April 08, 2004

In Other News, Hell? Frozen Over.

Perhaps it is merely an indication of how very cynical I have become, but this actually surprised me:

Heels release Curry
UNC basketball coach Roy Williams announces that JamesOn Curry, who has pleaded guilty to selling drugs, won't be playing for the Tar Heels.

Of course, I won't go so far as to say that it's because they are committed to doing the right thing. After all, it's taken them a while to come to this decision because:

Under university policy, an athlete who is convicted or pleads guilty to a felony is automatically ineligible and has his or her scholarship revoked, team spokesman Steve Kirschner said. However, "We don't have have policies [for recruits] like we do for current student-athletes," Kirschner said.

Ah, so recruits who are athletes in all but residence wouldn't necessarily be subject to the same rules? On what planet? Right, planet "gotta win the NCAA."

And then there's this, which probably explains UNC's sudden committment to playing by the rules:

The decision to rescind Curry's scholarship actually solved a potential problem for UNC.

With 10 scholarship players expected to return -- barring any early defections to the NBA -- a recruiting class of four would have put the Tar Heels over the 13-scholarship limit for next season. Now, Carolina is left with a three-member recruiting class that includes McDonald's All-Americans J.R. Smith and Marvin Williams, and is at its scholarship limit.

Ahhh, cynicism concerning collegiate athletics restored. All is once again right with the world.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at April 8, 2004 10:02 AM

The reason there was no policy covering incoming recruits was probably due to UNC never having confronted a situation like Curry's. I suspect many colleges and universities do not have policies governing individuals, whether athletic recruits or not, who are not yet enrolled. Many sports talk shows and news groups have stated that UNC was waiting for the resolution of the Curry case so a precedent would be set for the need to formulate such rules.

A final decision and announcement regarding Curry had not been made earlier for two reasons:

1) Roy Williams stated repeatedly that he was waiting to see how Curry's case was going to be handled by the court. The odds are that UNC didn't want to leave themselves open to charges of prejudicing Curry's case by making a decision prior to the legal resolution of the case, and giving rise to the possibility of a lawsuit.Considering the nature of our litigious society, this was a wise move.

2) Williams has been attending sessions at the coaches convention, which are scheduled annually at the Final Four. He has said he did not want to make any decision without first being in contact with the family. Both of those reasons have been repeatedly stated over the past several weeks.

The post-Carolina shenanigans of a few of their players notwithstanding, UNC basketball was squeaky clean during the Dean Smith era. There's no reason to think things would be any different under Roy Williams.

As to cynicism regarding collegiate athletics, there is plenty of reason to be cynical. However, I suggest that there is less reason to be cynical about that part of the university experience than there is on the academic side, as your fine blog and David Horowitz's Front Page magazine so ably document.

Keep doing the Lord's work.

Posted by: Phil Melton at April 8, 2004 03:22 PM