I really don’t understand anyone — Carolina fan or otherwise — who acts surprised by any of the things we’ve learned over the last two years regarding academics and athletics at UNC.
Now that Holden Thorp is stepping down, I think he should call the bluff of the blowhards. I want to see him get in front of the media, aiming squarely at the News & Observer, and tell everyone, “Hell yeah, athletes have it easier.”
I mean, we’re talking about big-time sports here. We loved watching Julius Peppers on the field and the court, but no one ever wondered why he wasn’t featured with paragraph-long quotes in game summaries in the paper. Holden needs to remind everyone that we want players who thrill and teams that win, and there is not a single thing that sports fans do to demand academic excellence besides talk about it.
Therein lies the rub, and therein lies why State fans are having so much fun rubbing Carolina noses in it. Now that we can look in the mirror, we have to admit that the belief that Carolina was somehow different from other schools is a conceit. Carolina fans want to believe that their team is somehow superior in every conceivable way. I guess it was never good enough to be athletic-superior when we could also win the war for the moral high ground.
But we’re far, far from alone in that. And that’s why I’d like an unburdened Chancellor to call it out. Tell the people every major athletic program makes special accommodations to help students academically, but we don’t do it for the players; we do it for the fans, for the consumers. It’s a business.
And every Carolina-hater throwing stones…lives in a glass house.
Listen to Graig’s commentary as it aired on 97.9 FM WCHL: