Roy Williams had a good idea and was dumbfounded the NCAA said no. At his preseason press conference, Williams was not asked about the proposed exhibition game against South Carolina in Charlotte — so he brought it up himself at the end.
After watching news reports of the devastation at the Carolina coast and then witnessing it in person over the weekend, Williams explained he wanted to do something for the families that lost everything to Hurricane Florence. Since UNC already had the maximum of two exhibition games scheduled, he asked the compliance office to seek a waiver for a third game — and was shocked when the NCAA said no.
Supposedly, it would be a competitive advantage for the forthcoming season if the Tar Heels and Gamecocks played a benefit game in Charlotte and gave all the proceeds to the relief effort. If someone would please tell ol’ Roy what kind of an advantage, he might start to understand why he can’t follow through on the idea. Until then, Williams is going to be talking about it.
“That was a Roy original,” he said after describing the scene of the hurricane-hit communities. “It makes you want to do something, and I’m stunned and sad that we asked for a waiver and they said no.”
The presser was filled with questions about the state of college athletics and the most recent scandals over illegal payments by shoe companies to certain recruits on the behalf of certain schools.
“That’s a world that I don’t live in,” Williams said, adding that in 30 years of coaching, he has never been asked for anything by a recruit or asked a shoe company for something that would help him get a recruit. Williams said he still thinks of college basketball as a glass half-full, and remembers that enough good things have come out of the game that he is perplexed when he reads or hears so many things bad about it.
In fact, here he was trying to use the game — his game — to help people in need, and the NCAA wouldn’t let him do it. He even joked that with a Democratic governor (Roy Cooper) in this state and a Republican (Henry McMaster) in South Carolina, he thought that two rival politicians might agree on something for a change.
They did, but the NCAA didn’t — and that is sad.