Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Get your head out of the sand, Roy!

Considering he’s just a basketball coach, it’s not surprising Roy Williams, the current savior of UNC basketball, has little depth of thinking about anything other than sports in general and, in particular, basketball. He readily admits getting his education beyond his job from just one television outlet: ESPN. “If it’s not on ESPN, I don’t watch it,” he said recently as he criticized the sports network for two things: his team’s schedule days and comments by ESPN announcers.

Roy, the current beneficiary of educational-scandal-basketball player retention which is a tradition at UNC like none other, would prefer games played on Saturday and Wednesday only so he can keep up when his team plays and what day of the week is at hand. He prefers that to keeping a printed schedule and a physical calendar nearby or maybe having one of his assistants load the information on his iPhone or whatever communication device he uses, if he uses one at all. You can bet the assistant coaches and the players know the day of the week, the basketball schedule, and how to use an iPhone. They could set up notification alarms so Roy doesn't have to search for the dates.

And, Roy thinks discussing during a game the lucrative future of current basketball players should be out-of-bounds even though everyone knows playing college basketball, especially for his Tar Heels or up the road a few miles at Duke is just an intermediary (that means “go-between,” Roy) step from high school to the true professional level of the NBA, not the professional level of college basketball, especially at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke.

Who knows what sand pile Roy had his head in the many years he’s been in the business, but from the time Roy was a player to a student assistant and so on and so forth to his lucrative and over-paid position as the Tar Heels head coach, his income level and the increase in his team’s annual budget has been directly related to money flowing from television revenues to all of college basketball and especially to UNC.

Roy must want control of ESPN for the schedule and censorship authority of announcers who make their money from being popular or unpopular with their viewers—not including Roy, obviously. Of course, freedom of speech has nothing to do with what Roy wants.

Roy thinks ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference are partners, but that’s stretching reality, not just a little but a lot. ESPN funds the ACC and does so with authority and little consideration for league fairness. Why would the network insist the two UNC-Duke basketball games be played just 17 days apart (February 17 and March 5)? The first date is after the Super Bowl (no attention to another sport) and both dates are during an important ratings period. The hype for those games is nauseating to anyone except the fans of UNC and Duke, but Roy has no regrets about that. Incidentally, from February 6 through February 27, the Tar Heels play games Saturday, Tuesday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, and Saturday. That’s perfect for Roy because he can keep up with the schedule and days of the week.

What’s really hilarious (and sad) about Roy and his recent venting of the schedule and commentator comments is the space newspapers and television stations give Roy on his soapbox. It’s insulting enough the media reports what he and other coaches regularly say without challenging them and their comments. There are many more and much more important things in this world than how Roy Williams feels about his basketball schedule and what a TV commentator says about the future of a college student.

Look Roy, at the time of your diatribe your team was 18-2 overall and 7-0 in the ACC. Quit complaining, do your job, and expand your horizons. There are hundreds of additional options for viewing and learning on your television. Check the channel lineup. There’s a button on your remote for that, if you can find it.

So, Roy, if you don’t take time to read anything other than opposition scouting reports and the multitude of stats compiled by your assistants, at least take a few minutes to watch a national news program or two and maybe the History Channel or even the Cartoon Network. You’ll find a bigger and more important world out there than just college basketball, and your schedule and what someone says about college players will not be so bothersome to you.