Dear Dr. Harmon,
Your August 12 opinion published by Chapelboro.com
in response to my feelings of Coach Davis’ firing, indicated that my letter “could not have hit further from the intended mark.” I must respectfully disagree by saying that if my letter elicited combative responses from you and Mr. Chansky of Chapelboro fame, then the letter hit dead center of the mark. While I certainly welcome dissenting opinions to my views on Carolina Football they mostly come from rivals, not fellow alumni. This merely confirms that there is a faction that asserts that big time football is just not worth it. If it takes me coming across as egomaniacal or even narcissistic to make fans aware of this faction, then so be it.
In your referencing my use of pronouns, I must say that when writing what is essentially an op-ed piece, self-referencing pronouns are needed when conveying one’s opinion. I certainly don’t think speaking in third person would have been appropriate. With that being said, I am of the opinion that this was indeed a football issue and not a University issue. The foundation of over 210 years of academic excellence at Carolina will not be weakened by a few student-athletes cutting corners or an honor court missing a plagiarized paper. I sincerely doubt that applications are down or that there have been students who decided to go elsewhere because of this “widespread academic fraud involving the football program” that you so grossly exaggerate. Contrarily, there are many students that aspire to come to Carolina because they would be proud to say that they attended the same school as Michael Jordan or Mia Hamm.
I would also vehemently disagree with your quote that “reasonable people who care about the University care not a whit whether I honor my pledge to the Rams Club.” There are many student-athletes that are good kids who direly depend on donations annually from me and fellow Ram’s Club members. They, along with those who work for the Ram’s Club do give a ‘whit’ and they do care for our school. This statement by you further corroborates my anxiety of de-emphasis across all of athletics.
Butch Davis is my good friend and by pointing that out, I merely affirmed that this was not going to be an objective piece. Butch made a bad hire, he admitted it and was preparing to make sure that it never happened again. The academic stuff was not his fault. I didn’t feel a need to offer a defense given that the NCAA did that for me by not citing him in their report. I’m sorry if you feel that I “trashed” William Friday and Holden Thorp. That is a strong accusation and I take it seriously, however I did not attack them personally, just what I thought was a bad decision at a horrible time. In my fear of our administration “giving up on football” and returning to mediocrity, along with the vexing silence from others who shared my fears, probably prompted the use of more fervent rhetoric than was necessary. I’ve never quite learned how to temper this.
I am not versed on the hiring of Dean Smith and so I cannot comment on it. However, if they were purposely de-emphasizing basketball by hiring him, then they obviously failed miserably, as we all know how it turned out. I do not want to gamble and hope that our football team will be that fortunate. The next AD hire will be the most important hiring since the aforementioned Smith hire. This will dictate whether or not my fears or realized, not the recent expansion of the football facilities. I know I’m using those dreaded pronouns again, but no one else is talking and that certainly is disconcerting.
In your last sentence you write, “If you want to hold sway with these people, please focus on our real problems and offer solutions.” To whom are you referring by sweeping such broad brush when you say “these people?” Academicians? Fans? Students? I’m not sure but let’s start with you. You and a guest join my wife (Susan, gymnast, class of 1992) and me in our suite for a game. Let’s go down on the field before the game, up in the suite during the game and in the locker room after the game. I’ll walk you through the whole experience. Win or lose, the camaraderie that you will witness in the locker room following the contest will give you an up close perspective enabling you to understand the passion that drives so many of us, whether you embrace it or not. I hope you take me up on the offer.
Class of 1991
Photo Courtesy of Deems May and Mandatory Credit: Gary Newkirk /Allsport – 4 Oct 1992: Tight end Deems May of the San Diego Chargers looks on during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers won the game, 17-6.