Chansky’s Notebook: Hatchell’s Play Wrong

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

Sylvia Hatchell is making a bad situation worse.

Women’s Hall of Fame basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell is garnering public support for a contract extension,  similar to those awarded to Roy Williams, women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy and women’s tennis coach Brian Kalbass.

There are several reasons why this is a bad move by Hatchell, who should be working behind the scenes to keep her job instead of comparing her plight to three coaches who deserved their contracts to be extended when she did not.

Hatchell’s program is in the most serious trouble from the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations in May. She may not have known anything about the lines that former academic advisor Jan Boxill crossed, but as the CEO Hatchell is ultimately responsible. Just as Butch Davis was and just as Roy Williams would be if his program were hit hard by the NCAA.

Her supporters are calling Hatchell and women’s hoops sacrificial lambs in the NCAA investigation that will lead to some sanctions for the university for lack of institutional control in the AFAM scandal. But, based on the allegations, Hatchell’s program is very likely to receive its own penalties. Until that is determined, a contract extension is last thing she should get. An exit strategy should be her play.

Hatchell doesn’t have a strong enough case to be marshaling her forces against a new chancellor and new athletic director who did not hire her and, very likely, will fire her if women’s basketball draws probation and/or penalties. She’s had a great career, won a national championship, more than 900 games and, most importantly, her fight against Leukemia. If she goes out, it should be with grace.

In some ways, she IS a victim of an NCAA witch hunt that UNC is fighting with millions of dollars in legal fees. Williams got an extension because he is underpaid compared to his peers and he needs a public vote of confidence to help his recruiting that has taken a beating the last two years. And the biggest difference:  Williams’ program was not cited in the NOA.  Hatchell’s was.

That’s why a planned response would be better than firing off guns against a target that cannot, and should not, help her until the verdict and sentences are in.

A Starting Point: UNC Women Picked Fourth in Hardwood Preseason

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications

GREENSBORO– The UNC women’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the 2013-2014 ACC preseason polls by both the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel and the head coaches.

Duke was picked to top the ACC pecking order, receiving a majority of the first place votes. Carolina also trailed Notre Dame and Maryland in the preseason selections.

But things are looking up for the Tar Heels as they welcome the top freshman recruiting class in the nation to Chapel Hill.

Sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel, last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year, and freshman guard Diamond DeShields were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

DeShields was the only freshman who landed on the All-ACC Team.

Carolina women’s basketball tips off its season Nov. 8 against Air Force here in Carmichael Arena.