Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Good: Rory. The Bad: UNC football

Opposite ends of the spectrum in this blog post, let's start with the positive.

Rory McIlroy's eight shot win at the US Open last week was a thing of beauty. Any lingering effects from his Masters collapse in April were nowhere to be found. It was good for him, and for golf, that he had such a week.

I take issue with the fact that people chose to rip Congressional for being too easy. Where were these people when Tiger Woods crushed the US Open field by 15 at Pebble Beach? Give credit to McIlroy for being better than everybody else for the tournament. The course was soft, and there for the taking. For EVERY PLAYER. McIlroy did it better than anyone else, including Jason Day, whose -8 total would have won 26 of the previous 30 US Open's.

Now, before we anoint McIlroy as "the next one," let's keep some names in mind. Andy North, and Scott Simpson. Both winners of major championships, accomplished golfers, but far from what many would consider legendary. I'm not ripping them, just comparing. McIlroy owns one major. Will he win more? Probably, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The benchmark for this current generation of golfers is still one Eldrick "Tiger" Woods.

Turning to the bad, the North Carolina football program has 90 days to respond to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations it received on Tuesday. Amazing that Butch Davis seems to come from the documents unscathed. That just leads me to believe that he truly knew very little (if anything), based on what the NCAA and UNC investigations uncovered. Either that, or he has a great poker face. This still leads me to a difficult area.

How does the Head Coach of a football team not know what his players are up to? On this point, I am talking about the trips and benefits, not the academic issues. Those are separate. The Head Coach is the guy, ultimately, in charge. To Davis' credit, he accepts the blame, but how will he follow up on that? I'm not taking a shot at the school here, just pointing out that these allegations are serious business. This isn't something that will go away overnight. The University MUST be proactive, and openly proactive in how they show the NCAA, their students, and their fans how serious they are about keeping all programs clean and above board. I think they almost need to go out of their way to show folks they mean business.

UNC alums that I know (and some I work with), were very embarrassed by this scandal. Some have even called for Davis to be removed (which I don't think will happen). The guy who is under the most pressure in this is Director of Athletics Dick Baddour. It's on him to oversee what should be an in-depth look at how to get the schools athletic programs cleaned up. Mind you, it's not all of them, but still, the investigation needs to reach ALL student athletes. Again, this is serious. It needs to be addressed that way. I am confident it will be.

Mike Solarte

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