UNC Football Reserve Arrested in Raleigh

A reserve football player for North Carolina has been arrested on an assault charge hours after the Tar Heels beat North Carolina State.

Police in Raleigh say cornerback Tyreece Jiles got into a fight with an employee at a nightclub near downtown at about 2 a.m. Sunday. He was charged with simple assault and released from jail on a $1,200 bond. He is due in court Monday.

The university did not immediately comment.

Jiles is a 21-year-old senior from Cape Coral, Florida. He has made one career start and has one tackle in eight games this season. He’s listed as T.J. Jiles on the roster.

The Tar Heels will play Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game next week.


Stroman On Sports: Lessons From The Field

College campuses across the country (including UNC) have witnessed a wave of protests and demonstrations, as the troubling issue of race relations is once again front and center in American political discourse.

What lessons can we take from the world of sports that will help us in these and other debates?

Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an expert on analytics in sport. She spoke last week with WCHL’s Aaron Keck. (They also discussed UNC’s recent on-field success – prior to Saturday’s NC State game – as well as the intense demands placed on coaches at the highest level of college athletics.)


How UNC Can Make The College Football Playoff

Didn’t think we’d be saying this after the South Carolina game, but here we are: there’s one week left until bowl selection time, and UNC still has a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Carolina currently sits at no. 11 in both the AP and coaches’ polls – I’m writing this on Saturday night – but they’ll be in the top 10 when the new polls come out. They’ll leap over Baylor, Oklahoma State and Florida, maybe Notre Dame too, and they’ll come in somewhere between no. 7 and no. 9. The CFP ranking is the one that matters, though, and those voters haven’t been as kind to Carolina so far: heading into this week, UNC was still sitting all the way down at no. 14.

But that’s going to change. After this week, with Notre Dame, Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Florida all losing, the CFP Top 10 is going to end up looking something like this:

1 Clemson
2 Alabama
3 Oklahoma
4 Iowa
5 Michigan State
6 Ohio State
7 Stanford
8 Florida State
10 Notre Dame

…with Baylor, TCU, Ole Miss and Florida just outside the top 10.

Number nine is great. But it’s the top four teams who make it to the College Football Playoff, and there’s only one week left before the teams are chosen. Can UNC jump five spots in a week?

Yes, they can.

Six of those top nine teams all play on Saturday the 5th: UNC faces Clemson in the ACC title game; Alabama takes on Florida for the SEC title; Iowa plays Michigan State for the Big 10 championship; and Stanford meets Southern Cal for the Pac 12 title.

The Iowa/MSU game is irrelevant. For UNC to make the top four, just three things have to happen:

1) UNC beats Clemson for the ACC title.
2) Southern Cal upsets Stanford in the Pac-12.
3) Florida upsets Alabama in the SEC.

If all that should transpire, then Carolina would likely pass Clemson, Stanford, Alabama, and Florida State in the rankings, plus whichever team loses the Iowa/Michigan State game. (Personally I’ll be rooting for the Spartans to win that one, but for our purposes it doesn’t matter which.) That should leave the final rankings looking like this:

1 Oklahoma
2 Iowa or Michigan State
3 Ohio State

…and we’ll all be going to Miami or Dallas to play on New Year’s Eve.

So let’s root for three upsets, y’all. Southern Cal over Stanford, Florida over Alabama, and then look for Carolina to bring it home on Saturday night. (And then pray the CFP committee doesn’t do something silly, like drop Clemson only to no. 4 and leave the Heels on the outside looking in.)

But of course there’s a downside. Should the Tar Heels lose to Clemson on Saturday, they can still make one of the “New Year’s Six” bowls, probably the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve – but their chances of making the Peach Bowl actually go up if those other upsets don’t happen. Otherwise, UNC may end up in Orlando instead, at the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29. Still nice – but not quite the same feather in their cap.

So, go ahead and root for the upsets on Saturday. But only if you’re sure.


Campus Protests: Too Far? Not Far Enough?

Especially in the aftermath of recent events at the University of Missouri, there’s been a wave of demonstrations and protests at college campuses across the country – including UNC, where students recently took over a town hall-style meeting on race and inclusivity. Demonstrators say they’re speaking out against institutionalized racism in higher education – racism that manifests itself in many ways, from disparities in policing to cuts in need-based aid to campus buildings named after white supremacists (like Saunders Hall at UNC, recently renamed “Carolina Hall”).

Read the full list of demands issued by the students who protested at the town hall meeting.

Are the demonstrations going too far? Are the students right to demand major change? Are they going about it the right way? Are their methods productive? Counterproductive?

Orange County conservative Ashley DeSena joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck this week for a conversation about demonstrations on campus.


Are UNC Athletes Prepared For Life After Sports?

From multiple NCAA investigations to last year’s Wainstein Report, UNC athletics has been under fire for years, charged with failing to take academics seriously. The scandal has many facets – including the so-called “paper” classes that professors never graded; the tutors who reportedly suggested grades to keep athletes eligible; and Mary Willingham’s charge that many UNC athletes couldn’t read beyond an eighth-grade level. Even now, faculty members are still raising concerns about “special admits,” or the practice (common to many universities) of admitting student-athletes whose academic records otherwise wouldn’t qualify them for Carolina.

But of course the juiciest bits of the scandal give us only one side of a complex, nuanced story. What actually is the life of a UNC student-athlete? What are the challenges, the advantages, the constraints? What resources are available to help? Does UNC really care about academics in athletics? At the end of the day, do student-athletes still receive a quality education at Carolina? Is the University setting them up to succeed in life after college and after sports?

Mike Ingersoll is a 2010 UNC grad and a four-year member of the Tar Heel football team; he was recruited by John Bunting and played under Butch Davis, starting for two years at right tackle. After a short professional career, he’s returned to UNC, where he’s now a second-year law student.

Ingersoll says – contrary to popular belief – that UNC really did care about academics, even before any violations were uncovered, and that all the recent reforms have made the situation even better. He also says the University does a fine job preparing student-athletes for lives and careers beyond professional sports.

Mike Ingersoll shared his story this week with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Former UNC Linebacker Quincy Monk Passes Away

Former UNC linebacker Quincy Monk passed away on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer.

Monk played for the Tar Heels from 1998 through 2001 and finished second on the team in tackles in his senior season. Monk was drafted by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Monk played two seasons for the Giants before finishing his football career with the Houston Texans.

The story of Monk’s battle against cancer gained attention earlier this year as his teammates came to his side.

UNC football coach Larry Fedora released the following statement after the passing on Monk:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Quincy’s passing this afternoon. Quincy came and spoke to the team earlier this year before our Wake Forest game. In the brief time I knew him, it became clear how great of person he was, how much this University meant to him and how much this football program was part of his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lisa, and his two beautiful children, Naomi and Aiden.”


Chansky Notebook: UNC Winning The Hard Way

If champions find a way to win, the Tar Heels must be champions.

Larry Fedora said his team went into Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech facing the perfect storm. Frank Beamer coaching his last home game after 29 years in Blacksburg, the Hokies needing one more win to secure their 23rd consecutive bowl bid, senior day, black uniforms, Metallica revving up an already crazy crowd. The whole schmeer.

Yet, Carolina had to find a way to win to avoid going to N.C. State this week to wrap up the ACC Coastal Division. If the Tar Heels kept playing like they had the last month, it would have been no problem. But they played tight from start to finish and made uncharacteristic mistakes. Fumbling six times and losing three and committing nine penalties, several by veteran players.

With four minutes left, they had found a way, ready to score again and win comfortably by more than two touchdowns. Then Marquise Williams, upon whose shoulders this magical season has rested, lost the ball on two straight possessions, giving him three turnovers for the game. Shades of South Carolina – the last time the Tar Heels lost.

Going to overtime, how confident were you? If you’re into bad karma, the UNC basketball team was blowing a 16-point lead out in Iowa and it looked like a black Sabbath upon Tar Heel Nation. But the UNC defense, which had given up two touchdown passes on fourth-down after near goal-line stands, this time held the Hokies to a field goal and gave the offense a chance to win.

It looked easy when the Heels had a first-and-goal at the three but another false start made it third-and-goal from the 8. They had to get into the end zone or face a second overtime, which would have really been pushing their luck.

Marquise to Quinshad for only the second time this season, and they were celebrating with Fedora, destined to be for ACC Coach of the Year.

Ten straight and going to Charlotte to play top-ranked Clemson, which trust me does not want to face the 11th-ranked Carolina in what will be a wild scene at Bank of American Stadium. Before that comes N.C. State, and as tight as the Tar Heels were Saturday in the foothills, their sphincters should be loose and ready to take on the Wolfpack in the fairgrounds.

Eleven straight wins would be a school record for one season and the first time a UNC team has ever won that many before the post-season. That, and last year’s bad loss to State, should be plenty to play for.


UNC Board of Trustees Discuss Connect NC Bond

House Representative Dean Arp briefed the UNC Board of Trustees on the Connect NC bond that will be on the ballot across North Carolina in March.

“We believe this is a proactive and fiscally sound plan,” he said.

The total investment will add up to $4.36 billion with the $2 billion bond proposal and the $2.36 billion that will be paid in cash for transportation needs over the next six years.

The bond will go towards building and infrastructure needs.

Projects across the UNC System, including the Medical Education Building Replacement at Chapel Hill, are included in the proposal, which is the first general obligation bond issued in the last 15 years.

“We’re very excited about the bond package,” UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said. “It’s a huge investment in the state. It’s great for the universities. Ours goes directly to increasing the number of physicians so we can increase the number of lives saved.”

Arp added that even with borrowing $2 billion, the state would still be 25 percent below the recommended debt limit.

So trustee Hari Nath asked why just $2 billion instead of a bond that would fund more capital need projects?

“I’m a positive guy and I like to focus on the positive things,” Arp answered. “Two billion is what we could get passed.”

Arp said that after looking at the financial standing of the state, the General Assembly would be open to a higher bond number. But Arp said that he had encountered opposition to the initial number of the bond proposal but he added that those groups have warmed to the idea.

“It provides not only an economic benefit to the citizens of North Carolina, but it makes financial sense,” said Dwight Stone, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “If we address those messages I think the citizens of North Carolina are going to go along with it.”

The bond proposal will be on the ballot across the Tar Heel state during the election primary on March 15.


UNC Women’s Basketball Wins Three Straight in Weekend Tournament

UNC women’s basketball pulled out a 70-63 win against Yale on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena. Behind an impressive effort from sophomore Jamie Cherry, the Tar Heels picked up their fourth straight win.

Cherry finished with 24 points, as the guard made 7-12 field goal attempts, as well as added a team-high four assists and completed 8 – 9 free throws. Cherry has been impressive early in the season, but Sunday’s performance was extra remarkable, in what may be a breakout season. Cherry averaged 6.4 points per game last season and had a season-high 15 points her freshman year.

Cherry continued to play in a full facemask after breaking her nose on Friday night, which has been a total adjustment, she said.

“I think yesterday was a kind of getting used to the mask thing, just getting used to being able to see out of it and getting my breathing down pat. Just of course seeing those two three’s go in, because the past couple days I haven’t been hitting shots, was very confidence building.”

N’Dea Bryant has been piecing together a set of solid games, but UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell said the senior guard may have played her best game as a Tar Heel against Yale. Bryant had her first career double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

“N’Dea, probably in my estimate, had the best game she’s ever had because she had 13 rebounds. I challenged her before the game and she did it. I said ‘N’Dea, don’t let me down’ and she didn’t let me down. So that’s great that she had a great game and we need her to keep doing that,” said Hatchell.

Bryant said her first instinct is typically to rebound, especially when Cherry drives to the net.

“Definitely most of the time to rebound first, but usually my teammates find me on the open shot, so it’s not like I have to do a whole lot to try to get a shot off. That’s definitely my first thought coming into the game and then getting those easy lay-ups and seeing the ball going in the hole makes taking a shot a little bit easier.”

Senior Xylina McDaniel contributed a season-high 11 points in her third game back, while freshman Destinee Walker added 10 points and missed her first free-throw, going 18 – 19 on the season thus far.

Once again, UNC played a physical game that featured no ties and no lead changes, something the Tar Heels struggled with their first couple games of the season. North Carolina entered intermission with a 33-21 lead, which only grew in the third period off of a 12-0 UNC run, putting the Tar Heels up 49-35 for a 14-point advantage, their largest of the game.

20 turnovers and a dull 26.8 percent three-point completion average prevented the Tar Heels from truly breaking away in the game, as the Bulldogs finished the third period with seven straight points, bringing the game too close for comfort, with UNC up 49-42 and ten minutes left to play. The Bulldogs came as close as six points in the final minutes, however, 11 of Cherry’s 24 points came in the fourth period, cementing the UNC win.

UNC will next play on Wednesday, November 25th in a home game against Pacific at 3:00 p.m.

“I’m proud of these kids for hanging in there the last three days. It’s amazing how we’ve improved as a team in the last eight days. We’ve had different people step up in different games. We’re looking forward to playing Wednesday and then going up to the Mohegan Sun for the final part of this Naismith,” Coach Hatchell said.


UNC Women’s Basketball Wins Three Straight

The North Carolina women’s basketball team has strung together a three-game winning streak with their latest game against a struggling Iona College team. With the win, the Tar Heels are now 3-2 overall after outpacing the Gaels for a 64-52 win.

The highlight of Saturday afternoon’s game in Carmichael Arena was freshman guard Destinee Walker. Walker, a 5’10” Orlando, Florida, native, once again lead the team in points, and is making a name for herself, after impressively contributing 32 points earlier in the week against Florida A&M.

“We’re learning and we’re working on progress. We do some good things at times and I love my freshmen, even though sometimes we make some not real smart decisions out there. But those two can really light it up when they get going. And I think they’re two of the best; I’d put them up against any two freshmen in the country,” said UNC Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell regarding Walker and freshman Stephanie Watts.

Shooting 10 -13 from the field, Walker was additionally almost perfect in her field-goal attempts, completing five of six shots. Senior guard N’Dea Bryant contributed double figures for the second game in a row, with 10 points, and Watts added 11, despite temporarily leaving the game with an ankle problem.

“Coming in at other schools freshmen don’t get that many minutes. I knew I would play a big role on the team, I knew I fit in and I knew the chemistry would be great, but of course I didn’t know I would start and play all these minutes,” Walker said.

Carolina went into Saturday’s contest coming off of a big win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night.

The game featured no ties and no lead changes, as Carolina has begun to find a rhythm in a team that now has senior Xylina McDaniel back in action. UNC’s largest largest came in the fourth period with 2:39 left in the game in which the Tar Heels had a 19-point advantage.

McDaniel said watching the team from the bench for a majority of last season and early this year was a hard experience for her, but overall she was able to learn how to better contribute to team camaraderie.

“Being out has been very hard, but at the same time I learned a lot from sitting on the bench and watching them play, seeing what I need to do as a player and a leader to help the team get better and grow. So, it hurt me and the team a little bit, but at the same time it helped us because now I’m able to tell them more and do more because I saw so much more from sitting on the bench,” McDaniel said.

Sophomore guard Jamie Cherry scored seven points, all from free throws, as she completed 7 – 8 attempts. In a frightening scene in Friday night’s game, Cherry suffered a broken nose in the fourth period, in which the crowd saw Cherry lying face down on the floor, writhing in pain, blood splattered on her towel. On Saturday she wore a full face mask, though Hatchell is not certain Cherry will continue to wear it in further games.

“She was shooting 41% from the three before tonight. She was missing that and also her driving. She’s really good, she’s been getting to the foul line a lot because she’s been driving and she couldn’t, wasn’t able to drive. She was fumbling the ball around because she couldn’t see. Knowing Jamie, she’ll probably end up taking that mask off. I wouldn’t be surprised.”

The Tar Heels are back in action Sunday afternoon for their third and final game in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge against Yale.

“I think we’re a pretty good team now. I told them in the locker room just a few minutes ago, I said, for our potential, on a scale of 1-10, we’re probably about a 6 right now, so we’re going to keep getting a lot, lot better. We can get up there to a 9, 10 and we can give anybody a game,” Hatchell said.