The Hornets are giving Tyler Hansbrough one last chance.
Psycho T knew exactly what he was doing when he stayed at UNC all four years. A bruising power forward in college, Hansbrough figured he would be an undersized pro, and he opted to stick around and become the Tar Heels’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Good move. He never considered turning pro early and for that, plus his ferocious style of play, was beloved in college. As the ACC Player of the Year as a junior, a four-time All-American and the 13th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, he made his guaranteed money and now is in the twilight of his NBA life.
For me, he never looked comfortable as a pro, because he was the quintessential college star. A young man of few words who did his talking on the court, he never took a possession off and only missed a couple of minutes for rest in every game.
What better place to see his basketball career end, or see if he can rekindle that fire back in the state he electrified for four years – leading Carolina to two Final Fours, one national championship and, perhaps more important, four straight victories at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Ah, the good old days.
Hansbrough being signed by Charlotte means that owner Michael Jordan and GM Rich Cho are trying to bring fans back to Time-Warner Cable Arena, after missing the playoffs last season, with a popular name. Hansbrough had his worst season as a pro in 2015, coming off his lowest scoring and rebounding averages and declining numbers in every other category in his second year with Toronto after five in Indiana. Now it’s on to Charlotte.
Hansbrough joins a cast that already includes Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky, two big men who do what Hansbrough does, only better. Best plan for Psycho T is to be a popular sub bounding off the bench to show the same kind of aggression he did at UNC. At the very least, he should be comfortable back in the building where he had some of his greatest post-season games. Remember his o-rebound and buzzer-beater over Virginia Tech in the 2008 ACC Tournament semifinals and his two jumpers that buried Louisville in the East Regional Final two weeks later?
Sad to say for one of the greatest Tar Heels ever, but Hansbrough is now a journeyman pro. Let’s hope he can draw some fans, make some magic and not have that journey end too soon. If he’s heading for his last hurrah, it should where he got his first.http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-heeees-back/
Larry Fedora hopes his passion will trump pessimism.
UNC’s football coach met the media at Pinehurst Tuesday and was asked immediately about telling recruits what HE thinks about the future of the Tar Heels. Fedora is saying he is confident that the NCAA won’t keep his team from playing as many games as it deserves to play.
Fedora has been getting commitments from kids who are excited about their four or five years in Chapel Hill. Obviously, they think the future is bright or they wouldn’t have committed. Fedora isn’t even talking much about the NCAA, unless asked; he’s leaving that to rival recruiters. He’s going positive about all UNC has to offer on and off he field.
What else is he to do? Well, maybe you should sign at Duke or State because we’re afraid of the big, bad NCAA? The smart money is on no sanctions that affect the current Carolina team. Why would they? These kids had nothing to do with what went on here in the past. Fedora is the new coach looking only forward.
The 2015 Tar Heels actually got three votes to win the ACC championship and even more to capture the Coastal Division. They have most of their offense returning and a defense that only has one way to go under new coordinator Gene Chizik. There is a lot to be optimistic about, and Fedora is an optimist. He knows only one speed, so why not show confidence and present his vision of Carolina football? Other schools may be trying to dissuade kids from coming – that’s what they are hanging their hats on, Fedora says – but he’s spinning a far more positive story. And succeeding. Imagine what he will do when the NCAA cloud is finally lifted?
Fedora asked for, and received, a seven-year contract when he took the UNC job after his last regular season at Southern Miss. He knew it might be rough sledding at first and it has gotten progressively tougher since going 8-4 and tying for the Coastal championship in 2012. The team bottomed out going 6-7 last year and, frankly, looked like some players quit the last two games. That toasted Fedora.
Until someone says something different, the Tar Heels have everything to play for in 2015. His job is to keep his eye on the ball and beat South Carolina in Charlotte on September 3. If so, it will be hard to hear anything else above all that noise.http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-make-your-own-noise/
Atlantic Coast Conference Media Days are underway.
Players from around the ACC were in the spotlight for day one.
North Carolina finished up last football season with a 6-6 regular season record followed by a 19-point loss to Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl.
But middle linebacker Jeff Schoettmer says the Tar Heels are looking forward.
“Last year, a multitude of things went wrong,” he says. “We’ve moved past that. We have a new staff, so we’re not even worried about what happened last year. We can’t change it.”
Schoettmer was referring to the new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who was brought in to lead the Carolina defense. The linebacker says it didn’t take long for Chizik to make an impact.
“Over the course of the spring, communication that’s what really got better,” he says. “And then tackling, we missed way too many tackles last year.
“Poor tackling angles and tracking angles is one of the things that Chizik associated with that when he came in. He went back and watched every game last year and those are the two things he pointed out, poor tracking angles led to missed tackles.”
While the Tar Heels defense was historically bad last season. The offense, to use the word of Quarterback Marquise Williams, is loaded.
“We are very loaded with all the returning guys. We just have one guy missing, that’s Jack Tabb,” he says recalling the tight end from last year. “With Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins, Landon Turner, TJ Logan, Elijah Hood, with so many weapons on offense I can’t be any happier.
“I’ve been smiling all day because I have a great opportunity to come out and make some plays with some big-time names.”
Expectations are high in Chapel Hill for the defensive side of the football under Chizik to catch up with the high-powered offense the Tar Heels will sport under head coach Larry Fedora. Schoettmer says there is a lot left for this year’s version of the Tar Heels to accomplish.
“We made a bowl game [last year] with six wins. That’s not something we’re proud of,” he says. “We’re definitely happy we went to a bowl game, but our goal is to win an ACC Championship.
“You don’t do that by winning six games. You do that by winning 10 games, 10-plus games. That’s what we’re looking forward to and focusing on this fall.”
Head Coach Larry Fedora will address the media at the ACC Kickoff on Tuesday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-linebacker-our-goal-is-to-win-an-acc-championship/
Editor’s note: Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook on July 14th was about UNC Coach Sylvia Hatchell. Chansky followed with a longer Art’s Angle on the subject of Coach Hatchell on July 15th. The commentary below is from Mary Willingham and Jay Smith of paperclassinc.com, and was published to their blog on July 16th, but only in response to the July 14th Sports Notebook. On July 20th, Art Chansky shared his answer to their blog post in a Sports Notebook. Mary Willingham’s commentary can be heard on WCHL in an abbreviated version on July 21st. Below is the full version.
In a recent commentary on WCHL, ardent UNC sports fan Art Chansky revealed his strategy for combating the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations [NOA] against the university’s athletic program: Blame it on the women! Complaining of women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell’s (alleged) behind-the-scenes efforts to lobby for a contract extension comparable to the one recently offered men’s coach Roy Williams, Chansky griped that “an exit strategy should be [Hatchell’s’] play.” After all, Chansky claimed, “Hatchell’s program is in the most serious trouble from the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations,” given the high profile of women’s academic counselor Jan Boxill in the email documentation provided in the NCAA report. The whole NCAA investigation is a “witch hunt” with many victims, Chansky suggested, but the uncomfortable reality for women’s basketball is that “[Roy] Williams’ program was not cited in the NOA and Hatchell’s was.” Hatchell should therefore prepare herself to leave UNC “with grace.”
The propaganda purposes of this particular commentary are obvious even by Chansky’s standards. No team is “cited” in the NOA if by cited one means singled out for likely punishment. As a team and as a program, women’s basketball is cited in the NCAA document no more and no less than any other team or program. (The NCAA’s NOA did note, however, that the “special arrangements” used for eligibility purposes at UNC had particularly benefited “the sports of football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.”) Chansky, in other words, is only continuing and amplifying the PR drumbeat that Roy Williams, Larry Fedora and others began some weeks ago, presumably at the urging of university lawyers. They have repeatedly announced that the big-time men’s revenue sports would seem to be in the clear and should expect no further punishment from the NCAA. They would have us believe that the NCAA is prepared to give football and men’s basketball a free pass even after the exposure of decades’ worth of fraud that clearly benefited the football and men’s basketball teams. And they are evidently all too happy to point the finger of blame in the direction of a women’s team in order to lower expectations about the sanctions likely to be imposed on the men’s teams.
Leaving aside the gender politics of this shameless PR strategy–will advocates for women’s sports stand by while male coaches, boosters, and UNC insiders labor to persuade the NCAA that the Crowder-Nyang’oro scheme was merely a big plot to help women?–Chansky and company face one very high hurdle in pursuit of their propaganda campaign. A mountain of direct and circumstantial evidence makes clear that UNC’s distinctive pattern of academic fraud was developed specifically to meet the needs of the men’s basketball team, and that the corruption reached its highest levels on Roy Williams’s watch. The first suspect independent study courses offered by Julius Nyang’oro in the late 1980s were offered to men’s basketball players, some of whom had abysmal SAT scores and perilously low GPA’s before they met professor Nyang’oro. Faculty friends in geography, French, and the school of education had been very helpful to the team throughout the 1980s. But when leadership of the AFRI/AFAM department fell into the laps of two allies of men’s basketball around 1990–Nyang’oro and his assistant Debby Crowder, whose close friend Burgess McSwain served as academic counselor for the men in her remote Smith center office–that department quickly became the go-to academic center for struggling (or academically uninterested) men’s basketball players. The fraud would morph into a multi-team and three thousand-student debacle before all was said and done, but men’s basketball was always first in line for favors and fake classes. The needs of men’s basketball always came first in the eyes of Debby Crowder. And the 2005 men’s team, whose roster was stocked with players for whom both McSwain and Crowder felt great sympathy, benefited from unprecedented levels of favoritism. The team as a whole took well over one hundred paper classes; as one would expect, the starters on that team benefited disproportionately from the scam. Star forward Rashad McCants has had the guts to admit this publicly and to show the evidence of the fraud in his own student transcript. His teammates, though quick to denounce him, have kept their transcripts hidden. It is unlikely that anyone else from that team–Sean May, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams, Marvin Williams, Reyshawn Terry, Jesse Holley, etc.–will ever step forward with transcripts in hand to have a frank conversation about their classroom experiences. But the truth is in those transcripts.
Chansky, Williams, and the friends of men’s basketball would have the world believe that twenty years of bogus class scheduling was done without the knowledge of anyone actually connected to the men’s basketball program. Coaches (who are paid millions to know everything) supposedly knew nothing. The only academic counselor who was knowingly, inexcusably corrupt, they say, was philosophy instructor Jan Boxill, counselor for the women’s basketball team. This “powerful” figure, they say, corrupted women’s basketball of her own volition. Thankfully, all other counselors were innocent–even if it is unfortunate that they failed to detect the shenanigans of Crowder and Boxill.
The layers of absurdity in this line of argument become hard to distinguish. One might start, however, with the simple fact that Jan Boxill, whatever her flaws, was far more vulnerable than powerful. She was an untenured instructor whose employment at UNC was always partially contingent on her services to the athletic program. She was a highly valuable cog in the machine because of her go-between status and her ability to negotiate academic protocols for counselors who were physically segregated from the main arteries of the campus. But her great value also increased her vulnerability. She was pressured constantly by other personnel in the Academic Support Program to call in favors, to make phone calls, to ask for benefits that were “needed” by athletes with low GPA’s, travel commitments, or other handicaps.
Among the people who leaned heavily on Jan Boxill were the counselors for men’s basketball–first McSwain and then Wayne Walden, Roy Williams’s handpicked deputy who followed him to Chapel Hill from Kansas in 2003. When Roy Williams touts Walden’s ethics, he is not just blowing smoke. Walden was a decent guy who worked within a system that had been built long before he arrived. (Where is he now? Why won’t he and the other counselors step forward to tell their stories?) Walden had a conscience, and he was not happy to have to resort to “paper classes” and wink-wink independent studies courses to help keep certain players afloat. But he also knew what had to be done when push came to shove. Mary Willingham and Wayne Walden spent countless hours together in the old east end zone building talking about how difficult it was to keep challenged players eligible, and how much harder it was to navigate the UNC curriculum in comparison to the Kansas curriculum. (Thank the heavens for Debby Crowder and the few friendly faculty out there…) The course selection process they managed was never about offering players a world-class education; Willingham and Walden worked together–quite often with Boxill’s help, even more often with Crowder’s help–to keep basketball players eligible and in school. They were quite good at it, though Walden was constantly worried about getting Jan or Debby in trouble by asking for favors that would raise red flags. (One reason Boxill had so many emails to be plundered by Kenneth Wainstein and the NCAA: she worked in an office in Caldwell Hall, distant from the ASPSA. Deals, trouble-shooting, and schedule-engineering that were done face-to-face in the ASPSA had to be done through email whenever Boxill was involved. Conveniently for certain other key players in the drama, Boxill’s email was on the main UNC server rather than on the athletic server; her emails could not be expunged.)
Roy Williams has tried to take credit for steering players away from AFAM in 2006-7 (even as he disavows any knowledge of funny business in that department.) But the fact is, the transcripts of the 2009 national championship men’s team look different–with some but far fewer paper classes–only because a new fear of getting caught had set in around 2006. Remember the Auburn scandal and the panic it seems to have caused among ASPSA officials, the Faculty Athletics Committee, and Dean Bobbi Owen (who decreed that the numbers of AFAM independent studies had to be sharply reduced)? The upshot of the Auburn scandal, in the UNC men’s basketball program, was a new caution about cheating. The large-scale, team-wide stuff had to end. Paper classes, Walden decided, should be used only for the athletes who desperately needed them – such as the one guy who “couldn’t read very well.” That particular player, whose needs forged a particularly close relationship between Walden and Willingham (a reading specialist), took between ten and twelve paper classes. That figure–compiled in the years after Roy Williams claims that he cleaned up the basketball program–is significantly higher than the number of paper classes ever taken by ANY women’s basketball player. The number of AFAM majors on the men’s basketball team may have dropped off after 2005, but the need for paper classes remained (for both current and former players), and men’s basketball stayed at the front of the line at least through 2008.
Art Chansky and company are desperately trying to persuade the NCAA and the public at large that UNC’s course fraud scam was all about helping the women’s basketball team. Chansky urges Sylvia Hatchell to play sacrificial lamb for a UNC athletic department that benefited broadly and egregiously from academic fraud that unfolded over twenty years. The NCAA has all the emails, with all the unredacted names, and so one can assume that the Committee on Infractions will be able to hold up against the propaganda winds. But regardless of what the NCAA does or does not do, people of good conscience in and around UNC must not allow the dreams of Chansky, Williams, and Fedora to come true. Collective amnesia is not an option in Chapel Hill. Owning the reality of the scandal is important because only after accepting the true dynamic of the academic-athletic scandal–only after Tar Heels have come to terms with the fact that our love of men’s basketball and our passionate commitment to winning fostered an uncontrollably corrupt academic environment here–will the institution be able to move on with open eyes, a clean conscience, and a healthy plan for the future.
Chansky asks Hatchell to leave with “grace.” But grace has never been about willful blindness, nor should it be about taking one for the team. “Was blind but now I see,” goes the beloved lyric. Those touched by grace are not asked to go into exile; they are reconciled to a higher power and beckoned to a welcoming place (“grace will lead me home.”). Asking Sylvia Hatchell to go away is not the answer to UNC’s disgrace. The institution should instead be asking for its own gift of grace—the gift of clear-sighted reconciliation with the sins of its past.http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/earth-to-art-chansky-it-wasnt-about-the-women/
UNC has been picked to finish fifth in the always up-in-the-air Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Football Kickoff at Pinehurst Resort.
The voting media members selected the Clemson Tigers as the favorites to claim the conference championship.
Clemson was picked to finish above three-time defending champion Florida State in the Atlantic Division ahead of Louisville, NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest.
In the Coastal Division, the media members tabbed Georgia Tech as the favorites followed, in order, by Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia.
Clemson Quarterback Deshawn Watson was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Tar Heel Quarterback Marquise Williams finished in a tie for third in player of the year voting.
The media preview wraps up Tuesday in Pinehurst.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/clemson-tabbed-to-win-acc/
Newly unsealed documents in the case of a former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law suggest he funneled money to multiple Tar Heels players and set up meetings with agents and financial advisers trying to sign them to contracts.
Christopher Hawkins was arrested in May for providing former player Robert Quinn thousands of dollars and helping him sell game-used equipment in 2010, along with improperly contacting a UNC player in 2013 to talk about representation.
According to five search warrants unsealed Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press, Hawkins acted as “an agent/runner” by befriending other athletes, providing illegal improper benefits and brokering meetings with agents and advisers despite not being registered as required by law.
The search warrants from the past year sought records for financial and online accounts for the former UNC and Marshall player in a 5-year-old Secretary of State’s investigation, which began amid a 2010 NCAA probe into UNC’s football program. Hawkins was barred from school athletes and facilities that year and is one of five charged.
Fourteen Tar Heels missed at least one game in 2010 and seven were forced to sit all season in a case that led to NCAA sanctions in March 2012.
Both probes focused largely on ex-players Quinn, Marvin Austin and Greg Little. But roughly 75 pages of unsealed documents include other examples, including ex-player Kendric Burney telling investigators in October 2013 that he received monthly payments from Hawkins while an eligible athlete.
Burney, who missed six games in 2010 for improper benefits from Hawkins connected to trips, said Hawkins paid him and other players for agent meetings, the documents state.
Burney said Hawkins arranged and attended his meetings with financial adviser Marty Blazer and agent Peter Schaffer — two people who exchanged hundreds of calls with Hawkins, according to phone records cited in the warrants.
In a phone interview Sunday with the AP, Burney, now Schaffer’s client, said he didn’t know exactly how much money Hawkins gave him.
“He was just helping me at that point find a good agent,” Burney said. “Now as far as all the money situation, we never, never knew who it was coming from and never did I ever say, ‘Hey, let’s go get money from this agent.”
Burney said Schaffer never provided improper benefits, saying the agent “always was by the book with me.”
Schaffer told the AP he didn’t provide improper benefits to any UNC players. He said Hawkins spoke to him about Burney but most communication would’ve been about ex-UNC and NFL running back Willie Parker, a client who called Hawkins his “manager.”
Schaffer represents Austin and Little, both of whom previously hired other agents.
“Come out to my office, you can look through my bank records and you will not see one check wired, cash, anything to Marty Blazer, to Chris Hawkins, to Kendric Burney, to anybody,” Schaffer said. “Because it doesn’t happen.”
Blazer, Hawkins and Hawkins attorney Natasha Adams didn’t return emails Saturday from the AP.
The investigative documents listed different ways money allegedly changed hands for players long since departed from UNC.
The documents state Burney told investigators Hawkins summoned athletes to the house he shared with Parker to find “envelopes with their names on them lined up on a table.” Burney also said Hawkins paid him for signed memorabilia.
In February 2013, Quinn told investigators Hawkins provided $13,700 to steer him to Schaffer and Blazer, and called Schaffer “his guy,” the documents state. Quinn said Blazer wired him money under the name of a teammate’s girlfriend to avoid detection.
That May, Quinn’s ex-girlfriend — identified as an athlete whose name matches a former UNC softball player — told investigators Quinn received transfers through her account and said Hawkins was giving him money, the documents state.
Little also told investigators in 2013 he had received payments from Blazer through the account of former teammate and NFL receiver Hakeem Nicks, a client of both Blazer and Schaffer, according to the documents.
Quinn, now with the St. Louis Rams, and Little didn’t play in 2010 and were declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA.
The documents mention “numerous” emails between Hawkins and Blazer discussing payments made or pending to Quinn, Burney and former player Deunta Williams. Online chats between Hawkins and another person discuss teammates Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant.
Documents also cite online communication between Hawkins and Blazer discussing financial transfers. There’s no mention of transactions between Schaffer and Hawkins.
In 2014, Blazer told investigators he communicated with Hawkins because of his relationships with UNC players, but denied providing improper benefits. However, Blazer said Schaffer had done so and paying athletes was the only way to get them to talk but didn’t provide details, the documents state.
“For the Secretary of State to put that in that affidavit is slander, and this entire investigation is based on hearsay with absolutely zero credibility,” Schaffer told the AP. “It’s been a witch-hunt the whole time. The fact my name continues to come up in it is ridiculous.”
The documents also describe Hawkins attempting to make contacts elsewhere: Blazer provided investigators with a November 2013 email from Hawkins about former USC All-American Marqise Lee, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver in 2012.
“I have a guy working out with him at USC,” the email states. “I’m going to meet with him soon!! He’s been inquiring about financial guys.. (sic) What u think about him.. Reaching out to a few folks about him.”
The documents contain no indication Lee made contact with Hawkins or Blazer.
Hawkins has another court date scheduled for Friday.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/newly-unsealed-documents-detail-hawkins-payments-in-unc-case/
This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.
Earth to Jay and Mary.
Well, I see that Jay Smith and Mary Willingham used my column on Sylvia Hatchell as another excuse to rehash the entire academic scandal on their website, which has about as many readers as their convoluted tell-all book. They claim I say Sylvia should leave with grace because I am in a plot with Roy Williams, Larry Fedora and the rest of the athletic administration to turn the attention away from men’s basketball and football.
Well, Earth to Jay and Mary. Did you bother reading the rest of the column past the truth that women’s basketball is likely to get hit by the NCAA harder than any other program? All the experts who have studied the NOA in its detailed entirety have come to the same conclusion. But there are two other major reasons I believe Hatchell’s tenure at UNC will end sooner than later. One is using her friends to speak out against not getting a contract extension from Bubba Cunningham, and the other is that women’s basketball spends and loses way too much money.
Hatchell has three more years left on her lucrative long-term deal, foolishly given to her by Dick Baddour on his way out the door as AD. And she is in the cross hairs of the NCAA probe, much more so than Williams and Fedora, despite what Jay and Mary would have you believe. She does not deserve, or frankly need, an extension right now, and should have worked behind the scenes trying to convince Bubba otherwise. And if she failed, she still could have gone out with grace.
There is no way any program will be allowed to lose $2.5 million moving forward. That is fiscally irresponsible, and Cunningham’s job is to fix it. Hatchell’s program also has the highest cost-per-athlete among all woman sports. Taking the fight public and any NCAA sanctions will only hasten her departure.
Jay and Mary believe there was an 18-year covert scheme to keep athletes eligible here, and in propagating that ridiculous theory continue to demonstrate how little they know about major Division 1 athletics, and a minute percentage of underprepared recruits that every school admits to stay competitive. Did Carolina cross some lines that it will pay dearly for when the NCAA metes out penalties? Yes. But is it as widespread and anywhere close to the story they have spun that has done major damage to a great university’s brand and reputation? It’s not about the truth anymore for them. It’s far more about winning their argument.http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-planetary-response/
Congratulations to Caroline Price and Joey Sankey, star UNC athletes who have just earned this year’s Patterson Medals, the most prestigious athletic honor awarded by the university.
Price is the first women’s tennis player to win the Patterson Medal. She led the Tar Heel women’s tennis team to its winningest four-year stretch ever, with two ITA Indoor National Championships in 2013 and 2015 and a runner-up finish in the 2014 NCAA championship. As an individual, Price was an All-American in singles as a sophomore, an All-American in doubles as a junior, and a first-team All-ACC selection in 2015. She ranks second all-time in singles victories at UNC with 128.
Joey Sankey is only the second men’s lacrosse player to win the honor and the first since 2005. With 229 points, he’s Carolina’s all-time leading scorer. He was a third-team All-America as a sophomore and junior and second-team All-America this year; he’s also a three-time All-ACC pick, plus earning Academic All-ACC honors and USILA Scholar All-America honors for his work in the classroom.
The Patterson medal has been awarded since 1924. It’s based primarily on athletic accomplishment, but sportsmanship and leadership are also considered.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/price-sankey-win-patterson-medals/
Hiring Sylvia Crawley as an assistant coach is the right play for Sylvia Hatchell. Getting her friends and colleagues in the university to lobby for an extension to her contract is the wrong play.
Crawley, a star player and captain of the 1994 Tar Heels, will be seen by many people as Hatchell’s successor after she resigns following the 2016 season or is fired. Hatchell cannot survive as the Carolina coach for reasons that go beyond her program’s complicity in the NCAA allegations.
That first. Her support group calling women’s basketball a “sacrificial lamb” is ill-advised, some would say stupid. Anyone who reads the Notice of Allegations can see where Hatchell’s program is cited through the actions of former academic advisor Jan Boxill, the long-respected faculty member who was fired for her role in the AFAM scandal. Beyond the substantial fine the university will receive for a “lack of institutional control,” women’s basketball is the sport most likely to be penalized. One of the five allegations is entirely devoted to emails between Boxill and the AFAM department. If so, Hatchell will be held accountable as the CEO of the program.
Just as Butch Davis was fired for, among other things, violating his contract by hiring a coach (John Blake) who broke NCAA rules. UNC firing Davis “without cause” and paying him the balance of his contract worth between $11 and 12 million seemed foolish, but the university did not want to invest the time and legal fees to defend a prolonged lawsuit that Davis surely would have filed. Any Carolina coach whose program breaks NCAA rules, including Roy Williams, should be and would be fired.
Second, the collateral damage from the NCAA probe that has injured almost every Tar Heel sports team in recruiting has just about killed women’s hoops. Hatchell has lost the No. 1 recruiting class of 2013 — from Diamond DeShields transferring to Tennessee after her All-ACC freshman season to Jessica Washington, Allisha Gray and Stephanie Mavunga leaving this summer. Only Gray acknowledged that the stigma of the NCAA investigation caused her departure, but surely Washington and Mavunga feel the same way. These women worry that their association with a tainted team will hurt their professional careers, in and out of basketball, moving forward.
Clearly, Hatchell’s program has become fatally flawed and a change must be made to start over. Hatchell is a Hall of Fame coach who has won a national championship (1994) and more than 900 games. She also won her courageous battle against Leukemia that kept her off the bench during the 2014 season. She has been a great representative of the university until the NCAA revelations that have divided the campus and caused fractures in the athletic department itself.
Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham must negotiate an athletic program, 98 percent of which still operates and succeeds at the highest level, through the awful hand he was dealt when he took over for Dick Baddour in November of 2011. Aware he was inheriting the three-year probation in football for impermissible benefits during the Davis era, Cunningham said recently that he had not heard the acronym “AFAM” until a few months into his job.
The Rams Club continues to raise money at record levels, proving an angry alumni and fan base has not deserted the program, but by charter can only pay for scholarships and capital improvements. Cunningham is stuck with about an $80 million operating budget with most of its revenue streams maxed out. Sure, UNC gets an occasional windfall from additional post-season payouts from the ACC, but not enough to increase salaries and recruiting budgets for all but two of UNC’s 28 sports that do not make money.
When revenues are flat, expenses need to be cut. Cunningham and UNC are committed, for now, to a broad-based program driven by participation for as many varsity athletes as possible. But that will have to change one day. Current Title IX guidelines dictate any sport cut will be on the men’s side, and Cunningham has an opportunity to start by dropping the struggling wrestling program after he recently fired veteran coach and former Tar Heel All-American C.D. Mock. Wrestling gives out all 9.9 scholarships allowed by the NCAA, so that could save some money for the Rams Club. Also, coaches’ salaries and recruiting and travel costs would be eliminated from Bubba’s budget. Wrestling could still be offered as a club sport, where UNC’s program is among the biggest and most successful in the country.
Women’s basketball loses more money than any sport at Carolina. Hatchell earns about a million dollars from her state salary, stipends and her successful summer camp. The team draws sparse crowds to revamped Carmichael Arena, employs eight assistant coaches or support personnel and has significant recruiting and travel budgets. UNC has a “cost per athlete” metric computed by revenues versus expenses divided by the number of players on a team. While losing about $2.5 million a year, Hatchell’s program has the highest cost-per-athlete of all women sports and one of the highest of all 28 teams.
Surely, UNC can play competitive women’s basketball for half the cost. The money saved could be spread across all other women’s sports, increasing subpar coaching salaries and recruiting budgets in most of them. It is truly amazing that Carolina athletics continues to finish high in the Learfield Director’s Cup (fifth in 2014-15) with an operating budget far behind schools like Stanford, Ohio State and Texas.
Changes are on the way. They need to include women’s basketball where, after one season as Hatchell’s well-traveled and accomplished assistant, Crawley becomes the new face of the program. She has already held three head-coaching positions and is respected in the profession. Her charge would be to rebuild the Lady Tar Heels for less than what it has cost UNC, monetarily and otherwise, under Hatchell.http://chapelboro.com/columns/sports-notebook/arts-angle-hatchell-should-go-gracefully/
About a hundred people turned out in Pittsboro on Tuesday as officials broke ground on UNC Health Care’s new Hospice Home.
“We’re glad to be celebrating UNC Health Care’s newest opportunity to serve the people of North Carolina,” said Brian Goldstein, chief operating officer of the UNC Health Care System, as he welcomed onlookers to the site.
The hospice home is set to open in February. When it opens, Goldstein said, it will be a major addition for hospice care – Chatham County’s first inpatient hospice facility.
“In total, (it will have) 11,000 square feet,” he said, “complete with kitchen, dining room, meditation space, family visiting areas, and ten private rooms, each with an individual outdoor patio.”
In addition to serving as a boost for medical care, the building will also serve as a boost for the town of Pittsboro. It’s the second building to start construction in Chatham Park, Pittsboro’s new mega-development – the first, already under way, will open in December.
“We are pleased to partner with UNC Health Care,” said Chatham Park developer Tim Smith, who was on hand for the groundbreaking. “This hospice will provide end-of-life care options not previously available to local residents.”
Pittsboro town commissioner Pamela Baldwin – also present for the ceremony – agreed. “This is an honor, as well as an unparalleled privilege, to participate in the groundbreaking,” she said.
Officially, the building will be named the SECU Jim and Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health Care. (Jim Johnson of the SECU Foundation was on hand to provide a major donation to the project – a $1 million challenge grant.) Dr. James Bryan, the building’s namesake, has been with the UNC Department of Internal Medicine since 1964; in the 1970s he introduced the modern hospice care movement to North Carolina.
That movement began in England with a physician named Cicely Saunders – and an idea that began to grow in the 1940s, when she was a nurse treating a Polish refugee who was terminally ill.
“There he was, undertaking this terminal course, and they became very close,” said Bryan at Tuesday’s ceremony. “And they talked about how ideal it would be to be at a home…with a window overlooking a park, with music, with friends and with family…
“And so when he died, he left a legacy to her – and said, ‘I want you to build a window.'”
That “window” eventually became St. Christopher’s in London, which opened in 1967 as the first modern facility devoted to hospice care. Today, there are “windows” like St. Christopher’s around the world – and come February, there will be another new “window” in Chatham Park.