Chansky’s Notebook: Part Of The Gameplan

The SEC needs a rap sheet more than a scorecard.

As the college football season approaches, key athletes all over the Southeastern Conference are driving their coaches, their fans and, yes, their opponents crazy by being in so much trouble no one knows if they will play or not. And in the SEC, guilt or innocence really doesn’t matter much. It’s part of the game plan.

Alabama's Cam Robinson

FILE – Alabama starting offensive lineman Cam Robinson is seen in an undated photo. (Ouachita Parish, La., Sheriff’s Office via AP)

At Alabama, star tackle Cam Robinson and reserve defensive back Hootie Jones faced drugs and weapon charges over the summer that mysteriously were not prosecuted. What a surprise, sort of like police investigated O.J. Simpson for assaulting his wife and never filed reports because of the Juice’s celebrity status. But the news is out, and Nick Saban still faces whether to discipline his two players.

Saint Nick is under no pressure to bench his guys, but he is not saying because it gives Southern Cal, his opening day opponent, one or two more things to think about in preparing for the game. Florida State doesn’t know what to expect for its opener against Ole Miss. The Rebels’ defensive tackle Breeland Speaks was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in March, and Coach Hugh Freeze has not said if he’ll play against the ‘Noles. The same goes for Rod Taylor, a key offensive lineman who was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in April. Does it really take so long to decide?

Auburn plays defending Orange Bowl champion Clemson at home in its season-opener, yet the Tigers could very well be without two of their best young players in cornerback Carlton Davis and pass-rusher Byron Cowart. They, along with wide out Ryan Davis and defensive back, Jeremiah Dinson, were arrested in May on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Coach Gus Malzahn hasn’t said much because his indecision is confusing Clemson.

As with Alabama, some of these kids won’t ever go to court, but that’s not the point. SEC coaches are using their transgressions as smokescreens for opponents trying to prepare to play their teams. Seemingly, nothing has been learned from what has happened in the past when it comes to football in the SEC.

Local police are hesitant to make arrests and DA’s are hesitant to press charges because of the pressures THEY face from the schools, their coaches and their fans. Whether or not they play, they are part of the summer game plan in the SEC. Nice strategy.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-part-of-the-gameplan

Let’s Give Back the Victories

And so we wait.

What action will the NCAA take against UNC for its athletic/academic wrongdoings?

Personally, I do not understand why the NCAA has any moral authority in these matters in any case. It is, after all, the enabler of the Big Time Sports schemes. I am much more concerned about the deliberations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools from which a stern sentence could literally cost the university billions of dollars.

What troubles me now about the scandal is the narrow, legalistic framing. Does this email confirm corrupt behavior or exonerate the sender? What is the definition of “behavior?”  What is the definition of “sender?” Will an NCAA verdict and sentence bring a close to the scandal and its horrific costs to the moral core and the reputation of the University?

In my view, this narrow framing will not bring an end.  The University, does, however, have it within its own power to do the right thing, regardless of the legal contortions. This we know. Hundreds of presumed students participated in games as athletes, while getting credit for fraudulent courses. It matters not whether Roy Williams or Sylvia Hatchell or the entire Faculty Council were active collaborators or ignorant souls about these indisputable misdeeds, each individual has to live with their own conscience. We know that University procedures and officials made it possible for UNC teams to win by encouraging and enabling dishonesty at the vital core of any university–integrity in the classroom.

The University can own this responsibility by forfeiting the games, returning the tainted championship banners, acknowledging simply and clearly, “we violated the basic trust placed in us as a university and we take responsibility for making amends.”  In Dostoyevsky’s monumental psychological drama, Crime and Punishment, the very first we hear from Raskolnikov, the tormented protagonist, is “all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.

It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most…”

If victories are what define athletics, let’s not be afraid to give them back.

 

— Lew Margolis

http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/lets-give-back-the-victories

UNC Chancellor Addresses Amended Notice of Allegations

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said the university is “pleased to have” the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.

The amended allegations came in to the university on Monday morning and were released to the public later that afternoon.

Folt, speaking at the WCHL Community Forum on Tuesday, said that the university is ready to move forward.

“We feel like we’ve been doing everything that we can to work with the NCAA,” Folt said, “and I think that’s been very important for us.”

Folt added that she was pleased with the steps the university has taken and that the UNC student-athletes set a record-high APR over the past year.

“I try to remember that the students who are here have nothing to do with those allegations, so they need to feel that they’re moving forward and proud of their institution,” Folt said. “And we need to feel very proud of how we’re handling it.”

Folt also credited UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham for his guidance through this process, calling him a “very thoughtful leader” adding she had “a lot of confidence in him.”

The new Notice of Allegations still contains accusations of five Level 1 infractions, the most serious the NCAA can levy. But what has drawn the most attention is the wording of the amended NOA, specifically the lack of a mention of either the men’s basketball or football programs.

The university has 90 days to respond to the amended NOA.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-chancellor-addresses-amended-notice-of-allegations

While Amended NOA Differs from Original, Significant Charges Remain

There were a few words missing from the amended Notice of Allegations that UNC received on Monday from the NCAA when comparing it to the original notice, most notably “men’s basketball” and “football.”

The new 12-page document that was released on Monday afternoon differs in places from the 55-page notice the university originally received in May 2015. The procedure leading to any NCAA decision was put on hold in August when the university self-reported additional violations.

After an eight-month wait, the new document has restarted the process to reach the finish line in the long-running scandal.

While men’s basketball and football aren’t mentioned in the amended Notice of Allegations, UNC is still facing five Level 1 infractions, the most serious the NCAA can levy.

UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham called these allegations “very significant” adding the university takes them “very seriously.”

“We’re working as hard as we can to secure a fair outcome for Carolina,” Cunningham told reporters in a teleconference on Monday.

 

Listen to the full audio from Bubba Cunningham’s teleconference below:

 

Cunningham clarified that the amended NOA replaces the original notice and is not an add-on document.

Cunningham said speculating on potential sanctions is something he “can not do.”

He added that the extent of the investigation is likely what led to the length of time it took for the NCAA to respond to the university’s self-reported violations.

“This may be the most complicated, involved case in history – certainly in our history,” Cunningham said. “And there has been a lot of reporting, there’s been a lot of investigations, multiple investigations. And the NCAA is now completing their work by issuing the amended notice.

“But it’s voluminous in nature, and it’s over an extended period of time. I think the volume and the time is probably why it has lasted this long.”

Cunningham said while the university awaits any potential sanctions from the NCAA, he thinks the university has already suffered in some ways due to the length of the investigation.

“I do think that the length of time that the investigations – both the internal investigations that we’ve conducted as a university [and] the external reviews and investigations that have been done – have been taxing and draining on the institution,” Cunningham said.

The amended notice alleges former UNC women’s basketball athletic academic counselor Jan Boxill “knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes.”

UNC is also accused of not sufficiently monitoring the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes in the formerly-known African and Afro-American Studies department from the fall of 2005 through the summer of 2011. This allegation makes a reference to student-athletes in general but contains no specific accusation toward men’s basketball or football, a significant change from the original notice.

The other charges are in connection with Deborah Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro not cooperating with the NCAA investigation and a charge of Lack of Institutional Control.

When asked why men’s basketball and football weren’t mentioned in the revised notice, Cunningham said that was a question for the NCAA.

Cunningham said he expects the university to use nearly the full 90 days before responding to the notice. Cunningham said if the university decides to self-impose any sanctions, it will most likely come during the window to respond to the NCAA.

Still, the timeline for a resolution to the case could easily linger into 2017.

Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a regular sports commentator. She spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Monday following the release of the ANOA.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/amended-noa-differs-original-significant-charges-remain

UNC Releases Amended Notice of Allegations

The University of North Carolina has released the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.

The news broke on Monday morning that the university had received the revised allegations.

You can review the amended NOA through the Carolina Commitment website.

UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham released the following statement regarding the amended NOA:

“We are carefully reviewing the amended notice of allegations resulting from our joint investigation with the NCAA and will respond with facts and evidence that present a full picture of our case. The University takes these allegations extremely seriously. We remain committed to cooperating fully with the NCAA while working tirelessly to secure a fair outcome for Carolina.”

A press conference is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

More information will be added to this story as it becomes available.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-releases-amended-notice-of-allegations

UNC Receives Amended NOA from NCAA

***UPDATED: View the amended Notice of Allegations here.***

UNC has confirmed that it has received the amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.

The Associated Press’ Aaron Beard was first to report the university had received the document.

The university initially received the Notice of Allegations following the long-running paper-class scandal on May 22 of last year. The 59-page NOA was then made public in June charging North Carolina with five Level 1 infractions ranging from impermissible benefits to unethical conduct and lack of institutional control.

UNC then self-reported additional potential violations in August, restarting the clock for a response from the NCAA.

UNC now has 90 days to submit its response to the amended NOA.

The NCAA will then have a time period to respond before a hearing could be held by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

 

The amended NOA is expected to be made public Monday afternoon and a press conference is scheduled to take place with UNC officials.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-receives-amended-noa-ncaa

The Tar Heels Will Win It All In 2018. Here’s Why.

So the 2015-16 Tar Heels turned out to be a team of destiny after all…

…it just wasn’t quite the destiny we wanted.

After a year of preseason accolades, hype, doubt, and triumph, Brice and Marcus and crew stormed through the ACC tourney and ran all the way to the NCAA title game, only to come up juuust short at the hands of stupid Villanova and stupid Kris Jenkins’ stupid last-second 3.

Great game. Memorable season. Just not quite a national title.

But never fear!

I’m calling it right now: Carolina will win the NCAA championship in 2018.

Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams

Roy Williams (Photo by Todd Melet)

How can I be so sure?

Because we’ve seen this story before.

Seventeen years before, to be precise.

Go back to 1999. March 29, St. Petersburg. Usually some interloping 3- or 4-seed sneaks into the NCAA final, but that year’s final featured undeniably the two best teams in the nation. On the one side, the Big East champion (Connecticut rather than Villanova), seeking a title after several years of coming up just short. On the other side, the ACC champ (Duke rather than UNC), seeking its first national title in…yep, exactly seven years.

It would have been the third overall for their legendary coach.

Is this sounding familiar?

Both teams brought their A games. Back and forth the whole way. Duke scored 39 first-half points and led at halftime – just like Carolina did – but UConn came back and pulled out a thrilling victory in the closing seconds.

Final score? 77-74. Yes, exactly the same as UNC-Nova. Look it up.

And two years later, Duke won the NCAA title.

So that’s it. I’m calling it. The similarities are too eerie. It can’t be coincidence, y’all. It’s got to be destiny.

Tar Heels! 2018 national champions!

(Provided the NCAA doesn’t get in the way, of course.)

And while I’m making wild predictions, don’t worry: Marcus Paige will get his NCAA title too. Twenty years from now. After he takes over for Hubert Davis as UNC’s head coach.

(Try to remember you heard it here first.)

A Far-Too-Early Look at 2017 UNC Basketball

http://chapelboro.com/featured/the-tar-heels-will-win-it-all-in-2018-heres-why

Stroman On Sports: Road To The Final Four

The NCAA tournament begins for UNC tonight, with the 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles looming as the Tar Heels’ first hurdle on the road to the Final Four. (Game time is 7:20 at PNC Arena in Raleigh; WCHL’s coverage begins at 5:30 with the UNC Health Care Countdown to Tipoff.)

How far will the Heels go this year? Who poses the greatest threat in the East region? Who else will make the Final Four? And who ever thought it was a good idea to let Tulsa in, anyway?

Deborah Stroman is a sports commentator and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (and a Virginia alum who might be really conflicted come April 2). Earlier this week, she discussed the bracket with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/stroman-on-sports-road-to-the-final-four

Stroman On Sports: ACC Tournament Time!

It’s ACC Tournament week, with games getting under way today in Washington, DC. The Tar Heels are regular-season champs (for the seventh time in Roy Williams’ 13 years as head coach!), so they’re the top seed this week; they’ll take on either Pitt or Syracuse in the quarterfinal on Thursday at noon. UNC is looking to end a seven-year drought: they’ve reached the title game four times in the last five years, but they haven’t actually won the ACC tourney since 2008.

(Worth noting, though: regardless of what the Heels do in Washington this week, they have a history of playing well in the NCAA tournament when winning the regular-season conference title. They’ve won or shared the ACC regular-season title six times in the Roy Williams era – and each of those six years, they’ve reached at least the Elite Eight in the NCAA tourney.)

Deborah Stroman is a sports commentator and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She discussed the ACC tournament with Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday.

 

WCHL will have wire-to-wire coverage of the ACC tournament beginning with the quarterfinals on Thursday. Tune in Thursday morning at 10 am for a special hour-long edition of the UNC Health Care Countdown to Tipoff, followed by all four quarterfinal games. We’ll air Friday’s semifinals and Saturday’s final as well.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/stroman-on-sports-acc-tournament-time

Counting The Real Cost Of A Championship

For avid football fans across the country, the season never ends. Having just experienced in person the College Football Playoff National Championship game where Alabama hoisted another trophy, I am still in amazement of all the complexities and nail-biting interest for such an intriguing institution. Yes, I do refer to the sport of football as an institution and not just another American pastime. The college regular season ends during the jockeying for divisional and wildcard positions for the NFL. The beginning of the playoffs for the professional leagues occurs during the Bowl games for the colleges. And the Super Bowl build up just happens to coincide with prime-time college recruiting and signing! Still want more? Hold out a few weeks and then the college spring practice is upon us. Truly Americans have a love affair with boys and men wearing helmets and tight pants throwing, kicking, catching, and running with an oblong-shaped leather ball. With National Signing Day now becoming another “must-see” television event (i.e., ESPNU National Signing Day Special), social media trendsetter, and soon-to-be an additional sport holiday similar to the Super Bowl and March Madness, it is only appropriate that I share my reflections on what it really takes for big-time colleges to wear that championship crown.

Clemson University adopted the motto “All-In” for their run to the 2015 championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and last month’s title game in Arizona. I think this phrase embodies the essence of how nearly everyone – alumni, administrators, faculty, donors, staff, students, and local residents and businesses must be 100% supporters of the program to achieve the ultimate success. So what does this cooperation look like? The community must be knowledgeable about their team, and the college administration must be transparent about their commitment. The depth of this charge, loyalty, and allegiance must be clear to all. To that end, I believe there are only 30 or so programs out of the NCAA Division I 128 Football Bowl Subdivision universities that are truly capable of winning a title. And of course, these programs are all in the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) where the money has a better chance to flow freely. The best teams all have outstanding coaches with technical competencies. And they all have very bright and athletic players with a great passion to play, learn, and compete. What makes the difference between national championship and good teams is not the technical teaching of the “X’s and O’s” but rather the total backing and collaboration from nearly everyone connected to the school. It’s “All-In” for the football program. Which colleges are willing to make the following commitments?

  • Consistently and openly admit and enroll academic underprepared students who have the potential to be game-changers on the field? There are 85 scholarship athletes on a football team. It has been postulated that at least 20 players on championship teams require some form of remedial studies. Are administrators willing to construct a challenging educational pathway for them without comparing and expecting this very small cohort to mirror the same academic experience as the 4.0 GPA honors students? That is, why do universities focus on the rigor of the academic course load rather than the execution of an effective support system for students who comprise less than .1% of the student body?
  • Create a culture whereby faculty and administrators ask fewer questions of athletics and let the athletic director and football coach run the show. Athletic departments appreciate an atmosphere of less scrutiny and micro-management from the high-salaried academic administrators. The academic side of campus should “trust and don’t verify.” With everyone embracing the goal to win the championship there should be minimal activities that present a conflict with the necessary tasks to make the championship a reality. Hire the right athletic administrators and let them do their job. History has taught us that there will be a few athletic-related embarrassments, and when they do occur they certainly won’t outweigh the glory and branding for the entire university when the rings and monies are distributed.
  • Allocate more resources in facilities and equipment to keep up with the Joneses (aka Alabama). The “Show Me” mantra is now much more than a Missouri slogan but rather representative of the spirit of the top athletes seeking to offer their services to teams that want to win early, often and regularly. Everyone must submit to the whims of the 5-star athlete who is seeking NFL grade strength and conditioning apparatus, safety protocols, expensive gear, and brand name swag. Recruiting trips must include the best steaks, potatoes, and beverages, engaging professors, full campus tours, premium cars, happy and attractive faces, marble and cherry wood offices, and sunny days. The athletic trainers, doctors, and nutritionists need to say just the right thing, so pre-visit homework is essential to be in synch with their colleagues. Local businesses need to spruce up their stores and talk about how they love promoting and helping out former players. In summary, lots of campus and community members need to turn their heads and plug their ears during these critical visits or get on board in a big way. Fence straddling is not permitted.
  • Convince the local media that it makes sense to be an athletics ally and not an adversary. Championship teams enjoy collaborating with radio, television, and social media friends from their hometown. These reporters often bend the rules of journalistic impartiality to promote and bring attention to all the benefits of the spoils of a winning program. Johnny “The Jerk” linebacker doesn’t become a front-page story after committing a stupid antic or alleged criminal activity. When something “smells fishy” in the program, the story is buried or never gets written. Are questions asked? Absolutely. The difference with winning teams though is that there is a lot of deliberation by the oh-so-friendly media on the pros and cons of covering in great detail an unfortunate incident. They remember that the athletes are only 17-22 year olds, and the negative attention could affect recruiting, donor support, or the reputation of the team for years. When the media is considered part of the program and also desire a championship, it’s just not worth it. There are too many other great positive stories to share than to concentrate on than what is not going so well. Haters turn in your credentials.
  • Pump massive dollars into any, and all, entities that market the team. The band, cheerleaders, pep team, and dance squad all need to look and be the best. The campus should be clean and tidy. Flowers that bloom all year round should be the priority of the landscaping crew. The television camera now becomes the university’s best friend. Encourage media to attend events that showcase the players and community support. In fact, the college’s innovation team should look into other opportunities to brainwash – I mean engage — the student body into redesigning their life around football season. How about the creation of a spoken word, drum line, hip-hop or even line or country dancing football-support organization? Offer live or video competitions to foster school spirit. Take advantage of how ESPN’s GameDay has become another addictive drug for college sports fans. Get the entire campus focused each season to recruit their presence. In order to rank for consideration of a visit from this band of engaging celebrity broadcasters, the football team needs to have tradition, must be very good, and the fans need to be even better. How bad do you want it?

Deborah Stroman discussed this column with Aaron Keck on WCHL.

 

So National Signing Day is over and teams are raving about their big recruitment wins. I hope all the attention and limelight shone on this wonderful moment for these young men does not create a false impression that the bulk of the work is complete. Securing commitment from top athletes is important but it pales in comparison to building the support necessary for those same players to be embraced in their duty to work hard and smart as teammates and leaders.  Each new season brings about hope and excitement to challenge for the national championship. Only those communities that come together to fully support the demanding championship goal established by the college and the team really has a chance to win it all though. All the other activities are simply noise and distractions that provide a feel-good escapism for fans. And strangely, regardless of the particularly exorbitant cost of football for most universities, that effort in itself is simply enough.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/guest-column-columns/counting-the-real-cost-of-a-championship