Friday, July 30, 2010

"How About Another Beer?"

My soon-to-be 34 year old son, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, called yesterday to talk. He does that every now and then, sometimes just to update me on the progress of his daughter, my granddaughter, who is nearly two years old, and sometimes to talk about his home and his effort to sell and move to a larger house in a nicer neighborhood, and sometimes to talk sports, UNC-Chapel Hill athletics in general and spectacular recruiting classes by basketball coach Roy Williams and football coach Butch Davis and the prospects for the coming season, in particular. Nothing could be finer, he says in so many words.

Usually in the conversation, especially when talking about UNC-Chapel Hill athletics, especially when discussing—though it’s a one-sided talk (if you can believe I can listen without talking)—the UNC-Chapel Hill football and basketball programs, my son alludes to the respect his school and teams must be granted if for no reason other than the school is UNC-Chapel Hill and his teams are the UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels. I can hear it coming from day-dreaming miles away while he jabbers and when he pauses for a breath, which usually leads to some statement or comment on my part that riles his dander and turns the conversation into what seems like a heated debate, one that others in our family circle interpret as an argument to beat all arguments which usually ends with one of us saying, “How about another beer?”

This doesn’t happen when we just talk about college athletics and our educational preferences; we could be talking war and peace, religion, how to cook a steak, securing the car seat for his daughter/my granddaughter, navigating to pick up pizza for dinner, liberal-conservative, taxes…well…you probably get it. We really love each other but we also love to joust just long and loud enough to hear from others in the midst who want us to stop for fear of all out warfare. I think my son and I enjoy watching the others get upset as they think we are about to come to fisticuffs when we are really just debating with our own style. Did someone ask, “How about another beer?”

Yesterday, as he talked about UNC-Chapel Hill and I listened, which is very hard to do because of my allegiance to NC State University and my Wolfpack, as the conversation was more ho-hum than riling, he asked a favor of me. “Next time you’re talking with Tom O’Brien,” he said as if I have regular conversations with the Wolfpack football coach who is entering in his fourth season and has a 3-0 record against UNC-Chapel Hill, “next time you talk with him, would you tell him to quit referring to NC State as the Flagship University in the UNC system. You and I both know it’s North Carolina and not NC State.”

That’s when the conversation turned from mundane to Much Ado About Nothing especially when I told him TOB is correct, that NC State University is the Flagship of the State University system in North Carolina for various reasons including total attendance, number of degree granting programs. Then he gave me the company line that UNC-Chapel Hill is the oldest in the state and that there’s a reason the system is called the UNC System and not the NC State System. I told him that at one time UNC-Chapel Hill may have been considered the Flagship school, but that NC State had surpassed UNC-Chapel Hill in many important ways and that NC State University does much more for the State of North Carolina than UNC-Chapel Hill ever has. He counts doctors and lawyers as more important to the state than agriculturalists and textile people and engineers. And he retorted (firmly but mildly) with something about asking any person in the state and across the nation which school in the UNC System is the Flagship of the system and the response would be his choice, UNC-Chapel Hill, which by the way, is the official name of the school located in the same town as the General Administration offices for the University of North Carolina (system).

Uneducated may have been the word I used to describe those who would choose UNC-Chapel Hill over NC State University which officially is NC State University at Raleigh because the stupid and jealous legislators, mostly UNC-Chapel Hill degree holders of some type, who helped create the System of State Schools made my school add “at Raleigh” if their school, UNC, the first chartered public school in the Universe I’m told on many occasion by graduates thereof, had to add “-Chapel Hill” to the end of UNC. By the way, those ignorant legislators along with UNC System President Bill Friday, a graduate of NC State College (and a classmate one year ahead of my Dad) wanted to re-moniker NC State College which was originally NC A&M, or something like that, as UNC-Raleigh to, what words shall I put in their mouths, bring the school in line and not give it a name apart from the System, or something such as that. As a matter of fact, if Friday and his band of lawmakers had had their way, there would have been UNC-Boone; UNC-Cullowhee, UNC-Elizabeth City, and UNC-Durham (now that sounds just right).

About the time the conversation with my son was starting to get into the ditches because neither one of us will ever budge from this because he wants respect for namesake and I want to rile because of namesake, his mother, a graduate of UNC-Cullowhee and inherently a UNC-Chapel Hill faithful because her Dad and two brothers and one son and several nieces and nephews and cousins attended UNC-Chapel Hill (legacy is the damndest reason for loyalty but then of course, on my side of the ledger, one of my relatives with the last name of Brooks was a founder of NC State), returned home from work and could hear my side of the telephone talk. The unpleasant look on her face was a warning of terrible things to come if I just didn’t let it go, tell him he was right (but not in the condescending tone I seem to be so capable of at times as this) and move on.

“You’re Mom’s home,” I interrupted the debate. “I better talk with her.” Which I did and in which I had to explain the topic of the telephone talk and about which I had to quickly explain my reasoning because she was taking his side. Of course, not only because she’s his mother but because UNC-Chapel Hill fans demand respect based on age more than anything else. Oops, not her age, but the age of their favorite school.

I didn’t have to but I turned to Wikipedia and looked up Flagship. I’ve heard the word for most of my life, especially when listening to NC State Wolfpack athletics. “This is WPTF. 680 AM, the flagship station of the Wolfpack Sports Network.” Which was true then because that’s where the Wolfpack Sports Radio Network started. Today, there is no Flagship radio station, though, WRAL-FM 101.5 in Raleigh thinks it is because it’s the home for NC State football and basketball broadcasts in NC State’s hometown though sometimes the Wolfpack can be heard on 99.9 FM, the ESPN affiliate in Holly Springs. We also know that “Flagship” comes from the Navy fleet leading ship. But we also know that Flagship in a Navy fleet can change and has over time.

So, from Wikipedia:
The phrase flagship campus or flagship university is often used with reference to state university systems in the United States, which often comprise numerous campuses in widely-separated locations. In this context, flagship means the original campus from which the system grew. Fulfilling the naval analogy, it is often (though not always) the site of the administrative headquarters for the system. A flagship campus is often a land-grant school dating from the wave of state university foundings that followed the Morrill Act of 1863.

According to a Robert M. Berdahl, former Cal-Berkeley chancellor, “flagship” came into existence in the 1950s when the Morrill Act schools were joined by a newer campuses built in a wave of postwar expansion of state university system. Because of their age, the flagship campuses of a system are often the largest and best financed and are perceived as elite. Berdahl comments that “those of us in ‘systems’ of higher education are frequently actively discouraged from using the term ‘flagship’ to refer to our campuses because it is seen as hurtful to the self-esteem of colleagues at other institutions in our systems. The use of the term is seen by some as elitist and boastful. It is viewed by many, in the context of the politics of higher education, as ‘politically incorrect.’ Only in the safe company of alumni is one permitted to use the term.” Nevertheless, it is common for state university officials to use the term “flagship” in official contexts, e.g. “It is a pleasure to report to the General Assembly on the accomplishments and initiatives of the State's Flagship University,” said Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr, President, University of Maryland, College Park as he testified to the Maryland General Assembly in 2006.

Here’s the interesting part: Yes, UNC-Chapel Hill was founded first and was the only campus of the University of North Carolina for 136 years, at least that’s what the UNC General Administration website tells us. When NC State was established in 1887, while it was state-supported, it was not a subset of UNC-Chapel Hill. Neither was Women’s College in Greensboro, but in 1931, the General Assembly redefined the University of North Carolina and included all three, all equal partners in that definition of UNC. It was only logical to use that name to represent the State of North Carolina. The system grew from there to today: 17 campuses, not all with the UNC designation in front of the city of location.

So, in reality, though UNC-Chapel Hill may be the oldest, it is not necessarily the Flagship of the UNC System as the elitist and boastful want it to be. And, neither is NC State University; nor is Women’s College, now UNC-Greensboro. And because to say so might cause someone to think you are elitist and boastful, even if you have a three-game football winning streak, next time I see Tom O’Brien, I’ll relay the message from my son. We at NC State University do not want either to be hurtful to the self-esteem of our brethren at sister school UNC-Chapel Hill or to be seen as elitist and boastful; there are enough elitist and boastful associated with UNC-Chapel Hill, and they can think of themselves that way all they want.

Though I must admit to rile a UNC-Chapel Hill fan is fun and easy to do; those Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia SC do it regularly. “How about another beer?”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Charges Dropped! My NC State Boys Are Free!

Thank goodness for the letter of the law. Thank goodness for an off-duty Raleigh police officer who didn’t follow proper procedure in searching a residence of football players—NC State football players at that—and discovering marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Thank goodness for defense lawyers who asked a judge to toss out—or suppress—the evidence in the case against three of four football players with charges related to the find because proper legal procedures were not followed in the “bust,” which was by accident anyway. And, thank goodness for the judge, Keith Gregory, a graduate of the North Carolina Central University law school, who had the insight and courage to grant the motion to suppress to the defense lawyers.

Speaking about Judge Gregory, James Jackson, the lawyer representing Wolfpack defensive player J.R. Sweezy, is quoted in today’s The News & Observer: “Fortunately for us, we are a nation of laws, and it takes a highly courageous judge to follow those laws, especially when there's a case that has such high-profile status.” Once the evidence was hidden by the court, the charges were dropped. Justice speaks! My boys are free!

Now, thank goodness even more, that three of the marijuana four—Sweezy, Jake Vermiglio and Markus Kuhn—are liberated, that the charges are dropped, and the players return to fulltime status with Tom O’Brien’s—and my for goodness sake—NC State football team. The charges in total for the three were, but now gone, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for the use of a controlled substance. Another player, George Bryan, an all-Atlantic Coast Conference tight end, continues to face the charge about maintaining a dwelling and has a scheduled court date of Sept 3, the day before the Wolfpack opens the 2010 campaign against Western Carolina, Saturday, September 4. Kickoff set for 6 pm; tickets available, for sure, so call 919-865-1510; can be seen on ESPN3 unless you’re internet access is with Time Warner Cable.

The details of the incident have been much publicized so there is no need to rehash the particulars. I wrote about this situation April 27 (look it up and read it again if you wish) and at the time called for strong and swift action against the four by O’Brien. I even said the four could be found not-guilty, though it never crossed my mind that the charges could be dropped, but that the reputation of NC State and of O’Brien’s program had been tarnished because of the charges and arrests. I feel the same now and that public flogging would be a better solution than to say it was handled internally, if indeed it has been.

Just because the charges were dropped doesn’t mean those three didn’t have possession of marijuana or the paraphernalia, etc. It means the letter of the law wasn’t followed in conducting the search. Because O’Brien has not publically revealed what measures of punishment have been taken, we can only trust that some meaningful action has been transacted. Maybe there’s some Public Records Request that covers that. But, this is another chapter in college athletics that slaps black eye on the NC State program despite the growing idea that legalizing marijuana is the way to go. Even if it was, would O’Brien and other coaches allow their players to partake?

For the most part, it seems it is O’Brien’s method to keep disciplinary actions private, but such a method always makes one wonder. With the exception of Sweezy who was suspended from some of spring practice (wow!) because of a legal situation in Mooresville, O’Brien’s disciplinary actions have been private. Personally, I think it is best to be public with the actions even if legal action is pending. I trust that just because the charges were dropped, O’Brien hasn’t dropped disciplinary action. I trust that if he confronted the four and held a truth section, each would admit to him their obvious guilt.

That aside, thank goodness again for the legal system which has now done justice thus far, at least for three, and has kept O’Brien from suspending the players from actual playing time, we think but we do not know because O’Brien isn’t talking except to tell the media Monday that all the players will be with the team when it starts pre-season practice. Now, with much of the legal stuff out of the way and with the players, all who could have a positive impact on the team and its results this season, there are fewer places to lay blame if the Wolfpack has another losing season.

And, that’s good because I want O’Brien and the Wolfpack to have all available personnel. I want the team to succeed come hell or high water. That’s because I am a Wolfpack fan first, and always want the legal system to get our boys and girls out of the legal system as quickly and as quietly as possible. Thank goodness to all those involved in this case. Or should I be reminded of that famous John Selden quote about ignorance of the law excuses no man? Not the football players, not the coaches, not the off-duty police officer, not the judge. Oh well, life moves on.

Monday, July 26, 2010

NCAA-UNC Probe: The Players ARE The Thing

Ignorance of the law excuses no man: Not that all men know the law, but because 'tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to refute him.— John Selden, English antiquarian & jurist (1584 - 1654) (from www.thequotationspage.com)
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With all due respect to A.C. Snow, one of my long-time advisors on language, grammar and writing, if some (not sure how many at this point) college football players at North Carolina have accepted favors from sports agents, the guilt lies with those college football players, and not with either the enormous system of amateur games we know as intercollegiate athletics or the agents.

A.C., who was an advisor to the NC State University student newspaper, The Technician, way back when I was in college and beginning a writing passion, pens a weekly Sunday column for The News & Observer. His topics vary and are sometime folksy, writing about his love of his home area of Dobson NC or of trips to the Emerald Coast of North Carolina or about his beloved Tar Heels football and basketball teams about who he will be quick to write private notes of disappointment and disgust. His Sunday space is one of the early morning enjoyments of my Sunday reading of the newspaper, though sometimes I save it for last, hoping it to be an enduring piece, one that stays with me for at the very least until Monday morning when I might write him an email.

It seems that since I started writing Actions and Reactions nearly every day since the middle of December, I’ve heard less from A.C., though he tells me every now and then that my blog is one of the few he reads. He seems to enjoy my efforts, though he has reacted occasionally with his own style of constructive criticism, telling me straight up not to attack, especially those of known integrity, especially those at his long-time employ. I always take him under advisement but do not always follow his suggestions to the letter of the law, his decree which is more of a suggestion.

Today, I started to write him an email about yesterday’s column, but it turned into too much of a soap box to send solely to him. Today, I take to task his most recent proposition that the problems with athletes who break rules set forth by the NCAA (and laws of the state for that matter) are the cause of big-time athletics. While he surely did not write the headline—The players are not the thing—on the upper left of page 10D, that’s about as close and true a reflection of what A.C. wrote this week as could fit on those two lines of those two columns of space.

He wrote Sunday under the thesis that some believe the world as we know it in Chapel Hill is coming to an end because Marvin Austin, Greg Little and possibly others may have strayed from the rules of the college athletes game by associating with and possible taking a favor or two from a sports agent. I think the only people who believe the Chicken Little Theory (to which A.C. refers) is at hand in that sanctuary are only those of light blue blood. And, they are trying to get over it by blaming the agent and not the athletes who might not have known how to say no. The rest of us look at this situation as a comedy act, finally getting a laugh at the perfect world we are told that exists between Carrboro and Durham. Obviously, Chapel Hill, its participants and its followers have their faults.

But A.C. takes a wrong turn in laying the blame on the system and not the participants. He says the athletes are merely pawns (his words) at the colleges which he and many others think are farm clubs for professional sports (his words again). When you get down to it, most universities—especially UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University and others of the same level—are farm clubs for professional leagues of business: law firms, hospitals, engineering and textile companies, mega-agricultural producers, and, of all things, newspapers.

As time has passed from when I was in school with fewer than 10,000 students at State to over 30,000 today and as budgets increase exponentially and as salaries grow to allow administrators earn incomes comparable to a private business with budgets and numbers of employees as large and larger, we have seen unbelievable growth of educational institutions while at the same time a prostitution of the same. Universities—NC State and UNC included—sell their academic souls everyday to private business so there are additional resources of money and gifts-in-kind in exchange for “free” research and underpaid hired help available to help private business get an edge, to grow, to flourish.

While A.C., and our good friend Bill Friday, the former UNC System President whose wisdom and judgment is always sought when it comes to college athletics, try to voice opposition to the growth of college athletics, it is that over abundance and tremendous successes of college athletics programs that have had an huge effect on the increased overall interest in universities as a whole, leading many who would not contribute one thin dime to the academic side of tracks to give handsomely and wholesomely to the bricks and mortar and books and professors that improve what really makes a university great without the positive and negative recognition through the sports pages.

I’m sick and tired of the high and mighty journalists and educators trying to knock down what has taken years to build up, especially when it actually helps the institutions. I have yet to see 60,000 fans purchase tickets at $25+ a pop to watch a surgeon perform open heart surgery; I have yet to see ESPN pay mega bucks to televise one meeting of a university Board of Trustees or better yet a meeting of the NC State and UNC Board of Trustees meeting together as if they were doing battle. Journalists are quick to complain about the relationship between college athletics and private industries such as Nike which puts lots of money and gifts-in-kind into college athletics departments. But that’s no different than the mega dollars flowing from private business to academic departments of colleges in exchange for special research so that private business can do better, make more money, all at a research and development rate lower than what it would require in house. Did I say prostitution of academics?

Yes, there’s a lot of money that flows in and out of college athletics programs, into the hands of the coaches and administrators (hey, A.C., please write something about the ludicrous contract Debbie Yow just received to be the Athletics Director at NC State or is it all relative to what a CEO at a comparable size business would garner), and not into the pockets of athletes. But that’s the way it is and should be. The money is not about the athletes, mere pawns in the overall scheme of things.

The athletes do not have to attend these colleges unless they want to get a free ride to an education that otherwise would cost them mega bucks, many of whom could not afford to pay themselves. The high school athletes are given the opportunity to use the colleges as proving ground for their professional career, but they are also being given the chance to get a college degree, if they so choose to take that path. Most actually do; few end up as a professional in the sport of choice.

A.C. writes, and I quote from his last paragraph of Sunday’s column, “It is rank hypocrisy to ask college athletes to live up to the letter of ethical standards when evidence that coaches and school administrations are doing the same is woefully obscure.” Who says? A.C., you’ve thrown a wide blanket over college sports and basically said everyone involved who is not an athlete is guilty of bypassing the rules. That’s a strong and wrong accusation.

Also one who criticizes television’s control of college sports, A.C. complains about games played every day and at times that seem ridiculous. He dislikes, as do we all, the commercials, especially when we are at the games. He doesn’t enjoy the special relationship college athletics has with television networks. That’s the stance of most newspaper writers and reporters because those who take exception to the huge ratings of televised sports events usually have no ratings whatsoever. In comparison, ESPN, which basically funds a lot of college sports today, has ratings just a wee bit larger than The News & Observer and all the other newspapers in the United States put together.

If Marvin Austin, Greg Little and friends are guilty of breaking the NCAA law, there will be due justice applied which may bring harm to the success of North Carolina football this season. That would be Austin’s or Little’s fault, not that of anyone else, even the agent who may have broken North Carolina law by enticing Austin, Little et al. This story is about the players and their association with and possible favors from an agent, which is against NCAA rules and regulations for the athletes. Yes, A.C., we’ll keep it in perspective, but do not try to turn the focus away from the perpetrators by writing another rant about the hugeness of college sports. Its growth is no more out of line as is that of colleges in general. I stand by my premise that neither NC State not UNC would be at the high level of success and public standing they are today without the benefit of the large and successful athletics programs at each.

And, please, do not tell me the athletes just do not know the NCAA law, an extensive and complicated list of guidelines to follow throughout a college athletics career. John Selden said it very well many years ago: “Ignorance of the law excuses no man.” College athletes know there are rules by which they are to abide, though they may not know the exact letter of such regulations. However, considering they are college students, they should be smart enough to ask if what they are about to do is right or wrong. If wrong, let them be judged by their actions and not by their surroundings, no matter how much dislike there may be for big time, big budgeted college athletics and over-zealous agents just trying to get ahead.

In the case of the NCAA investigation into actions of several players on the North Carolina Tar Heels football team, the sky is not falling, but the players ARE the thing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not Hoity-Toity: Just Down To Earth Joe Biden


Some may say I was fortunate and others would say unfortunate, but last night I attended by design and desire the Democratic Party fundraiser at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Inn at which Vice President Joe Biden spoke, presenting a pretty good case for the re-election of his party for at the very least the coming election cycle, that in two years and one more after that.

While there was a smattering of enthusiastic, but not wildly fervent, applause throughout the talk—a mixture of a prepared teleprompter text and much given speech with a local flavor and old-time political saying sprinkled throughout—I was not willing to put my hands together about everything he said, but I did enjoy being there, especially to hear the Vice President of the United States, especially Joe Biden who, I believe, among all those who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, would have been the best President if elected.

Reason: he knows how to relate to all people at all times, not just an elite group of thinkers one day or a specific group of a certain race or ethnic background the next: he knows how not just to give a straight message but weave it as a story, drawing in his audience as he knows the neighborhood while taking his listeners to other parts of America and around the world, giving a perspective that only Biden can do with his charming smile and serious face and delivery.

Another reason I think he would have made a good President is because of his legislative negotiating skills. Believe it or not, he knew how to get along with Jesse Helms, and that speaks volumes to being able to pass laws with votes from both sides of the aisles. Maybe it’s because of his long-time service in Congress and the many friends he made and the respect he gained from nearly all members of the House and Senate and, while that may not have translated positively if he were President, I feel he would have been able to work closer with Republicans, much closer as President than President Obama has.

Last night’s affair was not your hoity-toity gathering, despite the announced minimum $500 required to get in (there were plenty there who paid less and plenty who contributed more). In today’s report of the function by Rob Christensen of The News & Observer, you are led to believe it was more extravagant than it was. Rob reported, “They grazed on hors d’oeuvres such as beef tenderloin on crispy wonton, crab crostini, and spinach and local goat cheese profiteroles.” All true but these were just bite-size finger foods being offer by the highly competent Carolina Inn wait staff, the same as if they were working a get-together by a Rams Club group prior to a football game or a UNC Board of Governors reception or a fraternity reunion. By the way, Rob left out two of my favorites being offered: some little fried green tomato thingy and the entire plate of dessert cookies, all bite size.

While there were plenty of lawyers, legislators, candidates and other back-slappers in attendance, and while Governor Bev Perdue did the quick introduction so she could share the stage with the Vice President, this was more of blue-collar than high-dollar function—the cash bar offered a substantial glass of wine for $5.00 and premium beer (thank goodness for the New Castle) for only $4.00 a bottle—intended to rally the Democratic troops—especially those who can help with additional fundraising—for the fall election than it was to put some much needed cash into the Democratic National Committee’s bank account. From my view, both were accomplished.

While Mr. Biden’s speech—purely the Company line—was interesting and made points with the faithful while trying to box into a corner the just-say-no Republicans and their failed policies of the eight years of the most recent Bush Administration, I attended for various reasons, not all to be revealed here, of which the utmost was to see and hear Biden in a small setting.

He’s the Vice President, for gosh sakes and I had the opportunity to be there. I went to see and hear President Obama when he came to Raleigh’s Broughton High School last July. I figured seeing Biden would be a lot more entertaining and give me a better perspective of why vote Democratic. He was and he did, though doing the latter is not exactly where I am now or expect to be later.

In a strange way, I’ve admired Biden, while not agreeing with him much of the time, for many years. He says too much sometimes and offers information he should keep to himself, but that’s not all bad. We know him to be down to earth as if he wants to pull you aside and give you some inside stuff to something. He’s got a secret, and he’s going to tell someone. It might as well be you. I’d love to have a sit-down with him in a secluded watering hole and get the inside scoop on his life, politics and other topics. As Vice President, he’s got to miss those types of opportunities.

One more reason for going: After the speech, he came down from the stage and worked the rope line, talking directly to and shaking the hand of at least a hundred of those there. It was fun and interesting to see him do this. He showed genuine concern when someone related a problem and he joined in laughter even when what was said was not funny but the person saying it thought so. He worked that rope line longer than he spoke to the entire group. He posed for photos take by a staff member with small cameras and cell phones, giving those who stayed a memento for life.

And, that’s one of those reasons I went. Got it! Thanks, Joe, for the photo opp, but especially for being yourself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rah-Rah For Federal Judge Stephan Underhill

Excuse my huge ear to ear grin and my exuberance today, but I’m sending kudos and possibly several bouquets of flowers to United States District Court Judge Stephan Underhill who yesterday ruled what I and many others have been saying for years: Cheerleading is NOT a sport, at least it’s not an official sport as far as colleges using it to meet Title IX gender-equity requirements, those of the 1972 federal law that commands equal opportunities for men and women in athletics.

The ruling came out of a court case he heard in Connecticut involving Quinnipiac University—the same school that offers political polling results used by media and candidates—which had shelved its women’s volleyball team for budgetary reasons (isn’t that always the case) and replaced it with a cheerleading squad involved in competition, not a team just standing on sidelines of football and basketball games and other athletics events and say “Rah! Rah!” The story at Quinnipiac is bigger than just the Cheer Squad. It seems the University has been cooking the books with the Title IX requirements. More on that later, but a now a local-interest interlude:

In the Atlantic Coast Conference, three schools list Competitive Cheerleading on their websites: Virginia Tech is one of the three. The other two are: Maryland and NC State. Now we may know one of the reasons by Debbie Yow to want to move from being Athletics Director at Maryland to being Athletics Director at NC State: Competitive Cheerleading. And, this might have been the reason Chancellor Randy Woodson wanted Yow to come to Raleigh. While Purdue doesn’t have a competitive cheer squad, maybe he wanted to make sure the new AD wanted to keep it at State. It all makes sense now.

At Quinnipiac, it was announced in 2009 that the women’s volleyball team would be dropped for budgetary reasons and be replaced with the competitive cheer team. You should check out the Cheer Squad section of the Quinnipiac Bobcats website: 30 players (all women) and three fulltime coaches (all women). Over at the Volleyball page: nine players (all women); one paid coach (a woman) and one volunteer coach (a man). Amazing stuff, or maybe not.

It appears the school wants to make the move—eliminating nine and adding 30 (or more—to keep it in compliance with Title IX. But the Judge will have nothing to do with that. In his ruling, he wrote: “Competitive cheer may, sometime in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX. Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.” He instructed the school to report back within 60 days with a plan to keep the volleyball team—members of which who had sued the school over the announced dropping of the sport—and comply with Title IX rules.

Quinnipiac officials responded by saying that instead of continuing the volleyball program, it would start a women’s rugby team. That’s probably because it needs bodies—female bodies—and if 30 women cheerleaders are eliminated as varsity competitors, the numbers from a rugby team would offset the differential. The Judge had good reason to rule in favor of the volleyball players and against the school. Title IX says, according to an Associated Press account of this case, “An activity can be considered a sport under Title IX if it meets specific criteria. It must have coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season and a governing organization. The activity also must have competition as its primary goal - not merely the support of other athletic teams.”

The trial, more importantly, also revealed how Quinnipiac has been cooking the books in the gender equity area. The Judge found something that’s common at all colleges and universities in reporting Title IX facts and figures: participation instead of athletes. For instance, at Quinnipiac, there’s a men’s cross country team and there are cross country, indoor track and outdoor track for women. When one female athlete participates in all three team sports, she’s counted as three different participants. At NC State, it’s likely that Russell Wilson, football quarterback and multi-purpose baseball player, is counted twice. And, any person on any team is counted. So, even at NC State, a women’s cross country runner is counted there as well as on the indoor and outdoor track teams, but then so are the duplicate men.

But, wait, there’s more to the evil doings at Quinnipiac that trusted name in political polling. The book-cooking gets a little deeper. For instance, the Judge discovered the baseball and men’s lacrosse teams were dropping names from the rosters for reporting purposes in the fall and then adding team members to the roster in the spring for the season. This reduces male participants. At the same time, names were added to the softball team for reporting purposes and them eliminating them for the season. Now that’s integrity.

While the headline in this matter is that a Federal Judge says cheerleading is NOT a sport, and while I sing praises for this opinion, one that I’ve had all along no matter how many national cheerleading titles NC State has won—and by the way, NC State does not report cheerleading for Title IX purposes and, anyway, there are equal number of men and women on the squad and because NC State feels cheerleading does not fall into the Title IX guidelines for being considered a sport—the real winner in this could be women’s athletics and female athletes. If Judge Underhill’s ruling stands, all colleges and universities and probably high schools will have to review how the numbers are counted, resulting in an increase for the women.

And, as far as the headline, I’ll say it again: It thrills me to no end for a federal judge to say that cheerleading is not a sport, no matter how hard they work to be in shape and do all those fancy twists, turns and flips. If it is, then remove them from the sidelines at football and basketball games and create a schedule of competition with other cheerleading squads from other universities. Train and hire rules officials and judges who do not host summer camps to prevent bias in point-giving. In other words, if cheerleading is to be a sport along the lines of football, basketball, tennis, golf, etc., then treat it the same. In all the years I been watching college sports, I have never seen a men’s or women’s tennis team along the sidelines at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium leading the fans in rah-rahing. Why is the competitive cheerleading squad doing that?

A problem I see to making cheerleading a full-fledged sport: Who will stand along those sidelines cheering on the cheerleaders? And, if a squad is chosen for that, then one day, it too will want varsity status. It just doesn’t end, does it? Anyway, Rah-Rah for Judge Underhill!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hapless Duke Football; Hopeless Texting

Tuesday, when, at lunch in Miami (North Bay Village, actually, on the 79th Street Causeway), sitting on the deck at Shuckers overlooking the north bay with breezes to strong putting napkins in your lap was not possible, I finally got around to reading the sports section of USA Today and was quick to see a photo on page 3 of Carl Franks squatting along the sideline when he was head coach at Duke in 2003. The story came with a note that Duke has the number one historically hapless football program in the six major conferences according to the website LostLetterman.com.

I was quick to take a photo of the photo with my Blackberry phone and sent it via text message to two Duke fans who were just as quick to respond with something about the Blue Devils football win over NC State last fall. Just as quick as they were to respond with their response about a one-year superiority over the Wolfpack, they also failed to remember the category: Historically Hapless Football Programs. Enough said. Hand downs!

That was just after midday between appointments. It was later in the evening, just after 7:00 when I heard from one of the two again, this time through instant messaging as I was back at the bar at Shuckers, work done for the day, knocking back Amber Bocks and eating calamari while I think he was at home experimenting with Zinfandel instead of his standard Merlot or single malt something, though he claimed he was drinking a white zinfandel from the Biltmore Grape-Growing Land and Winery. Best I can figure out is he was licking the inside of the bottle of Biltmore’s Zinfandel Blanc de Noir. (“Pretty good with salsa,” he explained via text.) The phrase “blanc de noir” is a French term meaning “white wine from red grapes” and which could be a pale pink wine made from zinfandel grapes. How and why he came about with that bottle, there is probably no easy answer. Why and how I was drinking Amber Bock can be explained but not now.

Anyway, I noticed across the bottom of the SportsCenter screen hanging slightly above the Shuckers bar that Mike Garrett, the athletics director at Southern California, is out and Pat Hayden is in as the Trojans try to change its nasty and rule breaking image. I mentioned that in a text it to him. “Garret was an (expletive),” he returned. “He got (former Duke football coach) Mike McGee fired at his first USC job.” McGee was athletics director at USC west (LA CA) and USC east (Columbia SC), his second USC job. Actually, I believe, he was AD at both schools at the same time for several days, weeks, whatever, trying to wrap up one job while starting the other.

My response to his mention of McGee leaving Southern Cal for Southern Car was “Yeah” as I tried to steer away from a long discussion about anything Duke other than what I started several hours earlier. The short reaction was not what he wanted to hear or read, so, then he forced the conversation in this direction:

Him: “Wait. I start talking about Duke guys and all I get is ‘yeah’?”
Me: “They could have hired Debbie Yow. She’s available and has eight national titles in field hockey and women’s lacrosse.”
Him: “Yeah, you guys jumped too early.”
Me: “Not ‘you guys.’ Chancellor (Randy) Woodson jumped. He’s not one of us.”
Him: “So the Purdue guy isn’t a Wolfie?”
Me: “Not a Wolfie yet. You have to earn it.”
Him: “Yes, just like my daughter (a State student).”
Me: “She’s close but not there yet. Too much fuss about the importance of cheerleading.”
Him: “She will have a red class ring next year just like you Dad’s, which she will be very proud of.”
Me: “Not LIKE my dad’s. She’s close; just tell her to drop the rah-rah squad importance. She also pulls for Duke too much. Good Wolfies, true Wolfies, don’t do that.”
Him: “Smart ones do.”

Me: “No. To be a real, true Wolfie, you hope Carolina and Duke lose everything, and when the two play each other, we hope they finish the game so late the newspapers do not have coverage. She hasn’t taken the oath, not earned the right to be a Wolfie. Anyone, if they can get in, can pay to go (to State) and get a degree (if they do the work), but it takes a commitment to be a Wolfie for life. She sat at Carter-Finley Stadium last fall and pulled for Duke (to beat State), and two years ago, she was there pulling for South Carolina because one of her high school friends plays for South Carolina. That’s not a true Wolfie.”

Him: “Yeah, I guess just going to college for four years doesn’t count at State. That’s like earning a degree anywhere else in three years.”
Me: “Like at Duke where the requirements are only 75 percent of the NCSU requirements. Hard to get into Duke; easy to get a degree there. Half the students and most of the athletes couldn’t cut it at State. Sounds like my post for tomorrow.”
Him: “Right. You really believe that. I think State is a great school but academically it isn’t Duke. I’m good at helping you with column subjects.”
Me: “Other way around. Professors are easy at Duke to make sure they have high graduation rates. School policy.”
Him: “It only takes me 20 minutes, and you have another column.”
Me: “Battery going dead. This State grad lost his wall charger in Tampa. Keep it coming.”
Him: “Wonder who got Shakespeare going?”

Then it was back to talking about wine, before the battery really went dead and spent timeout in the rental-mobile getting its strength back on the car charger. When the Blackberry came back to life two hours later, the conversation continued and didn’t miss a beat.

Me: “The N&O got Marvin Austin’s Twitter transcript and wrote a story. Believe it or not, the writer actually used “(sic)” after misspelled and misused words. On Twitter! It’s okay on Twitter and the N&O writer does that!”

Him: “Oh, you State guys are so happy UNC may be in trouble after all your Wolfpack inequities. Almost like me reveling in the Wake County school system’s problems after all the grief Raleigh has given Durham.”

Me: “Only on probation or sanctions the last time Duke was: 1972-73.”
Him: “But we are mature enough to learn from our mistakes and not revel in the problems of our brother institutions.”
Me: “How much Zin have you had tonight?”
Him: “Enough. By the way, we both wish we have football players that agents wanted to take to South Beach.”

Maybe so, but Duke’s got to get over that top spot on that historically hapless football programs before that’ll happen. From the USA Today report: Duke is all kinds of atrocious on the gridiron, having won three bowl games in the program’s history—the last one 50 years ago. And the Blue Devils have been home for the holidays every year since the 1994 season. Duke has gone almost all downhill since Steve Spurrier left to coach Florida in 1990. That includes a 23-game losing streak from 1999-2001 because, as former head coach Carl Franks put it, “Winning football games has certainly been harder than I anticipated.”

Historically, speaking to my two buddies, NC State is nowhere close to the haplessness of Duke when it comes to football. On the other hand, if the Wolfpack has a fifth straight losing season…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marvin, Greg, Weslye And Barry, Oh My!

A regular reader here was surprised last Friday when I opted to write about a Blue Devil and not the Tar Heels. I chose to report on the Tribeca Tavern Blue Devil Burger and not about the NCAA’s freshest meat: the North Carolina Tar Heels’ Marvin Austin and Greg Little who reportedly have been interviewed by NCAA reps for some sort of alleged wrong-doing with an agent or something like that by the highest collegiate governing body in the land until President Obama decides the Justice Department needs to intercede and strike down unrighteous and unfair and down-right stupid rules and regulations by which colleges and their athletes are supposed to live.

I passed on UNC last Friday because, well, I didn’t have as much information as I wanted and needed and by the time I started to put fingers on the keys and words on the screen, the burger at Tribeca was a lot more appealing that what two football players at North Carolina were or were not doing with an agent or anyone else. It’s not surprising to me what college athletes with superior abilities do—purposely or not—to enhance their earning power as they move through minor league… college …football on their way to being professionals.

But today is different. More info means a lot more fun. What pushed me to jump into today’s subject was the revelation Sunday that Weslye Saunders, tight end at the University of South Carolina, son of The News & Observer controversial columnist Barry Saunders, and Durham native, is also involved in the NCAA look into wrong-doing. Reportedly, he has been interviewed by NCAA investigators about who paid for what on a trip to Florida earlier this year.

To those who know Weslye, it is surprising that he would be involved in doing anything wrong other than choosing to go to South Carolina instead of North Carolina when he had that option because he and Greg Little spent a lot of growing up time with each other while playing for different high schools in Durham at the same time. Over there, some of the thinking is that they would matriculate to the same college. But that didn’t work out. Seems as if Barry, the N&O writer, didn’t like the UNC offer. For some odd reason, Duke was not in the loop in that one.

What’s also surprising about Weslye is that he has no reason at this point to get involved with an agent because his daddy, Barry, is close friends with a Durham lawyer and sports agent, James D. “Butch” Williams, and Weslye has been friends and playmates with Mr. Williams son, Marshall. If indeed, Weslye, Marvin and Greg are involved in some non-NCAA sanctioned and allowed activities with an agent, let’s do hope for their sake and the reputation of North Carolina and South Carolina that’s it’s all a misunderstanding and involved some sort of backyard barbeque at the home of the aforementioned Mr. Williams.

Of course, Mr. Williams, for all we know, is not involved in this whatsoever. It has to do with someone paying for the threesome going to Miami earlier this spring on someone else’s tab. Funny thing about three people going to Miami at the same time at someone else’s expense. I guess lightning strikes in the same place at different times. (If you’re lost, think Miami Heat, LeBron, Wade, Bosh.)

But the story doesn’t end there. Let’s tie this into a nice bundle that’s more exciting to me than the pristine reputation of our brethren in Chapel Hill being tarnished over the allegations and the investigation and the bullet dodging. It has to do with Daddy Saunders and his employer and his no-comment to his employer’s employees. While the story originated with ESPN’s Joe Schad, it was quickly picked up by the website gogamecocks.com which is not the official site of the University of South Carolina which is gamecocksonline.cstv.com. The website gogamecocks.com is the property of The State newspaper of Columbia SC, and The State is the property of McClatchy which owns The News & Observer which employees (I assume he’s still on the regular payroll) Barry Saunders.

While there are tons of people who dislike Saunders and the basic tone of his columns, I know he’s more of a teddy bear based on his presentation and questions and answers during a meeting of the N&O’s Community Panel a couple of years ago when I was a member of the now defunct committee of non-N&O employed people who gathered once a month to critic the newspaper and offer suggestions for making it better, some of which was taken seriously and some of which was not. In that meeting, Barry basically told us not to take him too seriously. His job, he told us, is to drive readership through his writing, that he didn’t necessarily believe everything he espoused, that he knew what to say and when to say it to rile the reader and bring in more viewership, his primary job. So, when you read Barry’s column, consider what I just said and don’t get your dander up.

But, while he came across as a teddy bear to the Community Panel, there’s one person who today doesn’t believe that. He’s Weslye. I have it on good authority from those who know Weslye and Barry that if younger Saunders has done something wrong according to NCAA standards, whether the standards are right or wrong in the eyes of anyone, Weslye has more to worry about than NCAA sanctions against him and how his coach Steve Spurrier will deal with it. He has to worry about how Barry is dealing with it and will later.

I’m not surprised that Barry will not say anything to anyone about the situation. He’s not stupid by any means and publically I think he will let the story play out. But, Barry and his son are also being protected by Barry’s employer, at least by those who control the news articles in the print and on-line editions. What’s interesting is that the Sports Editor of The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer is the same person. The N&O offered a lip-service version of the Weslye situation today while the Charlotte Observer and website offered an article written by The State, a little closer to the source and a little more in-depth. In that story was the line: "Saunders was suspended from the team for approximately a week in January because of attitude problems and his failure to attend the first team meeting of the spring semester." While that suspension at that time of year really doesn’t mean anything, I wonder why The N&O just didn’t go with the story that was better and not a re-write just to get a local by-line. Probably because the N&O sports staff (those in Raleigh) are not very deep when it comes to writing about anything.

So, to my reader who wanted to know why not write about this stuff last Friday, I still contend that last Friday, the Blue Devil Burger was a better subject. But today, with the direct connect to The News & Observer through Barry Saunders and the weak coverage by its sports staff, it’s much sexier.

By the way, while it’s fun to watch North Carolina faithful to squirm and yell “witch hunt,” the winner in all of this with Marvin Austin, Greg Little and, now, Weslye Saunders, if there is one, is Quan Sturdivant who now takes a back seat to alleged wrong-doing by Carolina athletes, both North and South.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm A Fan: The Blue Devil Burger At Tribeca

Now, I’m a Blue Devil fan. Ok, ok. All my Wolfpacker friends, don’t faint. It’s not the team or the college in Durham NC that’s on the good side of my radar today. That, for reasons known by many, would never happen. But every now and then, you run into something that convinces you that the substance is a lot more important than the name. It happened last night.

It was our second visit to Tribeca Tavern at the corner of High House Road and Davis Drive in Cary. The first visit, soon after Rocky Top Hospitality, a Raleigh-based restaurateur with a total of six eateries, took over the spot from a failed effort of someone else, was good on service and attention but not so memorable to me with food and drink.

But, after reading an encouraging restaurant review by Greg Cox of The News & Observer, we knew there would be a second visit at an opportune time. Last night was apt for various reasons, the least of which was needing to spend the money out but the obvious of which was to get out of the house on a hot, steamy evening and enjoy someone else’s cool atmosphere and hot food.

The Cox review had proclaimed the burgers as above the worth of consumption, noting the delicacies are formed daily from “locally” raised cattle. As a matter of fact, Rocky Top and Tribeca uses locally produced bread and vegetables as well as beef. From the menu, which seems to have escaped the premises last night, but which can also be downloaded from http://www.tribecataverncary.com/menu/:

“At Tribeca Tavern we use all-natural Blue Ribbon Angus beef from Coastal Cattle Company in Beaufort County, NC. The cows are hand fed all-natural feed, mother’s milk, Bermuda grass & hay twice daily. No growth hormones, additives, antibiotics or chemical feed is EVER used. We grind burgers in house every single day adding ribeye & filet trimmings to obtain the perfect fat content for an over the top flavorful burger that will change your life! We are proud to support NC farmers & growers. This spring/summer we are featuring Romaine lettuce from PIK Produce - Kenly, NC & Trust heirloom tomatoes from Barham Farms – Zebulon, NC. All of our bread is baked daily at Neomonde bakery in Cary, NC. & all Burgers are served with Mt. Olive, NC pickles.”

While the fish tacos, made last night with locally harvested catfish (not sure which lake), were a delicious repeat selection for the other side of the four-top table in the quieter back room at Tribeca after asking to be moved from a similar selection just outside the noisy kitchen door, I went right to the Chef’s Burger menu, a miniature of the larger display and one that’s only for burger selections. I’m quick to stop short of saying “hamburger” because that refers to a patty of ground beef, and that mixture with the trimmings of ribeye and filet give the burgers at Tribeca a better taste than just ground beef or ground chuck, my when-cooking-at-home-on-the-grill selection of ground red meat.

But, it’s more than that. On the main menu, you’ll find veggie burgers, turkey burgers, crab burgers and salmon burgers. And, on the burger menu is a ground lamb choice, the Jimmy The Greek, with Chapel Hill Feta, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and tzatziki sauce. There’s “The” Breakfast Burger: 5 ounces of ground beef with a 5-ounce sausage patty, “Hoop” cheddar, sliced ham, oven roasted tomatoes, pepper bacon, and fried egg. And (are you seated with your heart-attack pills at your side), there’s Glutton’s Glory: 10-ounce beef patty, 8-ounce Kobe patty, 8-ounce lamb patty, 5-ounce spicy sausage, “Hoop” cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack & American cheeses, 8 slices of bacon & fried salami on batter brioche. While the Greek and the Breakfast burgers sell for $14 and $13, respectively, the Glutton has a $40 list price with this disclaimer: Only $20 of 1 person finishes it in house! Hand me those pills and call the EMT.

After reading about The Wolfpack burger—two 5-ounce beef patties, NC pepper jack, pepper bacon, BBQ sauce, topped with a beer battered onion ring, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11—and laughing at the appropriateness of the Tar-Heel burger—ground beef, red wine glazed onions, Carolina Moon Brie, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11 (if you don’t get it call former Florida State basketball player Sam Cassell)—and after studying the other unique burger selections and descriptions, I settled on the Blue Devil, a combination of ground beef with Cajun spaces, Roaring 40’s blue cheese, friend jalapeƱos, pepper bacon, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11.

It was delicious, just as is. I suggest that additional condiments are not required at first glance. No mustard; no mayo; definitely no ketchup. The Blue Devil (and I’m sure the other burgers) is tasty just as is. At the very least take a couple of bites before proceeding with the other junk that will change the taste from being life altering. And, it was cooked perfect for me. I requested medium, and it was pink and juicy, just how I like my burgers. One side dish came with it and the choice of sweet potato fries (the waffle shaped kind) with a small cup of rum maple sauce for dipping was excellent.

Tribeca also supports North Carolina beers on draft with at least nine selections plus Rocky Top’s own Mash House beers produced at its Mash House Brewery & Chophouse in Fayetteville. The Mash House choices are: Blonde, Red, IPA, Hefeweizen, Stout and Porter. As I’ve become fond of New Castle, the bartender, as we waited for a table, suggested I try the Mash House Red, described as light bodied and very drinkable, a traditional Irish Ale. Scrumptious is a good utterance. But do not be fooled by the words “light bodied” as the color is dark but the taste is as advertised.

An at the table, the combination of the Mash House Red and the Blue Devil burger was perfect, at least for me. I enjoy spicy food. The Cajun seasoning was not so piquant, and the fried jalapeƱos gave the burger a nice kick. The pepper bacon was a nice touch and the onion was just right. Overall, the burger and the beer were excellent. I’m now a fan of both, especially the Blue Devil, not easy for a Wolfpacker to admit, but, in this case, once tried, I’m sure some of my closest Red & White followers would agree.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Give Me Daly Instead Of Woods Any Day

I missed, by design, the 4:09 tee time this morning. Well, not my tee time for my golf game today (which I do not have scheduled), but 4:09 was the appointed time when Tiger Woods teed off in The 150th Open Championship, the golf tournament being played this week on the Old Course at St. Andrews Links in St. Andrews, Scotland.

When ESPN won the rights to show the 150th version of The Open Championship, the original first TV time was 5:00 a.m. eastern daylight time, but when the first round tee times came out, Tiger was in the 4:09 tee group and ESPN, with 11 hours of coverage today, decided to start at 4 or whatever time it was in Scotland at that time.

But, when I finally got around to switching on the telly, I was surprised but thrilled to see the headline around 5:30 a.m. was not Tiger but my true life golfing hero, John Daly, with apologies to Ken Venturi, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and many others. He was 6-under par when the picture on the small bedroom set came into focus and he soon added a birdie before bogeying 17 and finishing the round at 6-under, 66. Watching the highlights, he could have, should have been much better as several putts lipped out or came up inches short.

The best part was taking the spotlight away from what ESPN really wanted: Tiger Woods, who no matter how many women he’s bedded over the years and who no matter how many women today will not watch or pull for in anything and who no matter how many women do not want their husbands watching or pulling for as well, playing well, making birdies and dominating the field. Tiger Woods, with his good play and bad doings, is still the ratings driver in golf.

But Daly, to me, offers a lot more excitement except when he’s beating his wife of the day or ripping apart hotel rooms. Unless you’re one of those golfers with your nose up in the air, Daly is much easier to relate to than Woods, unless you’re married and doing a different woman at every tour stop and other places. Daly played the Old Course today with calm and excitement. He loves the course; it fits his style even with trouble all around. With any course, hit the tee shot long and straight and the Old Course, one of seven courses at the St. Andrews Links complex, will play much easier.

When Daly is on, he’s dead down the middle off the tee. He has maybe the softest hands in the game, giving him a unique grip and rip style that changes 180-degrees for his approaches, especially the short ones. But Daly makes mistakes late in holes. While Tiger used to be on, driving it straight and long, he’s also been more of a scrambler over the years, hitting tee shots all over the place but recovering with interesting approaches that result in birdie tries.

The 17th hole was a great tale of these two players. Daly hit the long straight drive and had a punch 7-iron to the green but hit the ball with the sweet spot of the club and watched as the approach rolled off the back and onto the pebble covered cart path. His recovery went past the cup and his par putt missed, giving him his only bogey of the day. Woods pulled his three-wood from the new tee on 17 and into deep, heavy rough to the left of the fairway on the dogleg right. Using his strong hands and strength, his muscled his approach to just a few feet off the front of the green and putted to about 4-feet, a makeable par attempt. But, he rushed and jerked his putt left and had to make an equally long effort for bogey. Daly messed up on his second shot; Woods got himself into position for par with his recovery second shot.

At the 18th hole, both made par, though Daly lipped a putt that should have dropped and Tiger pulled another one left of the cup. So at the end of round one, Daly was ahead of Woods by one, and neither was the tournament leader. Both understand how to play the Old Course, knowing to pitch and run and to use putter from off the green, even 60 yards off the green as Woods did a few years ago. I think I have the record for length off the green with a putter, maybe 100 yards.

From watching this morning, both players showed seriousness about their games. But, it always looks as if Tiger is the businessman in golf and Daly is enjoying his play, especially when he’s on. The scores may be similar, but I’d much rather focus the cameras more on Daly and less on Woods.

I missed that 4:09 tee time by design and what I missed was a chance to see the early holes of Daly. Tomorrow, the two tee off late. My guess is ESPN will give Woods more attention, especially if Daly fades; my guess is that by the end of the day Sunday, Woods will be in contention and Daly will be a mere mention. That’s okay. I still have my preferences when it comes to watching those two play golf. I trust it’s obvious.

(NOTE: Photo is of some of the past winners of The Open Championship.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Butch Steps To The Plate Quickly!

The email notification of another anonymous reader wanting to post a response to a previous column came early Monday. “maybe we should RE-VISIT this today... given CRYoWHINEa's unfortunate incident being reported today. whatchya say "author"??? give it a rip.... LOL.”

That was in reference to two items: Monday’s revelation of an alleged wrong-doing by a North Carolina football player over the weekend and trouble by several NC State football players in April. The latter I talked about in a column entitled, “Strong Swift Action By O’Brien a Must” which you can re-read for yourself by clicking the link. That was posted Tuesday, April 27.

At the time, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said, though a statement: “I have been made aware of the situation and appropriate action will be taken.” Forgive me for not scouring follow-up action, but I’m really not sure if there has been, and if so, what was the “appropriate action?” If there has been, please, someone bring me up to date. I have more important things to worry about than what Tom O’Brien does with players who bring bad publicity to NC State. Just win, bay, just win!

But, give credit to North Carolina football coach Butch Davis for at least on the surface taking quick action against Quan Sturdivant, the Tar Heels’ all-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker who was cited last Saturday for possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana. It was in Stanly County, in Albemarle, and, according to police chief Gerald Michael (at least according to a story in The News & Observer), it was found in a car Sturdivant was driving. The N&O story didn’t say if it was Sturdivant’s car or someone else’s car.

Davis says he will discipline Sturdivant from a football team perspective but he didn’t give details. “This is not the type of behavior we expect from out student athletes,” said Davis through a statement issued Monday. “In addition to the outcome of the legal process, he also will face disciplinary action from within the football program beginning immediately.”

Sturdivant, a senior on this year’s NC football team, a team leader and a nationally noted linebacker, has an initial court date of August 2 in Stanly County. But he has probably already had a “court” session with Davis who is more than likely a less lenient judge than I would be with any college athlete who does anything to give any institution of higher learning a bad reputation. And, please do not tell me marijuana needs to be legalized. That’s a big maybe, but it’s not now, and Sturdivant knew it.

And, the NC State player back in April knew the illegality of what they have been accused of doing. Coaches in general should have a rule that if any player does anything to bring down the reputation of the school, the player is gone, star or not. Yes, there are times when some players may find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if that’s the case, the players made a bad choice of friends from the very start.

My guess is that Sturdivant will not start UNC’s opening game with LSU but it’s doubtful he will miss the entire game. My guess is that whether he misses some, all or none of the game, it will be mentioned on the television broadcast at least once, and that’s not good for Butch and his national recruiting efforts. My guess is also that Sturdivant, who should keep that August 2 court date and get this over faster than it happened, will plead guilty and receive a reprimand from the judge and be told to do a little community service. Perfect.

This case, though, and the case at NC State, in light of the financial windfall contract Debbie Yow has received as the Athletics Director, brings up an interesting question: WWDD? What would Debbie do if a star Wolfpack football player was cited for the same as Sturdivant and if by holding him out of action could prevent the team from not placing as high as fifth or sixth which gives her a $15,000 bonus?

And that’s why her contract, and any contract with winning incentives, is stupid, put together and agreed upon by Chancellor Randy Woodson, University legal counsel and the Board of Trustees, all smart people who overstepped good reasoning. In my opinion Sturdivant should be let go with a slap on the wrist if you compare what he did (illegal or not) to that AD contract, the major crime of the two.

Anyway, thanks Butch for quickly stepping to the plate? Unlike others have or will as far as I know.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Does LeBron to Heat Mean Same For Coach K?

With the suspenseful, much anticipated, over-hyped announcement that LeBron James, the basketball superstar who has dwelled in the loser city of Cleveland for the seven years of his professional career, will take his free-agent talents to Miami and the Heat and join fellow superstar Dwyane Wade and slightly-lower-level star Chris Bosh, the table has been set for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to leave the Blue Devils and to begin his much wanted quest for basketball coaching infamy with a National Basketball Association championship to go with his NCAA titles and his Olympic gold medal.

What? LeBron going to Miami was all about Coach K? Not really. It’s just a by-product of a series of events that could culminate with Duke looking for a new head coach, something that would just happen sooner than later when Krzyzewski eventually retires, even though he’s just 63 years old now.

As someone who doesn’t have the NBA on his radar whatsoever, except to watch a few minutes of a game or two (I didn’t watch more than a minute of the season or playoffs this year), I took a little more than just a passing interest in James’ dilemma, if you call it that, of what to do with his free-agency situation. For anyone interested in sports, we knew this would be a big deal in one way or another. He has now surpassed Michael Jordan in NBA notoriety even without a league title.

When James decided to make his announcement, after days and weeks of being courted by six franchises, on a live broadcast on ESPN, The Decision escalated to worldwide leader in sports proportions. Leading up to it, nearly every ESPN (mother ship and other outlets) station hyped it. Colin Cowherd on his radio show which is also shown live on ESPNU was all over himself about it, getting excited at the mere idea of LeBron not only telling the world of his choice on live ESPN, but on how James would keep it quiet, as quiet can be, before saying the magic (oops, that’s another team that was not in the mix), before saying the heated (that’s more like it) words that would please many and disappoint more.

So, at 9:00 p.m. eastern daylight time, right after the weekly episode of Glee, a musical weekly television show that has 19 Emmy nominations, I dialed up 1500 on my Time Warner Cable-based television system and settled in for what turned out to be about 30 minutes of fluff followed by some interesting and much better questioning. Just prior to its start on the 42” Vizio, I was berated with, “I can’t believe you’re going to watch that! Who cares? It’s stupid. I’m going to bed to read.” And so I was left to listen and learn, just as if it was an election night and the results of the town council race in Angier was being flashed onto the screen while a new President was being chosen by the voters.

A couple of quick observations: Jim Gray, the initial interviewer designated by James, was weak, but I think his hands were tied by LeBron and his handlers who controlled the reality show. Maybe, maybe not, but Gray, a free-agent himself and not an ESPN employee, obviously followed somewhat of a scrip with the questions. While Gray was not exactly the Mike Wallace of last night, his effort or lack thereof was much better than what was offered in the first few minutes of the entire show by ESPN’s Stuart Scott, Chris Broussard, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon, all of whom were convinced the choice would be Miami, but all of whom hedged their bets just enough to be able to say “I told you so” if LeBron picked the Knicks, the Nets, the Bulls, the Cavaliers or one other which I cannot remember or care to remember. Was it the Celtics? Oh yeah.

When LeBron made his dramatic announcement, which went something like, “I’m taking my talent to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat,” the interview with Gray ended shortly thereafter and Wilbon, an excellent Washington Post columnist and insightful NBAer, took over giving the viewers more of what was desired. I was more relieved to listen to that banter than to know where James was going to call basketball home for the next certain number of years.

I was also glad to hear that James passed up an additional $30 million he could have taken if he has stayed in Cleveland so he could join Wade and Bosh and claim his legacy through winning NBA titles and not just with his superior talent and his huge income. He wants to win championships and that admirable. I was also happy to know that the primary sponsor—University of Phoenix—of The Decision program was donating $500,000 and several additional scholarships to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Say what you want about uncaring, egotistical professional athletes, but I believe LeBron is unique in that he wants to share his wealth with those who need it and who need his attention. He is more about being the winner of titles (and playing with his Olympic teammates Wade and Bosh) than he is about the money or he would have stayed at home in Cleveland.

“You have to ask yourself,” said a friend in an email late last night, “if he’s dead set on championships being his main goal, why not play for the Lakers or Celtics for $5.00 a year?” No need to answer that one, but he’s got a good point, sort of. Well, not really.

On the other hand, I was extremely disappointed in his choice because I had it on good authority that he would sign with Kentucky to play for his friend John Calipari. The money would have been just as good, at the very least as much as he makes now. Which bring me to another email from last night: “Now that we know where LeBron is going to play, I’m just curious if anyone has heard where Shavlik Randolph may be playing next year?” That’s not really relevant but…

That brings us back to Coach K and his new opening to coach in the NBA, specifically at Miami. As it turns out, on good authority, Krzyzewski is pretty good friends with Micky Arison, the Israeli-American (born in Tel Aviv in 1949) who is Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation (world’s largest cruise operator) and who owns the Miami Heat. His father, Ted, was instrumental in getting the Heat to Miami. And, Micky Arison’s son, Nick, who is now one of Micky’s limited partners in the Heat, was once a manager for the Duke basketball team coaches by Krzyzewski.

While Pat Riley, the team’s president who was instrumental in getting Wade to return to Miami and James and Bosh to move to Miami, appears to be headed back to the bench so he can coach the threesome, I’ll go out on a long limb and say that if Riley returns to the bench, it’ll be short lived, maybe a year or two and then hands will be extended by Arison (both Micky and Nick) and by James, Wade and Bosh to Krzyzewski to give him the opportunity to work again with these three members of his Olympic gold-medal team but this time for an NBA title. Mike will celebrate his 64th birthday next February; I can imagine, just after he turns 65, he could be celebrating an NBA ring. The King has spoken. The table has been set.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My 2-Cents On US Postal Service Rate Increase

The US Postal Service is seeking another rate hike for most all postage rates. The major impact will be the cost of a one-ounce first-class letter going to 46-cents (in Johnston County they say 46-cent) from 44-cents. There are two thoughts about this which I’m sure not too many people think about anyway except to complain about the rising cost of something they don’t use.

First thought: Where in the world can you have someone come to your home, pick up an envelope with a letter or a bill payment and deliver it all the way across the country or next door or down the street for less than 50-cents? In reality, it’s a sweet deal, if you ask me.

Second thought: Why should the US Postal Service be unlike any other business that can’t make ends meet with the exception of the major car companies and banks, obviously? Here’s a great quote from Stephen M. Kearney, a vice president of the US Postal Service: “The Postal Service faces a serious risk of financial insolvency.”

Duh! As if we haven’t known that for years and years. While use of the Postal Service for everyday reasons such as receiving and paying bills has declined, the US Postal Service has been slow to adapt. It lost $3.8 billion last year and is expected to lose $7 billion this year and next. The 2-cents rate increase is expected to being in about $2.5 billion, reducing the losses to approximately $4.5 billion which is expected (Ha! Ha!) to be made up with other rate increases.

Though $2.5 billion sounds like a lot of additional income from a 2-cents rate increase, it’s not so much that individuals will feel the increase. It will be felt, and rightfully so, those businesses and charities that use the service to flood our mailboxes with junk. Yesterday, I received two pieces of mail, both advertising images, both tosses into the recycling bin without more than an obligatory glance at the front to see how much money I could save on whatever was being sold.

While the US Postal Service remains a non-tax subsidized government agency, one of the biggest users of the USPS is the government at no cost to the government. I’m referring to those franking privileges for members of Congress. What I receive through the US Postal Service from my Congressman is not more than a campaign piece of literature. Round estimates are that at least $500 million could be saved if this “service” to members of Congress was eliminated.

There are other cost savings ideas being floated such as closing one day a week such as Saturday or Monday and eliminating delivery—home and business—one day a week. I vote for Monday, considering there are several Monday holidays now. What’s another Monday here and there without mail service?

In keeping with a long-time public relations move of including good news when announcing the bad news, officials with the US Postal Service said they will soon offer a new design on the “Forever” stamp, the first class stamp that has no value printed on it. Right now, the first class “Forever” is 44-cents, and when the rates increase as expected next January, those 44-cents stamps will be usable without additional charge. While the current Forever stamps are adorned by the boring Liberty Bell, the new design will be bejeweled with evergreen trees, some sort of symbolism, I guess. Get it: Evergreen; Forever?

In keeping the idea that the US Postal Service is very inefficient, I wonder what the new design and additional printing will cost. Considering the projected deficit of the US Postal Service, maybe sticking with the current design is a better idea. On the other hand, maybe the US Postal Service is just taking its cue on deficits from its parent (US Treasury), so what difference does it make.

Still, though, 50-cents doesn’t get you much these days, but for less than that you can mail a first-class letter to anywhere in the United States. Hopefully, it will arrive, but that’s another story for another day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roundabout Is Solution to Parkway/High House

I’ve been a resident of Cary since 1982 which qualifies me—compared to most of this “town’s” populous citizenry—as being somewhat of a native but not an original. My guess, without looking at official records, is that the total census back then was much, much less than 10% of today’s sum.

This really has nothing to do with anything which is similar to saying someplace is in the middle of nowhere when we all know that everyplace is in the middle of somewhere but it’s possible we might not know where somewhere is. But it does give me pause to make comment on some of the pressing problems with the Town of Cary which is surely among the top five in total citizens of incorporated municipalities in North Carolina. Maybe someone, somewhere, somehow will clue me in on that.

Anyway, today’s comment is about traffic, probably more important to Cary residents than school assignment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment levels and the overall cost of living. For some inane reason, Cary residents are in too damn much of a hurry to get someplace, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Or, it could be that the streets of Cary are simply being used as a pass through for non-residents because, to give the Town leaders their due, the streets of Cary are basically very nice thoroughfares with beautiful landscaping and the near non-existence of signage for businesses. In other words, it’s a pleasure to drive in and through Cary.

Except for the traffic, if you ask anyone who navigates the Cary system of roads on a regular basis. What used to be a short-in-time drive to the bank and post office now requires a smart GPS system that locates the bottle necks and routes you around such. What used to take 10 minutes is now 15 minutes, heaven forbid, but instead of battling and complaining about stupid drivers (them, not me), I like to stretch it into 20 minutes and save my sanity.

What I really like to do is drive the speed limit of 45 miles per hour along the Cary Parkway. At that pace, by the time I travel from highway US 1 to Lake Pine Drive, even without hitting a red light at any of the six intersections with traffic lights, there’s a huge back-up behind me, drivers all too damn impatient and wanting to get to a local destination in record time just to brag to a partner, “Made it home in six minutes today instead of seven.” Everyone, except me, on the Cary Parkway, seems to be in such a hurry you’d think they had an appointment with a toilet because of a diarrhea problem. And they’re on the cell phone telling someone about the problem and the slow traffic that insists on the speed limit instead of 55 or 60 MPH. Where are the cops?!?!?

And, by the time most of the traffic (make that drivers of traffic vehicles) gets beyond my turn and to the intersection of the Cary Parkway and High House Road, arriving there from any of four directions, waiting a minute and 18 seconds in the morning (not sure of the hours) or a minute and 36 seconds in the evening (not sure of the exact times) for the light to turn green and to get through the crisscross of major Cary thoroughfares is simply so exasperating that yellow lights are now simply extensions of green and red lights are no more yellow than yellow are, resulting in 67 “crashes” (not sure if that’s multiple car crashes or one car crashes) from July 2005 to July 2008. (Don’t have stats for since then, but based on population increase and additional traffic, that number has to have risen.)

Town traffic planners (maybe a misnomer) came up with a crazy idea to reroute traffic with a series of twists and turns and side roads and additional traffic lights, but the Town Council in all its wisdom, knowing the ingenuity of local drives who would have used nearby parking lots as pass-throughs, rejected the staff proposal and said, “Go back to the drawing board and give us something the public will appreciate and not use against us in the next election.” That process took much of the year 2009 and ended in January of this year with the Council’s edict.

So, a new questionnaire—Cary Parkway/High House Road Intersection Survey—has been posted on the Tow of Cary website to ask anyone who wants to answer the 25 questions which we are told takes 20 minutes to complete and is just as most surveys are: It’s stacked in favor of those who developed the survey. It has questions patterned after: When did you stop beating your spouse? There’s no right way to answer most of the questions.

For instance, to paraphrase: Do you want to tear up the beautiful surroundings and landscaping that are trademark to Cary and put in more and more asphalt that will be ugly, just in the name of reducing traffic travel time by 20 seconds? Okay, so that’s not exactly what it says, but I’m not too far off. What the survey shows is that the traffic planners do not have any viable alternatives to what was offered last year, and this survey is something to give them confirmation that their original plan is the only plan. So, instead of just pointing this out, I offer a solution in steps:

-First, reduce the speed limit on both streets to 35 MPH for at least two blocks prior to the intersection;
-Second, if the first suggestion doesn’t work, install traffic calming humps in the lanes entering the intersection; and,
-Third, and this one is serious (though the 35 MPH is not a bad idea), change the intersection to a giant roundabout/traffic circle that takes out most of the beautiful surroundings and landscaping but installs designated right turn lanes and keeps traffic moving, for the most part, through the bottleneck of stop and go. It works in many places—such as Hilton Head Island and Pinehurst—where there’s as much or more traffic. Why not in Cary?

Probably because Cary planners do not like the idea just as they used to not like the idea of four-way stop sign intersections and probably because those who travel that area are in too damn much of a hurry to get someplace so they can tell anyone and everyone that they made it to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in record time. I say try it there, just for fun. In 20 or 30 years, it can be torn up for another solution.

Or, those of navigate our streets can just slow down and smell the fumes, the price for population increase in Cary, where I’ve called home since 1982, longer than most who do the same.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrate July 4th With The Declaration of Independence Not The Bill Of Rights

Today is July 4th, and not just any day on the calendar. It’s the anniversary of a document written in 1776 to show cause for independence by the 13 original colonies from the tyranny of the King of England. Today is the day that shows Americans why we wanted our independence. It was more than 21 years later that the Constitution of the United States was written and signed.

Today we celebrate the idea of independence and reasons why; it is not the day to rejoice the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. That comes in a little less than three months with the celebration of the Constitution Day which commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

If you’ll take time to read this document—the Declaration of Independence—you should understand today’s uproar by those who claim allegiance to the Tea Party movement. Our founding fathers understood; today’s leaders…well…I have my doubts. Do not interpret just one person in place of the King of England. It is government as a whole and those who are elected who take his place today.

So, here is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence with the original spelling and capitalization retained. The source is the the Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776.
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The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton