Two decades ago, us State fans suffered the indignity of investigations into Jim Valvano’s basketball program by the NCAA, Poole Commission and even the SBI, as well as a vitriolic assault by the local media and Board of Governors. (Click here for a must read that integrates nicely into today’s entry.) As a result of our self-imposed sanctions, we found ourselves suffering through the degradation of the 90s. By the way, the aforementioned investigations revealed nothing beyond minor infractions, and even then-UNC System president C.D. Spangler admitted that only “the spirit, not the letter” of the law was broken, and the NCAA found the University’s internal punishment satisfactory. (Read more about this here.)
Just imagine if we’d done things the way they do now over at The Flagship.
Some of my closest friends and family are Carolina fans; heck, most of them are even the rarest kind: alums. I don’t base my friendships on college loyalties, and in fact I enjoy the bickering and feuding with my friends and cousins. Still, I’m no different than any other true State fan, reveling in the public deconstruction of the arrogant elitism of the Carolina Way. The average Carolina fan will tell you that the only folks who care about this scandal are obsessed State fans, and I won’t argue otherwise because the reality is the average Carolina fan simply hasn’t been paying attention.
Since the Carolina Way’s poster child Marvin Austin (literally, see below) kicked off this scandal on his Twitter account last summer, the leadership over at The Flagship has done nothing but obstruct the investigation (sorry, “review”), evade legitimate questions, and, of course, lie. But this isn’t a story about Holden Thorp, Dick Baddour, and Butch Davis, because they’re nothing but spokesmen for the average Carolina fan, who has long championed the supremacy of their ideology. Yet after it failed them on such a monumental scale, the average Carolina fan has responded not with outrage but instead with passive indifference.
Meanwhile, it’s a “truth” those of us that endure Thanksgiving dinners, tailgates, and moments around the water cooler have long appreciated: The Carolina way is all hat and no cattle.
And the average Carolina fan could care less. They’re neither indignant nor embarrassed that Butch Davis hired the notoriously-sketchy John Blake and then went out of his way to build a system based on avoiding compliance. They’re not angry that Thorp and Baddour have shamelessly spun, stalled and redacted their way through this investigation. This should be seen as a disgraceful representation of the greatness of the Carolina Way, but it isn’t.
John Wayne said “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” The Carolina Way should have been that type of code for Carolina fans, but now they’ve finally realized they’ve lived their whole lives amidst a giant lie. And the great tragedy here is that they don’t care.
And when the dust settles they’ll have hitched their wagon to a horse that in four years has a single bowl victory and zero wins over lowly N.C. State, which doesn’t even have a catchy ethos of its own like Carolina once did.
Quite simply, the reason State fans care so much about the UNC football scandal is because, well, someone has to.