There was a well-publicized panel discussion on Athletics & Academics held at UNC@CH last Thursday. Those who knew that have no doubt wondered “was BobLee there?” and, if so, “will BobLee tell us what, if anything, it really amounted to?” Of Course and Of Course. That is, after all, why you visit here…..
“The panel” included a Hunter Rawlings who is poobah of one of those pretentious “accrediting agencies” that scare the bejebbers out of academicians. Panel members included Big Ten Commish Jim Delany and three other people you have never heard of nor really care about.
“The panel” could have been five mannequins from Julian’s store window as they, and I and 200 or so spectators, said nothing but rather listened to 5-6 quite interesting presentations.
Supposedly “the panel” will digest and cogitate over what was presented and, a few weeks or months from now, issue some “white paper” or some such that might completely resolve all the issues complicating “big time college sports”….. or maybe not. The latter being the likely. Best I could figure “the panel” has no power, mandate, or other authority to “do anything” other than issue its aforementioned “findings” which will be summarily ignored. I think Holden assembled this panel mainly for a public forum for him to get a few things off his chest. Which I thought he did quite well.
Those of you of the ABC persuasion who hoped this occasion would culminate in UNC declaring it’s own “death penalty” and symbolically putting the torch to “The Rafters” must carry the burden of that foolishness a few more centuries.
NOTE: The next meeting of the “The Rafters MUST BURN” Society is scheduled for Sadlack’s on the third Monday in May. Society officials are hoping to procure either Dan Kane or Deborah Crowder as guest speaker.
BubbaTheRealAD opened the two-hour event with a historical review of “how we got in this gawdawful mess” thru the advent of ESPN, NCAA, CFA, BCS, More ESPNs, March Madness, and still more ESPNs. That he left out “monkey boards” was, IMO, a glaring omission.
Holden Thorp was next and his key point has been well reported.
University Presidents / Chancellors have as much business “being the primary governing authorities over Big Time College Sports (BTCS)” as Ol’ Roy does being a spokescoach for Pepsi.
He admitted he knew next to nothing about the grim realities of BTCS when he became UNC Chancellor. Now, five years, later he knows a great deal but the learning process blew his Chancellor career to smithereens.
He admitted he would not say that if he were not leaving in two months. Being a “lame chancellor” has some straight talk advantages. I thought Holden’s 10 minutes were EXCELLENT. He was “on his game” and is obviously anxious to get to St Louis.
Holden believes ADs should be the governoring authorities of BTCS. He left it unsaid that “unless the AD is a clueless sycophant like I had sabotaging me for three of the past five years”. I think the audience took that for granted. I know I did.
He is right about academicians not being savvy enough about “athletics” to sniff out the many rats and plug the reoccurring leaks in the ship.
Jay Bilas was next. Once we got past three minutes of triteness re: “I guess you know I’m from Duke yadda yadda….” (yawn) Jay was unanimously the most erudite presenter of the afternoon. Bubba is My Favorite Guy of course but Jay was the most compelling speaker.
If this panel had any authority it could have disbanded the whole NCAA right there and crowned Jay Bilas Czar of Big Time College Football & Basketball and we all would be better off today. Jay is not only tall and a snappy dresser…. he also knows what he is talking about.
Some Sports Administration professor named Richard Southall presented the single most compelling “fact” of the day:
“The average family income of an Olympic Sports student-athlete is $550,000….” GADZOOKS!
That sent Rams Club ExecDir John Montgomery hurriedly texting his fundraising staff to “redirect our efforts towards the rich parents of the gymnasts, field hockey, fencing, swimming and chick softball players”. Southall later admitted his sources were (1) Wikipedia and a (2) a Neurosurgeon he knows whose kid plays Lacrosse.
FWIW…. There are Zero recorded cases of a free-style swimmer not being able to buy a bus ticket to attend his/her grandmother’s funeral.
Southall’s valid point was – the eternal question of “pay to play” for college athletes need not involve any sports other than Football and Mens Basketball. DING DING DING!
This cut us closer to the real chase which is:
The whole brouhaha over BTCA is all about Football & Mens Basketball…..
….. and taking it a step further – the high % of AfAm student-athletes in FB and Bskball who are marginally qualified academically and culturally to be on a major college campus.
Endless filiblustering about – graduation rates – pay to play – early-outs – admission exceptions – recruiting scams – grade manipulation – eligibility majors – thugaletes – et al ad infinitum are meaningless if diluted with inclusion of any sports other than Football and Mens Basketball PERIOD.
Schools that use “real students” who participate in the Olympic Sports in their athletic academic stats do so because “they have to” to avoid being laughed out of the room.
No one is saying AfAms should not be allowed to participate in college FB and/or Bskball simply because of race. But lets get rid of the unnecessary clutter of extraneous elements and concentrate the solutioning on:
“How do we resolve the numerous issues in BTCA….. that ALL seem to revolve primarily around AfAm athletes in Football and Mens Basketball?”
I believe it was Bilas that advocates the immediate removal from the lexicon of the silly term “student-athlete” when referring to FB and Mens Bskball.
UNC Professor Jay Smith also spoke. Every UNC board monkey hates Jay Smith more than he hates Wojo. Smith is the admitted “arch enemy of BTCS” and he makes no apology for being so. His point is that the objectives of academia and athletics are non-tangential. At no point do those objectives coincide. They are at cross purposes ergo let’s admit that and create some détente under which both can function without the current abject hypocrisy.
I actually thought Jay Smith made sense… which got me kicked in the shin by my WCHL buddy Art Chansky who was sitting to my left. That Chansky was “on my Left” will come as no surprise to anyone who knows the two of us.
The audience got to ask questions which amounted to 10-12 people wanting to hear themselves pontificate on obtuse points that served to burn up any time that Jim Delany or those other anonymous panel members might have used to say “something”. And NO I was not among the 10-12 obtuse pontificators.
As the audience departed; I did not see PhilipBridges’86, Dickie, John Blake, Hodding Carter, Gene Nichol, The FabCTs…. or Jennifer Wiley (who no one has still EVER seen!)
I did chat briefly with John Montgomery and Bubba, which has probably gotten both of them in trouble some how.