So They Are All, All Honorable Men

In the foulness of the ongoing athletic/academic scandal at UNC, former Governor Jim Martin has brought an honorable breath of fresh air.

Many were critical of Martin’s December 2012 report of his investigation into “serious anomalies” in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. He characterized the scandal as academic, confined to one department. Subsequently, the Wainstein report, among other critiques, has confirmed that the UNC affair has involved widespread scandalous behavior by faculty, administrators, coaches, and tutors.

In a soon-to-be published biography, Governor Martin, to his credit, admits his error. “I could have said, ‘Not only is it an extraordinary athletic scandal, but it is also an incredibly damaging academic scandal.” That is an honorable, and unfortunately all too rare admission, by an individual, as the scandal has proceeded.

Take a minute to think about other individuals who have admitted that they have erred, that they failed to acknowledge how they could have used their positions of leadership and authority to avert the serious harms that have resulted. A number of senior administrators were, of course, forced out, some with undeserved graciousness, and others with appropriate disfavor. Former Chancellor Holden Thorp resigned, without providing much of an explanation.

Beyond him, the list is short. I can’t think of any others in leadership positions who have admitted, “this scandal happened on my watch, therefore I am responsible, and the honorable action is for me to step down.” These leaders may or may not have known about the corruption, may or may not have colluded, but to act with honor means to say, “I failed to uphold the standards that were expected of me as a UNC leader.”

If UNC is to advance its mission to teach the next generation of leaders, students, faculty, and the community at-large have every right to expect our leaders to act with honor, especially when doing so requires courage.

Thomas More, who took a principled stand that cost him his life, reminds us, “If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable.”

University Police Review Process after Cincinnati Shooting

Campus police across the country are reviewing procedures after a University of Cincinnati Police Officer has been indicted on a murder charge for shooting an unarmed motorist.

UNC Police Chief Jeff McCracken says campus police will discuss safety in the light of a recent shooting of an unarmed black male that had been pulled over for driving without a front license plate by a University of Cincinnati officer.

“I think all police talk about it,” he says. “We do use-of-force training regularly, as part of our required in-service training. We do active-shooter training.

“We do a lot of training to try to ensure that our officers have the tools and know how to respond when they are in these potentially life-threatening situations. Certainly, when one of these cases is publicized to the level this one is, there will be discussion about it.”

Ray Tensing is the first officer in Cincinnati to face murder charges for killing someone in the line of duty, according to local media reports.

The shooting was caught on Tensing’s body camera and is being used as key evidence that the 25-year-old Tensing initially lied to his supervisors about what happened at the traffic stop to lead to the death of 43-year-old Samuel Dubose.

McCracken adds UNC Police are close to implementing the use of body cameras on all campus officers.

“We have received body cameras,” he says. “We’re finalizing what our policy will be. And we’ll be training our officers and should have them deployed very soon.”

The prosecutor in the case is calling for the Univeristy of Cincinnati police force to be disbanded.

Tensing entered a not guilty plea in the courtroom on Thursday and was released after posting $1 million bond. He is due back in court August 19.

Former UNC Star Ackley Traded to Yankees

The Seattle Mariners have traded former UNC Tar Heel baseball star Dustin Ackley to the New York Yankees, the team announced on Thursday.

Ackley, who is from Winston-Salem, will join former Carolina teammates Andrew Miller and Adam Warren wearing the Yankee pinstripes.

Ackley was taken second overall in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, after Stephen Strasburg.

The 27-year-old Ackley is leaving Seattle where another former Tar Heel – Kyle Seager – has developed into one of the best third basemen in baseball.

Ackley had a .243 batting average this year with six home runs and 19 RBI’s for the Mariners.

No One Scapegoating Hatchell

When the NCAA leveled devastating penalties on the Penn State football program in 2012, the NCAA also declared Penn State football players would be permitted to transfer without the NCAA’s standard transfer restrictions. Onlookers expected a massive exodus of players, but that exodus never happened. Some players left, but the Penn State coaching staff was able to retain most.

The same cannot be said for the UNC women’s basketball staff, and they haven’t even received NCAA penalties yet.

Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s contract extends three more years, to 2018. Three other UNC coaches, including women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy, received contract extensions earlier this summer, but Hatchell did not. Her supporters and other commentators have subsequently claimed UNC is denying her an extension because they are scapegoating her for the paper-class scandal.

Yet those supporters and commentators overlook the fact that women’s basketball appears to be losing the entirety of its heralded 2013 recruiting class.

Of the four players from that class, we only know second-hand that one of them chose to leave for reasons related to the scandal. However, having worked with women’s basketball players while I was a learning specialist at UNC, I know that some of them were never quite content at UNC since the assistant coach who recruited them decided to leave before their first year. A number of players never felt as connected to the remaining coaches.

No one from UNC Athletics has blamed Hatchell and her staff for the paper-class scandal, and no one should. Neither Hatchell nor any coach at UNC was involved in creating or perpetuating the paper classes. The argument that UNC is scapegoating Hatchell is both a misguided attempt by her supporters to shame Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham into granting her an extension, and an intellectually dishonest ploy by anti-athletics crusaders who want to see men’s basketball and football take all the blame.

Hatchell deservedly has had former players publicly support her. From what I know of her, she has been an honorable and successful coach for many years. However, the players whose support matters most are those who will be playing for other schools next year.

Chansky’s Notebook: Chizik’s Challenge

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

Gene Chizik sounds good, but can he change a really bad Carolina defense?

UNC’s new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is all positive in a recent interview with Lee Pace in Extra Points. He won a national championship at Auburn, then got fired, then took two years off, then came to Carolina. So far, so good in everything Chizik says about his Tar Heel experience.

The all-new defensive staff, which Chizik helped Larry Fedora hire, has not only changed the scheme back to a 4-3 but apparently has changed the attitude. They even hired a 31-year-old coach, Tray Scott, who hopefully is a social media whiz since that’s today’s way to communicate with college players and recruits.
Chizik spent the first two days with his defense not talking football, but talking commitment and life. He says he wants he players to be solid citizens off the field and smart, hard-knockers on. Of course, he’s already lost cornerback Malik Simmons to an indefinite suspension for possession of pot and running away from the police. Hopefully, all the other guys will get the hint.

Chizik seems happy, even though his family has remained in Auburn while his kids finish high school. But why not? He gets a fresh start at a school in a different league and has been a great spokesman for how UNC does it the right way after a mistake-filled period before Fedora arrived. He says selling Carolina is not hard, despite some bad publicity still lingering from the NCAA investigation.

And Chizik even has Carolina ties. His deceased father is from Asheville, where he played high school football with Charlie Justice and went off to war with Choo Choo. So Chizik loves to see the statue of Justice outside the football center every day when he comes to work. But whether Chizik and his new defense will be deemed a success is all on the field, beginning Sept. 3 in Charlotte against South Carolina. The initial job of improvement should be easy, since the Tar Heels were among the worst defenses in the ACC and country last season. But making them good enough to contend for a conference championship is a completely different matter. That’s when what Gene Chizik did and didn’t do at Auburn won’t count.

It’s all about building the consistent defense that has been lacking here, save the heyday seasons of Mack Brown and Bill Dooley, for five decades.

Suspect in Triple-Fatal Crash Released on $1 Million Bond

Chandler Michael Kania been released from the Orange County jail after posting bond, according to his attorney.

The 20-year-old Kania was being held under a $1 million bond while he faces three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges, in connection with a triple-fatal crash on I-85 last Sunday, July 19.

READ MORE: Bond Stays at $1 Million in Triple-Fatal Crash

Roger Smith Jr., one of two attorneys representing Kania, told WCHL that, “his family has taken him home to Asheboro where he will be under house arrest.”

Kania – who is a rising junior at UNC – is accused of driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head on into a 2007 Suzuki, killing three of the four passengers; 49-year-old Felicia Harris; 46-year-old Darlene McGee; and six-year-old Jahnice Baird. Nine-year-old Jahnia King was the lone survivor from the Suzuki; she suffered two broken bones in her left leg and a broken right collarbone, according to officials.

READ MORE: Kania Charged with 3 Counts of 2nd Degree Murder

Smith went on to say in the statement that Kania would immediately seek medical care and physical therapy for his broken right ankle, broken left foot, and broken left arm.

He adds that, once he has recovered from his injuries and is physically able, he will focus on other areas of treatment.

READ MORE: Head-On Collision on I-85 Kills Three

Judge Charles Anderson said at a hearing on Monday that he would only consider lowering the bond if attorneys agreed Kania would be placed in an alcohol treatment facility.

Smith says Chandler and the Kania family continue to grieve and mourn for the victims and their families.

READ MORE: Kania Family “Devastated” After Crash

Kania’s next court appearance is slated for August 10.

Bond Stays at $1 Million in Triple Fatal Crash

A judge denied the request that the bond be lowered in the triple-fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 last Sunday, July 19.

Roger Smith Jr. and Wade Smith appeared on behalf of 20-year-old Chandler Michael Kania in Orange County Court, on Monday, to appeal to Judge Charles Anderson for a lower bond.

“The plan would be for him to go home to his family in Asheboro, where he has the support there,” Roger Smith says. “Any other conditions that you want to impose on him, which I know you did on last Thursday, curfew, electronic house arrest…a continuing alcohol monitoring device; any of those are just fine.

“But I certainly hope you would consider reducing the bond from where it currently sits, and I would suggest to the court – I hope it’s ok – that you would set a bond at $250,000.”

Anderson denied the request, leaving the bond as it was originally set at $1 million, as Kania’s mother cried from her seat in the courtroom.

READ MORE: Kania Charged with 3 Counts of 2nd-Degree Murder

Kania is charged with three counts of second-degree murder among a litany of other charges related to the crash. He is accused of drunkenly driving the wrong way on Interstate 85 for nearly six miles before crashing head on into another vehicle, killing three of the four passengers.

Search warrants released on Monday show investigators believe Kania used a fake ID to drink alcohol at La Residence and He’s Not Here.

In arguing for a bond reduction, Smith touted Kania’s past – including serving as Student Body President at Asheboro High School and his lack of a criminal history.

But Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman put forward the state still considered Kania a danger to himself and others, as well as a flight risk – even though Kania has surrendered his passport.

“I concede there’s not a history of flight,” Nieman says. “But as I said on Thursday, those who would say he has no reason to flee would have also said there’s no reason to believe that he would have been operating a motor vehicle impaired by alcohol and killing three people last Sunday morning.”

Nieman adds he considers the state’s case to be very strong and Kania could face up to 65 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

READ MORE: Head-On Collision on I-85 Kills Three

Kania was not present in the courtroom Monday as he recovers from surgery on a broken right ankle, broken left foot, and broken left arm.

Nine-year-old Jahnia King is the lone survivor of the car struck by Kania’s 2005 Jeep Wrangler; she suffered two broken bones in the lower left leg and a broken right collarbone, according to Nieman’s statement last Thursday.

49-year-old Felicia Harris, 46-year-old Darlene McGee, and six-year-old Jahnice Baird were all killed in the crash.

Bakojo Oguntola is McGee’s cousin. He spoke after the hearing.

“I’m happy that the judge decided to hold the bond where it is,” he says. “It’s quite evident that the guy is guilty of the charges.”

But Oguntola adds his family doesn’t hold any malice in their hearts toward Kania or his family.

“He’s a victim as well, but like I said earlier, he’s a victim of his choices,” Oguntola says. “He’s a victim of the choices that he made. And he’s a murderer. A drunk driver.

“And we’ve seen this scenario so many times in this country. He’s a drunk driver. Whether he’s 20, 30, 40, or 50, it still comes out to be the same thing.”

Oguntola says he is at the hearing to fight for justice for those killed.

“There’s no mystery that privileged people have a way of pushing things under the rug,” he says. “And there has to be accountability.

“And we choose to be here to make sure that we have an eye on the situation; that in case family have an opportunity to speak up, then our voices can be heard – because Darlene’s voice cannot be heard. But we can speak on her behalf.”

He adds the family is still in mourning and they will keep Kania’s relatives in their thoughts.

“My heart goes out to his family, to his mother, and his father, his siblings, because they’re suffering a loss as well,” he says. “But it doesn’t negate the loss that we’re dealing with. It doesn’t negate the six-year-old. It doesn’t negate Darlene.

“Darlene doesn’t have a criminal record. Darlene worked two jobs. She was just a good person.”

READ MORE: Kania Family “Devastated” After Crash

Anderson said, during the initial appearance last Thursday, the case involved unimaginable horror. He followed up that statement, on Monday, with more questions about what we should be doing as a society to prevent these losses in the future.

“It begs the question, ‘What are we doing wrong in this world?’” he asks. “On college campuses all over the state and all over the country, we’re not better preparing our most privileged, intelligent, entitled children on how to handle alcohol.”

Anderson did say he was open to reducing the bond if the attorneys agreed for Kania to attend a rehab facility upon his release.

Kania’s next court appearance is set for August 10.

Current, Former Tar Heels Claim Gold With USA Field Hockey

Team USA – featuring five current or former Tar Heels – won gold in women’s field hockey on Friday at the Pan American Games in Toronto, beating Argentina 2-1 in the final.

That’s Team USA’s second straight Pan Am Games title; they also beat Argentina in the final in 2011.

Team USA’s roster includes rising Carolina senior Emily Wold plus former Tar Heels Jackie Briggs, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski and Kelsey Kolojejchick. Goalkeeper Briggs was key to America’s win on Friday, making several big saves along the way.

Another former Tar Heel, Caitlin Van Sickle, was on the roster as an alternate.

Gov. Martin Claims He Misspoke on UNC Scandal

Former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin now says he misspoke about the UNC scandal when he told trustees: “This was not an athletic scandal. It was an academic scandal, which is worse; but an isolated one.”

These revelations were put forward in a new book slated for an October release that was previewed by the News & Observer of Raleigh.

Martin delivered the now-in-question comments nearly three years ago after a four-month investigation into academic irregularities stemming from the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

In the new book, “Catalyst: Jim Martin and the Rise of North Carolina Republicans,” Martin says, “I could have said, ‘Not only is it an extraordinary athletic scandal, but it is also an incredibly damaging academic scandal.’”

Martin’s investigation found that the so-called “paper classes” dated back into the 1990’s. But more information was found during the UNC-commissioned Wainstein Report that was released in 2014.

Wainstein, a former top official with the US Justice Department, had access to personnel involved in the paper classes that Martin did not have access to during his investigation.

The book was written by John Hood, President of the John William Pope Foundation and Chair of the Conservative think tank John Locke Foundation, and is mainly a biography of Martin.

UNC: Alert Carolina Failure is ‘Unacceptable’

UNC officials have completed a review of the Alert Carolina system after a failure in alerting the campus of two armed robberies last week.

Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt called the communication breakdown “unacceptable” in an informational message sent out to the UNC campus, on Friday.

The message was a follow up after the Alert Carolina messaging system was put through a review because it failed to quickly alert the campus community of two armed robberies last Wednesday.

READ MORE: Alert Carolina Late to Alarm Students of 2 Armed Robberies

UNC says part of the notification system worked as planned when the robberies were reported just before 11 o’clock. All of the six sirens sounded after being activated by the Department of Public Safety and broadcasted short pre-recorded voice messages about the initial threat and the “all clear” message that was to come. The statement says officers also quickly secured the crime scene and set up a perimeter in close coordination with Chapel Hill police.

But the remainder of the alert system failed; a text message to registered cell phones, an e-mail, and posts on the official university social media platforms were all delayed by an estimated 45 minutes, which caused some confusion as to the seriousness of the alert sirens.

A review of the system found two human errors, compounded with a computer glitch, caused the problem. The human errors have not been specified by Carolina at this time.

University officials say they are working to refine and improve the Alert Carolina system in order to maintain the safety of individuals on and around campus.

The system will be tested on August 26 as part of the annual fall siren test.

READ MORE: Chapel Hill, Durham Police Team Up to Solve Recent Armed Robbery Cases

Authorities with UNC, Chapel Hill, and Duke are still working to identify suspects in armed robbery cases with similar circumstances that have occurred across both campuses and in the town.