Saturday, February 28, 2015

Two Big Questions - DC sports edition

DC sports fans will soon learn the answers to two burning questions.

1. The most immediate one is, do the Wizards have the fortitude to overcome their recent tailspin? The 'Zards have lost 6 straight, including two in a row to bottom feeders, and have gone from an ascending Eastern Conference power led by an emerging MVP candidate to a dysfunctional unit struggling to hang on to a playoff spot.*

Two related issues have emerged for our Washington basketball team. One, unlike every other NBA power, the Wizards do not make a lot of three-pointers or free throws. For a while Rasuel Butler papered over this problem, but the 'Zards clearly miss Trevor Ariza and his three point shooting. The Wizards' problems correspond with Bulter's recent frigid shooting, and Martell Webster has been just as cold since coming back from this third back surgery in four seasons. 

Compounding that problem has been the injury-plagued season of Bradley Beal. But even when he has been on the floor Beal has struggled. His scoring is down, in part due to 'competition' with veteran leader Paul Pierce. It appears that those two occupy the same spaces on the floor and have yet to learn how to play off each other.

Washington fans may recall that when Pierce was originally signed he was supposed to come off the bench. Ironically, he became a starter when Beal was injured in the preseason.  

As the losses have mounted there have been lot of complaints about Randy Wittman's coaching, offense and rotations. One solution may be, once Beal returns from his latest injury, to go back to the 'original' line up and start Gortat, Hilario,** Otto Porter, Beal and Wall, with Pierce coming off the bench.  Pierce is a pro and can handle any scenario thrown at him. Beal - and Porter - are young and their development should be a priority. Starting them with Pierce coming off the bench could be a win-win situation - that gets our Wizards some actual wins.

2. The other DC sports question relates to our Nats. Is this the year we finally decide if GM Mike Rizzo is an actual genius? He's been given that title mainly due to trades where he picked up Gio Gonzalez, Wilson Ramos and Doug Fister for a hill of beans and some worn out resin bags, drafted Anthony Rendon when other teams thought he was injury prone, and signed important free agents such as Jayson Werth and now Max Scherzer. 

Of course, stinking enough when Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were draft eligible also helped.

Bottom line, if the Nats win the World Series this season he will be a certified genius for constructing this team. But if they don't, and stalwarts like Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann leave via free agent, how good will his tenure look? 

Scherzer and ZNN are similar in many ways, except that Zimmerman is younger and cheaper (and home grown). If you don't win a World Series and lose with older and more expensive players*** you can not be called a genius.

GO Wizards, GO Nats!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Senate as a solution?

One of the indignities of living in DC is that we have no representation in Congress yet states that are barely inhabited such as Rhode Island, Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont, etc. not only have that but also TWO Senators.

Though DC does not have the representation it deserves, one has to applaud the Founding Fathers for designing a legislative body that balances the interests of large and small, rich and poor, states. 

I thought about that design when reading all the stories about the latest turns in the eurozone and Greece in the Sunday Post and Times. One problem plaguing the eurozone is that nations share a currency but not much else. Their budgets, bonds, borrowing and spending - and politics - is each different. Exhibit A is Greece and Germany, with Germany obviously fed up with Greece's spending and politics.

One goal of a united, post-war Europe was to put an end to political rivalries and nationalism.  Another goal is economic; the eurozone is supposed to create one, big, united economy much like the one in the U.S. As you know, in our united states wealthier ones such as California and New York support their poorer brethren like Mississippi and Alabama. Unfortunately, now that the chips are down Germany does not want to eurozone to function like that. Instead of propping up they have decided to force austerity on the poorer nations of Europe. 

In doing so, Berlin has cynically prioritized their banks over their fellow European citizens. Clearly, German-imposed austerity has not worked. 

As the New York Times editorialized today, one way to make the eurozone actually function is to unite European financial markets and economies - not just currencies. The Times goes on to point out that that kind of unity is unlikely since countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland do not trust eurozone bureaucrat in Brussels (even though the Greeks would obviously benefit from being as transparent and prudent, etc. as the Germans), and vice-versa.  

That's where the Senate comes in. Though it slows things down, which can be but isn't always a bad thing, I am still a big fan of bicameral legislatures (sorry parliamentary democracies and Nebraska). Perhaps integrating currencies, economies and markets would work better if the existing European parliament was given greater authority AND was complimented by a Senate that functioned exactly as ours did - complete with the filibuster and cloture, and most importantly, every member of the European Senate, no matter how big or small, had 2 seats.  

Countries would be equals financially AND politically. Joining such a union or zone would also force a nation to decide, "Do you care about a union of equals or do you only care about YOUR national interests" -- and in this case German banks.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Manuel Transmissions: Oscar Edition

Just in time for the Oscars, episode three of the 'Manuel Transmissions' podcast is on YouTube.  In addition to sharing our Oscar picks we discuss the new pace of play rules for Major League Baseball with John, Alex, Ariadne, Evan, Cleo, Michael, Anna, Paul and our newest cast member Kate, with a guest appearance by Sophia! You can also find it here: http://youtu.be/42H3Qx0tZnA

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dook Game

I continue to feel detached about Carolina basketball in the wake of Dean's death.  That said, I imagine that feeling will dissipate once I tune in and catch my first glimpse of a self-satisfied, entitled, smug, Republican Duke student.

I envision the same thing will happen to Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and Roy Williams, but I especially hope it happens to Kennedy Meeks and J.P. Tokoto.  We need those two back in 'Heels Peaking' rhythm, tonight and every night. Meeks is especially important; despite the presence of Okafor we should be the better team down low.

Look for those two to get on track, Paige to be Paige, and the Heels to beat down the Devils one more time.

GO HEELS!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Manuel Transmissions: Episode II, Presidents Day edition

The second episode of the Manuel Transmissions podcast - just in time for Presidents Day!

You can also find Manuel Transmissions on YouTube at http://youtu.be/SgMbBmQXqeo

Dean Hangover

Watching Carolina's game versus Pitt yesterday my fandom matched the level of play from the Heels. Given the news of the week, losing a basketball game on the road did not seem that big of a deal. I shrugged off the loss, unaffected, much the same way the players seemed to.

That said, there were some interesting basketball-game related insights.
  1. Despite sleepwalking through much of the game the Heels DID tie it up late in the first half. But at the under-four time out the wheels fell off - and stayed off.
  2. That run to tie the game was led by Kennedy Meeks, who came off the bench for the second game in a row. I imagine, or more to the point hope, that Meeks will be back in the starting line up versus Duke. As much as Isaiah Hicks has improved the Heels are strongest when Brice Johnson and Meeks are feeding off each other.
  3. The other player who helped lead that run was Joel Berry. It was great to see the Florida freshman step up and play with confidence; he was so confident Roy had him start the second half at the point.
  4. As good as it was to see Berry contribute it was also an admission that Nate Britt, after a great couple of games highlighted by his performance against Syracuse, and J.P. Tokoto have regressed in the last 4 games. We need both to get back to their A game if this team is to compete for an ACC championship and make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. 
  5. This week's game at Duke may be just what this team needs. This is a good team, one that should regain it's focus and mojo in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Never underestimate how some adversity can help get a team back on track. 
Finally, a huge 'point to the passer' to the University of Pittsburgh student section. 
Not only did the students unveil this banner but they also presented Roy with a signed card offering their condolences for Coach Smith's death. Those gracious actions from the self proclaimed Oakland Zoo prompted Roy to say "College athletics is not all bad. There are some darn good things that happen."

Kudos to the Oakland Zoo for the ultimate Dean move. Point to the passer!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dean

I never met Dean Smith - I think the closest I came to ever talking to him was when Jim Love and the coach shared an ash tray as Jim and I were leaving Carmichael after picking up some student basketball tickets; I think I was in the bathroom - but like Tar Heels everywhere his death hit me hard.  I wept more than once today thinking about Coach Smith.

Despite never having played for him many UNC alums usually refer to him as Coach Smith, like his players did.  Or you could go with Dean, though that frankly seems too familiar.  

There have been many great tributes to Coach Smith today, as there were when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and when he retired in 1997. Two of my favorite's are by Sports Illustrated's Alexander Wolff and Beth McNichol at the UNC General Alumni Association.  Both articles remind readers that Dean was more than an innovative and creative and successful basketball coach, that Coach Smith was a scholar, author and social activist.  Above all they remind us that Coach Smith was a gentleman who was generous and loyal to his players and staff, someone who treated his star players and student managers with respect and equality.

North Carolina, America and the world could use a lot more Dean Smiths.

One thing those tributes have not mentioned is that the reason Coach Smith means so much to non-basketball players or coaches is that for UNC alums, Dean IS Carolina.

Charles Kuralt said it best when at the University's 200th anniversary he asked 'Why is it that we love this place so? ... Because it still is, what it always has been, the university of the people.' 

That's Dean. When we look at Coach Smith we see the values many if not all of us associate with Carolina. To alums our alma mater is more than a school.  Carolina is a set of values - open-mindedness, liberal, egalitarian, public - designed to help Chapel Hill fulfill its mission of helping the people of North Carolina and the South overcome a still-toxic legacy of bigotry, ignorance and poverty.  

The University of the people. The University of Dean Smith.

Everlasting be his memory! Go Heels! 

For more on Dean from a different perspective check out the inaugural 'Manuel Transmissions' podcast, a podcast that will eventually feature opinions from three 'generations' of the Manuel family: parents John, Cleo, Christine, Athan; high school and college students Evan, Kate, Ariadne, Paul; kids Sophia, Alex, Michael, Anna.  Our initial podcast features Paul, Ariadne, Evan, me and an actual journalist John Manuel, talking about Dean.


Two more Dean notes:

  • I want to thank my friend Bill Wood for having Dean autograph a basketball for me. Bill, a UNC med school grad, was the household hazardous waste coordinator for Orange County, doing good work AND becoming a North Carolina resident before applying to med school. When Dean agreed to record a PSA for the program Bill thoughfully got Coach Smith to autograph a ball for me, one of the nicest gifts I've ever received and a Dean move all the way! I'm pointing at Bill right now! 
  • i would love to see #pointtothepasser start trending on Twitter. Nothing is more Dean than pointing out when someone helps you succeed. Heels need to make that happen. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Syriza Imitates the US - on immigration

One of the worst trait of knee-jerk lefties around the world, or here actually, is an lazy anti-Americanism.  For a country like Greece, that does not make sense.  There are many ways in which America could benefit from imitating Greek attitudes on food, family, and work-life balance.

But Greece really needs to copy American ideals such as meritocracy, faith in democratic institutions (courts, etc.), taking more personal responsibility for civic life  (volunteerism, citizens boards), and above all not asking what your country can do for you but what can you for your country.  

One way our meritocracy manifests itself is an immigrant can come to America and instantly feel like an American, and more importantly know a child born here is automatically an American citizen.  

Unlike the U.S. or Canada, most old world nation's determine citizenship by blood or heritage. For instance, in Greece there are generations of Greek-born Albanians who despite that birth are officially Albanian citizens. The same was true for Turks in Germany, northern Africans in France, etc.  That is starting to change in Europe, though not everywhere, but in a very progressive move changed this week in Greece courtesy of Syriza. 

On Tuesday, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou announced that Greek nationality would be granted to all migrants' children who were born and raised in Greece. She added that this would apply to even those who were not born here, but came to Greece at very young age and finished school here.

That is huge!  Congrats to Syriza for that very humane and logical move, AND for imitating the U.S. too.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Day, Old View in Ελλας

Two days into the Syriza era in Greece and the world economy has yet to collapse!

Though Greece is still in the eurozone new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has shaken things up a bit already, starting with his inauguration. As the son of a Greek Orthodox priest and the nephew of two more, including one in the motherland, it is still hard for me to believe that an atheist could get elected Greek prime minister. Tsipras solidified his non-creed cred by holding a secular swearing-in service without a Bible or priest. 

Another change is that Tsipras appointed Greece's first cabinet minister to root out and fight corruption, a laudatory move that elevates solving one of the country's most intractable and urgent problems. Hopefully the minister's job will also include shaming/ cajoling/forcing Greece's wealthiest citizens to actually pay their taxes. [Republicans like to point to Greece as an example of a failed welfare state but as I blogged before it is a GOP paradise: the rich simply don't pay taxes.]

An atheist PM. Fighting corruption. Those are two new, never-been-seen-before qualities for a Greek prime minister. One other change proposed by Tsipras, an end to the European sanctions against Russia, looks new and bold but is actually an old, tired and failed policy. 

During the 400+ years that Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire, Greeks repeatedly looked to the northeast, to our Orthodox coreligionists in Russia, to come liberate us and restore a Byzantine Orthodox Empire with Constantinople as it's capital.

As you may know, that never happened. Nevertheless, too many Greeks have inexplicably always looked to Russia. It didn't matter if Russia was ruled by czars, Communists, dictators, or thugs; many Greeks continued to look longingly - and unrequitedly - to Moscow. 

It's ironic that a guy who wants to do things differently in Greece - which is admirable - includes a tired, old and failed attitude towards Russia on his to-do list, and that an atheist wants to nurture an old relationship built on Orthodoxy. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Heels Peaking

It's only Tuesday but what a week. First, Tsipras and Syriza sweep into power in Greece, and President Obama decides to protect 12 million acres in the Arctic Refuge including the coastal plain as wilderness, both on Sunday.

But of course I can't stop thinking about Monday night and Carolina's beat down of Syracuse. It was one of those games where the Heels looked terrible, at least for the first twenty minutes, with turnovers and unforced errors all over the Dean Dome.  Even 5 minutes into the second the Heels still trailed and the Orange controlled the game.

Then, all of a sudden you look up and the Heels are up 10, have scored more than 90 points against a historically tough defense, and shoot better than 60 percent in the second half and better than 55 percent for the game.

This team is starting to come together at the right time, and are looking both dangerous and intriguing at the same time.

Best of all, it's been vintage Carolina basketball.

One reason the Heels are shooting it so well is they are steadily and competently feeding the post, Dean style, for easy baskets.  Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks have been feasting inside, with Johnson making 57 percent of his shots while Meeks makes 58 percent.  

And of course it's not a coincidence that those two have benefited from the return of a more confident Marcus Paige. Paige has been good most of the season, as was Carolina.  But of late he has been great; ditto the Heels.

A Few More Thoughts

  • I've always liked Nate Britt since he was born and raised inside the Beltway.  If he plays like he did last night...man oh man!
  • He had a rough game last night, but Justin Jackson is also coming on.  After being reminded to be aggressive he had games of 17 and 16 versus Virginia Tech and FSU.
  • This week may be the true test to see if this team is peaking and worthy of the loftiest of expectations.  The Heels travel to the YUM! Center to take on the Cardinals, then return to Chapel Hill on Monday, Feb. 2nd to take on undefeated Virginia.
GO HEELS!




Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Quick Take on the Looming Greek Elections

Unlike the last time they went to the polls, the fate of the world may not be decided by the Greek electorate on January 25th.  The German banks that were repaid by the troika - IMF, European Central Bank, European Commission - that bailed out Greece two years ago are liquid again; since they have gotten their money Germany apparently does not fear a Greek exit from the eurozone if Syriza wins.

Though the leader of that party, Kosta Tsipras, is a loon a vote for Syriza does have some good points, mainly as a vote in opposition to the austerity measures forced on Greece and other eurozone nations like Spain, Ireland and Italy. It's striking to see Europe cling to austerity; their economies are so weak that Greece - GREECE - was one of only 3 eurozone nations that saw economic growth in 2014.

Contrast that with the U.S., where President Obama - with robust Democratic majorities in the House and Senate - went in the other direction and passed a stimulus bill in 2009 that kept our economy above water and paved the way for a robust recovery that is still picking up steam. Republicans wanted to push cuts in spending and emulate the European elites they supposedly despise.

But the German banks were repaid so that's all that matters to the EU.

Also unlike the last elections in 2012, eurozone leaders do not seem that alarmed about Greece possibly leaving the common currency.  Again, their banks have recovered so Greece, which is only 2 percent of the European economy, is back to being a blip on the radar screen.

But having an EU nation drop their common currency seems awfully cynical, politically.  The economic union of Europe was supposed to herald a era of continental cooperation and integration.  Has the EU stopped aspiring to those lofty political and cultural goals?  Seems like it.

While I would love to see an anti-austerity party win the Greek elections, and see an anti-austerity movement pick up steam in Europe, I can't get behind Syriza. It's ironic that they are somewhat anti-American - Syriza has threatened to kick the U.S. Navy out of Crete, opposes sanctions against Putin, etc. - when what Greece really needs is to emulate the U.S. and become a meritocracy, embrace immigrants (which Greece USED to do), and convince the E.U. - from the inside, instead of dropping out of the eurozone - to try an Obama-style stimulus instead of austerity. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Beating NC State

For a native North Carolinian, someone Tar Heel born, it is hard to top beating NC State - in anything but especially basketball, especially especially at Reynolds.

Saying Reynolds is proof that I am a native but also reflects how growing up Duke was not the biggest rival for the Heels. In the 70s, the Blue Devils were home to Rand Paul and other right wingers in training but they hardly featured good basketball players.  That was NC State.

Kudos to the Pack for playing a tough game versus the Heels, and I never thought I would ever type 'kudos to Mark Gottfried' but he deserves credit for making NC State basketball relevant again. Ask the Dookies if State is back. Unlike Carolina, who has won 17 of the last 18 versus the Pack, Duke has lost two in a row to State at the RBC Center, 3 in a row on that floor including the loss to Mercer.

Of course, more kudos are due to Marcus Paige, who for the second year in a row took down the Wolfpack with 23 points, 9 assists, 4 steals and no turnovers. But unlike last year's duel with T.J. Warren, Paige had considerable help from J.P. Tokoto, Isaiah Hicks, and the entire roster on Wednesday night.  Tokoto was great on defense and came up with some big steals and hoops late, and Hicks was especially huge as he posted a career high in points with Brice Johnson in foul trouble. Kennedy Meeks and Nate Britt also made big-time plays for the Heels throughout the contest.

It was a win-win win: a great victory versus the Pack IN Raleigh, and another reason to love Marcus Paige.

GO HEELS!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reset - for Paige and for Tar Heels everywhere

I think it's safe to say the Tar Heels hit the reset button on the 2014-2015 season after their come from behind win versus Louisville in Chapel Hill on Saturday.  More than two months into this season, and the team still felt off, stuck in neutral.  For every good win, over Ohio State in Columbus or the back-to-back wins over UCLA and Florida, there were equally odd losses to Iowa at home coupled with the 'meh' games at Kentucky and against Butler.

Ditto the players. Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks entered the season with altered bodies and great expectations. Both have played well at times, but there remain nagging questions about their offensive inconsistency.

But of course the biggest example of a player stuck in neutral, searching for a rhythm and flow, was Marcus Paige.  

Not only is he our best player, the pre-season ACC player of the year and first team All-American, Paige carries the burden of being an actual student-athlete. He's asked to make shots, lead the Heels to championships, AND lead Carolina out of our post-Wainstein funk.   

We, or at least folks like me, need him to save the team and help restore our alma mater's reputation.

That's a lot on the slender shoulders of the Iowa junior. But with 8.5 seconds left and the Heels down one, Paige found to way to balance all those responsibilities - or at least figured out a way to bank them high off the glass and into the basket - and lead the Heels to their most important win of the season.

A play that big, to cap off a comeback that important, can save a season for a team and a player.  

And when that player is Marcus Paige it makes us, Tar Heels everywhere, feel better about Carolina - Dean's Carolina, the institution we believe in and cherish, THE university of the people - too.*

GO HEELS! 

* I may be overdoing it a bit, but as you can tell I love Marcus Paige. He's as Dean as they come. Anyway, we'll find out if he has turned around our season on Wednesday versus State. It will be quite a game, if for no other reason it will be State's 'we just beat the crap out of Duke' mojo versus our 'The Marcus Paige who single-handedly took down the Wolfpack in Raleigh last year is BACK.'

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP NOTE

If you only read one article about tonight's college football championship game read this one from the Post: Students Try to Find Their Place For College Football National Championship Game. The networks and big six conferences lined up the money, sponsors, boosters, capitalist pigs, and the athletes but forgot about the students. Big time college sports don't need to be reformed; they are fundamentally corrupt.   

Monday, January 5, 2015

Conference Players of the Year

Sure, January marks the beginning of a new year but for hoops fans it mainly marks the start of ACC basketball. Though it's true that since the ACC started it's football-fueled expansion there have been a few conference games in December, the real schedule starts in January. Just this weekend there were two double-overtime games, and a nice road win for the Heels, so the ACC is off to a good start.

The conference is also loaded. Notre Dame looked terrific in taking down the Heels tonight. The addition of Louisville, coupled with Syracuse the year before, has helped reorient the conference back to where it belongs - as the nation's pre-eminent hoops conference. In addition to three teams in the top 5 and five in the current top 20, two other ACC squads have been ranked this year.  That's seven teams - at a minimum - that should get bids to the NCAA tournament.

Tournament bids is one way to measure the strength of a conference; ditto final fours and championships. Another interesting way to do so is by looking at recent players of fhe year and how they have fared at the next level. The holiday break gave me a chance to look into how the last 10 POY in the big six conferences have done in the NBA, with some interesting findings.*

I broke the players into 6 categories: MVPs (6 pts); All stars (5); starters (3); in the rotation (2); earning a pro paycheck (1); busts (0).*

Using the categories here is how the conferences stack up:
SEC - 22
ACC - 21
Big 12 - 20
PAC 12 - 18
Big East - 16
Big 10 - 10

Though it's not a balanced hoops conference it's not surprising to see the SEC on top, buoyed by one MVP type, Anthony Davis, an all star in John Wall coupled with starters and solid rotation guys. The SEC also had the fewest busts.

The ACC picked up points with 4 starters (Reddick twice, Zeller, and Lawson) plus lots of rotation players. Surpisingly and embarrassingly, no recent ACC player of the year has made an NBA all star game. The conference that produced Jordan, Duncan, Worthy, Carter, etc. seems to have stopped producing them.**

The Big 12 rode two stars - Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin - with a good number of starters and rotation guys (Marcus Thornton, Glen Davis, Markieff Morris, Michael Beasley) adding points. The PAC 12 used the same formula, and scored better than expected, thanks to two All Stars in Kevin Love and James Harden plus some rotation guys (Josh Childress, Derrick Williams).

As expected the Big 10 and Big East, two conferences where players never seem to learn how to pass or shoot (with the exception of UConn) brought up the rear. The recent emergence of Randy Foye and Jeff Green were the Big East's saving graces. And who would have guessed that Draymond Green is the only Big 10 POY in the last decade to amount to anything in the League?***

* This is hardly the best way to look at player's impact. Kyrie Irving, for instance, only played 9 games for Duke so was never a candidate for player of the year, yet is an All Star. One and done players do not always win POY, though Davis and Wall did for Kentucky.
** An exception is Chris Paul, who in his two years at Wake was rookie of the year and first team all ACC, but lot POY honors to Jared Dudley and Tyler Hansbrough.
***  Michigan's Trey Burke may change that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back to the blog...and Wainstein

The combination of the holiday break, #dcRising* and the looming snap elections in Greece have prompted me to blog again, for the the first time since the World Cup believe it or not.

Of course, in the ensuing six months the big story has been the Wainstein report and the embarrassing academic and athletic scandal at THE university of the people in Chapel Hill.  I drafted two blogs right after the report came out, neither of which were good enough even for the low standards of this blog. But my few quick takeaways are: 
  • I've never been more embarrassed.  This scandal is deeper than just blaming football, though the timeline does correspond with FSU joining the ACC thus turning a basketball conference into another SEC wannabe.  How it could span 20 years is beyond me or any another UNC alum to comprehend
  • The silver lining has been Chancellor Folt. I was predisposed to like her since she is an enviro and it's great to see Carolina hire a female chancellor, but her performance and dedication to transparency in this matter has been inspiring.  Moving forward I am confident that she and Carolina will get this right.
  • Another silver lining has been, believe or not, Roy Williams. To his credit, when he took over from Matt Doherty he smelled something funny when he saw how many players were majoring in African-American studies (check out the 2005 national champs roster).  With Roy at the helm the basketball office started steering players away from that department in 2007, and there haven't been any Af-Am majors since.
  • No one knows what the NCAA will do, but many of you may recall that I think it would be great for Carolina to self-police itself.  Academically that has already started to happen, as male athletes (has there EVER been an academic scandal involving female athletes?) have to constantly check in with academic counselors on home work assignments, tests, etc.
This scandal has so tarnished the University that I'd support radical steps such as dropping out to the ACC and having Carolina join the no-athletic scholarship Patriot League, and give out scholarships solely based on need similar to the Carolina Covenant program.  

Of course, that is not going to happen.   

I did email Chancellor Folt about Carolina dropping football for a year, and surprisingly received a personal email back on that topic.  It was a nice reply, pasted below, and though we will not drop football I am confident about her oversight of our athletic program and the African-American department.  Go Heels (to class, that is)!

On Nov 9, 2014, at 2:56 PM, Chancellor Folt wrote:
Dear Mr. Manuel,
Thank you for your email.  I apologize for my delay in responding.  
What is revealed in Mr. Wainstein's report was difficult for all of us to hear. I am deeply disappointed by the duration and extent of the wrongdoing and the lack of oversight that could have identified and corrected these wrongdoings much sooner and saved you and our entire community so much anguish and embarrassment.

I understand your concerns about big time college football and the role of athletics at a great public university. Without question, our core mission as an institution is academics.  However, I believe we can offer strong academics and a successful athletic program.  In fact, I believe that athletics advances our academic mission.

That being said, we must do a better job of integrating academics and athletics. Moving forward, faculty will be involved more directly in reviewing our student-athletes’ eligibility and progress toward degree. We also are enhancing our efforts to align and enrich existing advising and support programs for student-athletes, and integrate them more fully with advising programs across campus.  Further, athletics director Bubba Cunningham began over two years ago to execute a plan to bolster integrity and accountability throughout the Athletics organization

This has been a very painful time for Carolina, but we have accepted responsibility and our leadership is united in moving forward with meaningful, long-term reforms.  You can learn more about the reforms we have implemented and the new initiatives just announced by visiting 
Carolinacommitment.unc.edu.  

Those who know our university best understand that this most unpleasant chapter does not define Carolina.  Our remarkable service to our state, nation, and world will continue to thrive.  

Please keep your faith in Carolina.  We pledge to do better and to make the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill even stronger. 

Best,

Chancellor Carol Folt