It’s ironic, to say the least, that The News & Observer went hard after the University of North Carolina football program, especially going after a student who plagiarized his way through an upper level course, but the newspaper failed to stop one of its long-time reporters from doing the same—plagiarizing—in a recent column. At least, from where I sit, it looks that way.
In his Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 column, Woeful finales abound in ACC today, sports writer Caulton Tudor, a fixture for numbers of years (back into the 1960s, I think) of The N&O sports pages and of the Raleigh Times before it folded its afternoon publishing and combined with The N&O, basically used an idea and very similar wording from an article I penned in the summer of 2009. My original writing was published in late June of 2009 on my blog, jimpomeranz.easyjournal.com (a website that no longer exists) and then, in part, What should the final game be?,in the Saturday, August 1 2009 edition of The News & Observer.
Both articles, mine then Tudor’s, zeroed in on the last regular season football weekend of the Atlantic Coast Conference and suggested the 12 ACC teams play conference games that finale Saturday. We both suggested the same match-ups, after comments by NC State football coach Tom O’Brien who called for the Wolfpack’s final game of the season to be against Wake Forest every year. He said it in 2009 prior to the season; he said it again last week prior to State’s finale against Maryland.
Though Tudor and I called for the same game match-ups, I went a step further and, reiterating what O’Brien said, identified the football games as ACC divisional contests which could have a bearing on winning either the Atlantic or Coastal divisions. We also each called for moving to earlier in the season the three ACC vs. SEC season-ending games: Clemson-South Carolina; Georgia Tech-Georgia; and. Florida State-Florida.
At the end of this post are the complete texts of our writing for the N&O, but here are exerts that are so similar that the idea of plagiarizing by Tudor is clear, or is it? I report; you decide:
Jim Pomeranz, Aug. 1, 2009: With divisional games—Maryland-Boston College; N.C. State-Wake Forest; Clemson-Florida State; Duke-North Carolina; Virginia-Virginia Tech; Georgia Tech-Miami—at the end of the season, it's possible and probable the division champs would be crowned late Saturday night every year, creating better conference interest and excitement. It wraps the conference into a nice little package that's much more marketable.
Caulton Tudor, Nov. 26, 2011: Here's a slate of regular-season finales that would be of more interest to ACC fans: Maryland vs. Boston College; Virginia vs. Virginia Tech; N.C. State vs. Wake Forest; Duke vs. North Carolina; Clemson vs. Florida State; Georgia Tech vs. Miami. The habit of playing three ACC vs. SEC games to end each season hardly helps ACC recruiting and builds little interest in the conference championship game.
So, is that plagiarism? Well, maybe not word for word—it doesn’t have to be—but it sure smacks of it. Imagine this: a seasoned reporter such as Tudor—who I’ve considered a friend and hope he remains so—reaching back to what I wrote 28 months ago to fill his space last week. I’m not sure he did it purposely but how about giving credit where credit is due.
The two articles along with links to The N&O website follow. Thanks for reading. Your comments are always encouraged.
What should the final game be?
by Jim Pomeranz, The News & Observer, Sat., Aug. 1, 2009
So Tom O'Brien, my N.C. State football coach, has drawn the proverbial line in the sand. He does not want my Wolfpack to play our biggest, self-proclaimed rival, the North Carolina Tar Heels, in the last game of the season. We've got 11 games between now and then. You just gave our players something else to think about through each one of those, and you provided the Tar Heels football players with bulletin board material.
What the heck were you thinking? Though actually, I agree with you.
I want to disrupt three other annual rival games (all nonconference) for a more equitable schedule involving all 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams. The Georgia Tech-Georgia, Florida State-Florida and Clemson-South Carolina games need to change to earlier dates, paving the way for conference finales that showcase the league and point to the conference championship game.
In each case, the elephants in the room—television networks—have gotten involved and strongly encouraged no schedule change for games.
Well, with all due respect to those three college football rivalries and the TV guys, these schedule-moving discussions should resume. And if the ACC is serious about building a better football league, the ACC needs to push hard to move those games and put the final week to better use: league only, divisional games.
Play those three rivalry games Labor Day weekend, or during the middle of the season. Heck. Play those life-or-death in-state games as the next to the last game, if they wish. But, just move them from the week before the ACC championship game.
Not only do those games need to be moved, but in the name of conference fairness—partially accomplished by requiring all 12 league schools to play the weekend before the championship game—the ACC needs to play six divisional conference games the last week of the season.
The coaches should want the change (O'Brien obviously does). Each of the three rivalry games creates the mood at the losing school for the next eight months. It puts undue pressure on the coach to win, even if his team plays for and wins the conference title the next week. It can and has caused coaches to be fired, and a win may extend a contract when in reality it shouldn't have.
If those three games were played at the beginning of the season, there's a chance for the losing team and coach to recover with the fans and administration by season's end.
Currently, there's no equality in the way the schedule plays out. For instance, Miami could lead the Coastal Division and end the season against Florida Atlantic, and Clemson could have captured first in the Atlantic Division and have the final game at South Carolina. That's just one scenario, but if it happens, Clemson or Georgia Tech or Florida State—win or lose—could pour so much into coaching and playing that non-conference rivalry game there would be nothing left in them in the league title game, especially against a team that just played a game that meant much less emotionally.
With divisional games—Maryland-Boston College; N.C. State-Wake Forest; Clemson-Florida State; Duke-North Carolina; Virginia-Virginia Tech; Georgia Tech-Miami—at the end of the season, it's possible and probable the division champs would be crowned late Saturday night every year, creating better conference interest and excitement. It wraps the conference into a nice little package that's much more marketable.
When O'Brien, speaking recently at the annual ACC Football Kickoff, drew that line about playing North Carolina, put a distraction in front of his players, and gave UNC fodder for inspiration, he actually spoke what I have been saying for a while: “We'd be much better served as a conference, I think, to work games within the Coastal Division or Atlantic Division the last game.” Amen, Tom.
Woeful finales abound in ACC today
by Caulton Tudor, The News & Observer, Sat., Nov. 26, 2011
N.C. State will not—cannot—find an excuse should the Wolfpack lose today's game against Maryland.
Coach Tom O'Brien has made that point clear throughout the week.
But that being said, a Wolfpack vs. Terps game is no way to end the regular-season schedule for two charter members of the ACC.
For a league that's been around since 1953, the ACC has several uninspiring and what should be unacceptable, regular-season finales.
The only game today with any serious impact on the postseason is Virginia Tech's trip to Virginia.
And until the Hokies entered the league in 2004, the two finished the schedule with a nonconference game—the same as Florida State against Florida, Clemson against South Carolina and Georgia Tech against Georgia.
Something is terribly awry when there are only four conference games—Duke at North Carolina, Boston College at Miami, Virginia Tech at Virginia and Maryland at N.C. State—in a 12-team league that's on the way to adding two more members.
ACC officials have said repeatedly over the years that they've sought ways to arrange better finales, but with little success.
O'Brien said this week that the Wolfpack and Wake Forest (which is playing Vanderbilt, again) should be a traditional finale.
O'Brien couldn't be more correct. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has said several times that the Yellow Jackets should end with an ACC foe.
Here's a slate of regular-season finales that would be of more interest to ACC fans:
Maryland vs. Boston College.
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech.
N.C. State vs. Wake Forest.
Duke vs. North Carolina.
Clemson vs. Florida State.
Georgia Tech vs. Miami.
The habit of playing three ACC vs. SEC games to end each season hardly helps ACC recruiting and builds little interest in the conference championship game.
NOTE: The articles here were reprinted without permission of The News & Observer but then Tudor basically reprinted my column without the author's permission. So there!