the whistle on research she conducted in which she says she found 60 percent of a sample of athletes at UNC read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. The sample was 176 athletes chosen from 2004-2012.

The way in which Willingham got the data has also been questioned as she has been accused receiving the names of the athletes along with the test scores. When she applied for her research, she said she would not be receiving identifiable information with the tests and that they would be coded. However, she says the reason she knows who the struggling athletes at UNC were is because they were her students, not because she saw names on the test scores.

UNC has conducted a number of internal investigations to see where corrections need to be made. A number of external investigations have also been conducted, both by the request of UNC and not, to find the flaws.

Outside Experts’ Review of Mary Willingham’s Research

Kenneth Wainstein

Dr. Cairns says he believes there’s one clear-cut way to prevent future problems.

“As we move forward, what we have to stand for is academic integrity, as opposed to (being) against something, whether it’s athletics or performing arts or something else,” Dr. Cairns says. “If we stand for our academic integrity and then we stand for making sure we have policies and procedures in place to ensure that that happens, then people can have confidence that we’re doing what we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

The WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner featuring Dr. Bruce Cairns will air Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 noon on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM, and streaming here.

Get Heeled 5K Begins Saturday At 9 AM

CHAPEL HILL – The Get Heeled 5K returns to Chapel Hill Satursday with more than 600 runners scheduled to take to the roads of southeastern Chapel Hill.

The Get Heeled 5k was founded by the Pink Pacers to raise money for the UNC Lineberger’s pediatric oncology and hematology clinic. The money goes to Family Support Services to help families that have been affected by cancer.  Co-director of the race, Katy Gilliam, says that the family support provides help to the parents and families of children with cancer.

“They are the social worker, the interpreter, the in-house school, anything that helps families walk through the process of childhood cancer,” Gilliam said “it helps the sibling, it helps the care givers, it helps the child who is actually facing cancer.”

Since 2011, Get Heeled 5k has raised more than $100,000 to help these families.  Gilliam says that all of the profits from the registration and donations go towards the cause.

“And 100 percent of the donations, no money is taken out for administrative costs so it’s a direct gift to the children and the families, and also the registration fee is a direct gift to the families” Gilliam stated.

There are already 600 people that have registered for the race, plus many others coming to support.  At the event there will be a raffle, “Skipsations,” UNC Gymnastics warm-up, Dance Theater south, and several UNC athletes.  Gilliam a lot of support comes from UNC athletes during the event.

“The whole Carolina Outreach program is getting involved, that’s a really big goal of ours because we really think it’s special to have children being cheered by athletes” Gilliam said.

To register for the event or to donate to the cause click here.