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.

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