Last Wednesday night, I tuned into ESPN to catch a few minutes of the North Carolina - Iowa basketball game, and just as I did, announcers John Saunders and Dick Vitale launched into a commentary into the academic scandal that has recently come to light at UNC.
(I know that it has become a stale cliche to rip on Dicky V, so bear with me. Thank you.)
Both Saunders and Vitale said how awful it is that such a great University as North Carolina should have something like the happen to them, and what a terrible shame it is. They, and especially Vitale, went on to stress that (a) athletes weren't the only students to go through these phantom classes, and (b) none of the coaches, and certainly not Roy Williams or Dean Smith, would have had ANY IDEA that any of their athletes would have benefited from such fraud. Vitale went on to say that coaches don't and can't concern themselves with the academic progress or status of any of the athletes in their charge. Really? Man, have I been deluded over the years if that's the case. Or perhaps just hopelessly naive.
They also went on to say that past UNC football coaches Mack Brown and Butch Davis, who were at Chapel Hill when these events were occurring, also had NO IDEA that such things were taking place.
It should be noted that both Brown and Davis are currently employed as talking heads at ESPN, and as for Vitale, well, the day when he will ever say anything even remotely critical of any college basketball coach will indeed be the day that the earth will stand still.
I should also say that I hate to see something like this happen at the University of North Carolina. I have always liked the school, have usually rooted for it's basketball teams, and have a family member for whom I have nothing but the highest regard who is a UNC graduate. I am guessing that she and her husband, also a UNC grad, are probably as appalled as anyone over this whole situation.