Sunday, November 2, 2014

Naïve: Me? Swofford? Roy? Ed McMahan?

My October 10 post—All things considered,the joke’s on you, Dave!—elicited a few responses from fellow NC State fans, including this from a childhood friend from our hometown of Sanford. He wrote: “Be nice! Swofford will always be suspect to State fans. If you think for one moment that he would ever have State's interest in mind in any of his decisions then the joke's on you. You are not that naïve. Coach Doeren's comments are nothing but what State fans have believed for a long time.”

Maybe I am “that naïve” because never in a hundred years, as they say, did I think my October 29 post—"Attaboy" and a slap on the back for Dan Kane would be reprinted in The News & Observer which it was on Halloween, though not in its entirety because I said some things the N&O editors surely disliked. That it was published at all is downright scary considering the criticism I dish out at the newspaper on a regular basis, sometimes in this space and at other times in emails to the editor, John Drescher. Most recently, I informed him about the continuing issue of auto-hyphenation of words. There was this jab on October 29:

In the op-ed piece by Lewis Beale, “Quit or be fired, Williams should go,” the author makes several good points only to have the auto-hyphenation in the last paragraph ruin it. The word, intended to be “gobsmacked” (which would be hyphenated “gob-smacked”) and meaning astonished or utterly astounded, was hyphenated after and not before the “s” therefore making the word a hyphenated “gobs-macked.” The word “gobs” means “a large quantity” and the word “macked” refers to “a pimp” or “to flirt or make sexual advances to someone.” Was Roy Williams saying the Wainstein investigators repeatedly made sexual advances toward him? Now, that would be a better story! Is Dan Kane available???

That same day, the Atlantic Coast Conference had its annual basketball press conference in Charlotte where both ACC Commissioner John Swofford and UNC basketball coach Roy Williams were grilled about the UNC-Chapel Hill Administrative/Academic/Athletics scandal. Just for fun, let’s take to task some of their quotes. For instance, Swofford was asked if he was aware in any way of the bogus AFAM courses being offered, especially to the athletes under his command as the Tar Heels Director of Athletics.

SWOFFORD:  “I don’t think so. I think if you look at (the Wainstein) report, in my last few years there, there were some, in terms of numbers, very relatively minimal, independent study classes and AFAM. But that really took off in about 2000. So it never came up while I was there as an issue from any source. If it had, obviously, we would have addressed that with the appropriate people. But it never arose as any issue at all.”

MY TRANSLATION: It didn’t come up as an issue. As far as the leadership of the UNC athletics department was concerned, it was there but not an issue to worry about. It was normal to give athletes the benefit of the doubt, to offer easy classes to keep them eligible, because everyone else did it so why not UNC?

And, then there was Roy Williams who, not just this time but nearly all the time, uses the word “I” a lot when discussing UNC’s basketball team. Here are his comments with my comments in parentheses:
  • "If they fire me, it’s going to be because I didn’t win games. It’s not going to be because I for sure knowingly did something unethical." (What about maybe for sure knowingly?)
  • “I don’t move my ball on the green when nobody’s watching.” (Hah! Hah! Hah! Okay, that’s maybe believable on the green and not maybe believable moving it onto the green from just off, but what about in the rough or in the fairway when playing it as USGA Rule 13?)
  • “I don’t worry one second about my ethics, or what can be done there. And, the NCAA—I have never knowingly done anything that would even violate an attempt at the rule.” (Maybe, for sure? Don’t ask; don’t tell?)
  • “If I look back on it, of course you can say, ‘Well maybe I should have done this, should have done that, should have done this or should not have done that,’ If you ask me did I make a mistake in this, I’d say, ‘No.’” (Except maybe you should have asked when you suspected anything wrong, which you did, suspected that is.)
  • “I want to be part of the solution.” (Why wait until now? It’s been going on since … when?)
  • “You can accuse me of being naïve.” (Really?!?!? That’s a no-brainer.) 
And, speaking of be naïve, shortly after I posted kudos to Dan Kane, I heard from Ed McMahan, not the late Johnny Carson sidekick who spells his name McMahon, but Ed McMahan who is a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. According the UNC System website, Mr. McMahan is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS degree in Industrial Relations. He is chair of the BOG Audit Committee and serves on the Public Affairs Committee and the University Governance Committee. He’s also a former member of the North Carolina House of Representative. The naïve Mr. McMahan wrote in an email:

Jim, why don’t you get Dan to check NC State and Duke records to see if they have athletes taking Independent Study Courses (Paper Classes) and to what extent? Would be great to do a comparison.  Just thought it would be a natural extension of the story concerning independent studies and how many other schools use them to keep athletes eligible. Just a thought. Not assuming they would be bogus as was done at CH.

Interesting that Mr. McMahan asked me to encourage Dan Kane to look into something Mr. McMahan has the power to pursue through his position on the BOG. Of course, the BOG has no connection to Duke so that part’s out; and, it’s doubtful freedom of information requests extend to Duke. When I suggested that Mr. McMahan didn’t need Dan Kane or me, he didn’t reply. So, he’s the naïve one to think others will do his job. I’m not so naïve to do his dirty work, especially when it comes to investigating my alma mater, NC State.

Last but not least, here’s a note to my friend from Sanford: My feeling is that Swofford, as naïve as he alludes to being while UNC Athletics Director, does not get out of bed every day thinking of a decision he could make that day that would not be in the best interest of NC State. To Wolfpack fans, get off that thought pattern and worry about what we do right and what we do wrong and quit pointing fingers. In other words, do as I say and not as I do.