Barbrady mentality

Once again, the darlings in Chapel Hill get a pass. Per the N&O:

UNC-Chapel Hill will not face sanctions over a pickup game Tuesday.

The men’s basketball team played with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in violation of a rule that coaches are not allowed to watch pickup games during the offseason.

Division I basketball teams are also prohibited from any mandatory athletically related offseason activities through final exams, which began Monday.

The N&O report that Coach Roy Williams “knew he wasn’t supposed to be at the Smith Center practice gym under” — get this — “the letter of the NCAA rules.” He was, of course, allowed to beg off by declaring “extraordinary circumstances.” The NCAA, not always inclined to give area teams the benefit of the doubt or to bend “the letter of NCAA rules” to common sense and decency, of course fell into lockstep immediately.

“This was a unique situation and not an NCAA issue,” NCAA media relations director Erik Christianson said in an e-mail. “It certainly was a great opportunity for the student-athletes to interact with a presidential candidate.”

I will not dispute that that is pretty much how I view it myself. On the other hand, that is not at all how the NCAA has operated in like situations, when common sense has differed from the letter of their rules. They have often been quick to spot the unfair advantage, and one could also be seen here (the first commenter to the N&O story, in fact, sees that this was an unfair advantage).

The NCAA has been quick to spot unfair advantages before, but only when they had been inclined to look, an inclination that depends, it seems, on the school involved.

Update: Here’s another perspective on the issue from Jeff Taylor at The MeckDeck, who accuses the NCAA of “situational ethics” and says this incident is more confirmation that the NCAA is a political body, “winking its face off at a clear violation of the organization’s rules just because a political candidate is involved”:

Everyone knows — or should know — that I’m completely in the tank for the Tar Heels. Yet their pick-up game yesterday with Barack Obama, watched from the sidelines by coach Roy Williams, totally violated the ban on coaches watching players during a NCAA “blackout” period.

The N&O reports today that the NCAA will take no action because of the “unique” nature of the situation. Well, excuse me, but the NCAA is a past master of enforcing the letter of the law on countless unique situations, most involving absolutely no intent to break the rules or gain an advantage.

General NCS Basketball

54 Responses to Barbrady mentality

  1. Paramarine 04/30/2008 at 10:59 AM #

    Has the NCAA ever been sued by a member institution? Is it even permissible?

    I hate lawsuits as much as everyone else. But, it’s clear that there are damages incurred. The NCAA’s arbitrary rulings effectively reinforce problems rather than provide solutions. As in society, damaged parties should have a means to seek remedy. Does anyone agree?

    Or, we can move along…. There’s nothing to see here.

  2. packbackr04 04/30/2008 at 11:05 AM #

    if there was nothing to see, then why the hell did they plaster it all over the news media outlets…. the little piggies over in Chapel hill WANTED this to be seen b/c of course it gives UNC CH an advantage. If i was LEE Fowler i would make as big of a scene as i could over this. I would have a press conference called immediately to denounce this type of behavior which seems to be permitted for certain institutions yet not allowed for other universities. Hell why does the NCAA even have rules if they dont apply to certain schools.

  3. StateFans 04/30/2008 at 11:28 AM #

    Of course there is no recruiting advantage in being able to show/tell kids that their team is so ‘prominent’ that they get to play basketball with the (potential) President of the United States.

  4. Tar Heel Fan 04/30/2008 at 11:29 AM #

    1. What is the unfair advantage? The commenter at the N&O says there is one but fails to say what that might be. Given the divisive nature of politics I would say it might actually work against Roy if you talk about recruiting. You can argue national exposure was granted but does anyone really think UNC suffers from lack of exposure or that some 5 star recruit is going to say: “You know I was going to pick Duke but after seeing Roy and the Heels hang out with Obama I think I will go to UNC.”

    2. What like situations have there been to a Presidential candidate wanting to scrimmage with the basketball team at a school? I know some people have called out the situation at Ball St where the coach was tagged for watching his guys play pickup ball(and then lied about it) but in this case all of this was requested by Obama and as Kirschner points out(you taking notes Annabelle?) Roy can violate this rule time he wants considering the number of times UNC players voluntarily play pickup games, he does not need to do it with cameras rolling.

  5. packbackr04 04/30/2008 at 11:48 AM #

    whats worse is that Roy knew he was breaking rules and he didnt care. Its his wanton and wilful disregard for the rules that pisses me off.

    ok, so obama requested, roy needs to call NCAA, aprise them of the opportunity and get clearance. At which point the NCAA should have said. No Roy. this is against rule # 199192920-1i8-p1209-01324230232=3=2324 and you arent allowed to be there. period. otherwise, Lee should be calling Bev Pardue and asking her to scrimmage with the Wolfpack tomorrow. or maybe Hillary would like to lace it up with the Dukies. Maybe Richard Moore could play tiddliwinks with ECU. where does it stop, rules are in force for a reason…. to make it a level playing field and yes, most definitly some young african american athlete could be swayed(heavily) by the opportunity to play ball on a team that gets the opportunity to scrimmage with arguably a man that could end up being the most powerful african american in history. i would say so. how naive do you have to be to think this type of thing doesnt play on the minds of young recruits.

    Lee, we are waiting for your response to this? stand up for wolfpack nation for once in your life.

  6. packbackr04 04/30/2008 at 11:52 AM #

    incredible, Valvano gets chase out of town cause his players were selling sneakers (of which Jimmy V had no knowledge) and Roy breaks rules at every turn(knowingly) and the NCAA keeps jerking him off under the table. out-freakin-standing

  7. blackdom 04/30/2008 at 12:01 PM #

    Not to worry I hear Sid has Ron Paul coming in as director of Basketball Operations.

  8. haze 04/30/2008 at 12:04 PM #

    I see the issue but choose to look away.

    At some level, life just isn’t going to give everyone the same opportunity. A candidate isn’t going to be able to do this on every campus but it’s still a good idea (politically) and a good memory for the kids that do get to play. It’s also one more feather in the cap for UNC bball but, seriously, who can keep count over there. The sad part is that it would be a cornerstone event at NC State… where the headdress is rather bare.

    I’m glad the NCAA didn’t commit suicide here and I very much doubt that they’d have reacted any differently were the game played at State, Duke or Davidson. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to slap folks around for doing the right thing, even if it does fly in the face of the NCAA’s typical myopathy.

  9. RickJ 04/30/2008 at 12:06 PM #

    “Has the NCAA ever been sued by a member institution? Is it even permissible?”

    Jerry Tarkanian sued the NCAA basically for targeting him in their enforcement. The suit was settled with the NCAA paying Tarkanian and his wife $2.5 million.

  10. nycfan 04/30/2008 at 12:07 PM #

    What would you sue the NCAA for? Being sensible? I think the NCAA is a generally terrible organization that probably should be sued by student athletes for insufficient due process (just the time it takes them to make decisions is absurd), but this is pretty benign stuff.

    If you want to make a case for unequal treatment, it might be there, though I don’t know if any other case of a school being punished for having a pick-up game with a presidential candidate. In fact, it seems to me that the NCAA has taken a very different approach to violations since the mid-90s or so (the handling of the recent Baylor scandal comes to mind).

    There may be some advantage in recruiting if this story gets more than local coverage, I guess, but even if Roy had not been sitting in the room, in which case there would not have been any apparent issue, any recruiting advantage would will exist.

    The thing that worried me when I the photos was whether anyone had checked with the players to confirm that they were willing to do this? Was Hansbrough coerced in any minor way to lend his image to Obama’s campaign? What if he is a McCain supporter? But they all seemed to be having fun, I guess.

  11. Rochester 04/30/2008 at 12:09 PM #

    Maybe we can get Hillary and Courtney can dunk a ball off her head. If it hits her hard enough she might accidentally start telling the truth once in a while.

  12. Wulfpack 04/30/2008 at 12:15 PM #

    “Was Hansbrough coerced in any minor way to lend his image to Obama’s campaign? What if he is a McCain supporter?”

    My answer would be, so what? He doesn’t have to shake his hand. I’m not a big fan of George Bush but if I had a chance to shake his hand and stand beside him for a moment, you bet I would. Once in a lifetime opportunity, IMHO, no matter who the president is and no matter what your politics are. I’m a competitive guy and understand the nature of politics, but the one thing that disappoints me about them is the way they seem to divide us come campaign time. We’re all Americans, including Barack Obama, and John McCain, and whoever else is running. Just because I don’t agree with their politics doesn’t mean I hate them and wouldn’t want to meet them.

  13. nycfan 04/30/2008 at 12:27 PM #

    ^I actually of the same mind for myself, Wufpack, just saying that my initial reaction was to wonder if any of the kids were given a chance to say they’d rather not (which I would consider a bad attitude in terms of getting a chance to meet the guy but think that they ought to have the chance to decide for themselves).

  14. Paramarine 04/30/2008 at 12:29 PM #

    “If you want to make a case for unequal treatment, it might be there, though I don’t know if any other case of a school being punished for having a pick-up game with a presidential candidate.”

    It’s not so much that UNC should be punished for having a pick up game with a presidential candidate (although I think that they will gain an unfair advantage from this). I would make a case for unequal treatment on the basis that UNC violated of the rule that coaches aren’t permitted to watch pickup games during the offseason and the rule that mandatory offseason athletic activities are prohibited during finals.

    While no school has been punished for having a pick-up game with a presidential candidate (it’s probably without precedent), I can think of one that’s been punished for having a coach present during a pickup game.

  15. MatSci94 04/30/2008 at 12:51 PM #

    So last week there was an article in the N&O suggesting that there might possibly maybe be something fishy with the athletics housing issue, even though there is no information to suggest that anything of the sort is happening, but UNC actually breaking a rule, on video broadcast by news outlets, is a non story? I certainly agree that this shouldn’t be an issue, but you can’t have it both ways.

  16. packpigskinfan23 04/30/2008 at 12:52 PM #

    I dont like how UNC gets away with everything either, and I do see a unfair advantage in having Obamba playing ball with them televised all over the country… but what bothers me the most is that this is all during finals. The most important thing a student can do this week is to stay at home and study… and these guys are out there playing basketball. They are STUDENT athletes.

  17. TopTenPack 04/30/2008 at 12:59 PM #

    Hey UNC Fan, sorry if you don’t get much sympathy here. When David Thompson played a pickup game AFTER committing to NCSU, Dean Smith turned in NC State. The result, NC State had a undefeated season in 1973, but could not go to the NCAA Tourney.

  18. MatSci94 04/30/2008 at 1:01 PM #

    As far as lawsuits vs the NCAA, U North Dakota filed one, and some others (notably FSU) threatened suits over the ‘Native American Mascot’ thing a few years ago. UND and the NCAA settled on a time period for the school to obtain tribal permission to use the logo.

  19. one00_proof 04/30/2008 at 1:02 PM #

    I don’t think anyone has a problem with Roy attending the pickup game, I have no problem with it. This is a rare, great opportunity for players and coaches and honestly, any college in the nation would have taken the chance.

    The reason I and a lot of other people are upset is the treatment of UNC in regards to the situation. The NCAA COMMENDS UNC and Roy for essentially committing an NCAA violation in light of an “opportunistic” chance. Others on the more extreme end cite that its NCAA merely protecting one of its “favorite” teams and I think UNC fans will find it hard to deny the fact that UNC is favorably looked upon by the media and NCAA. While there is no substantial evidence another school would be treated differently with the same circumstances, history would indicate that other schools (like NC State) would be ridiculed by the media for clearly violating NCAA rules.

    At the end of the day, people are mad because the NCAA chose to protect UNC rather than address the issue. UNC should not be punished, but at the same time, they should not be commended for essentially violating a clear NCAA rule. Numerous times the NCAA has hard-balled numerous schools around the nation (Oklahoma etc.) and to take such submissive stance on a clear violation just kinda makes me question the system.

  20. El Scrotcho 04/30/2008 at 1:31 PM #

    It’s good to make note of the incident and file it away in the archives – but I think the whole thinking here is backwards. We should applaud the NCAA when it makes a reasonable call, regardless of the institution and file it away for future reference.

    When they make an unreasonable call, that’s the time to bring it out of the archives and point out the inconsistency. Otherwise the argument is that the NCAA should be consistently petty and devoid of common sense.

    1973 was 35 years ago! Set that burden down off your shoulders and let it go.

  21. RBCRowdy 04/30/2008 at 1:42 PM #


    Jump, jump, jump, jump!!!

  22. wolfpacker89pimp 04/30/2008 at 1:45 PM #

    unc can do no wrong

  23. EdMar 04/30/2008 at 1:46 PM #

    I far as I am concerned this is worse than being associated with Reverend Wright or having Hussein as a middle name. A Carolina Fan. ABC and ABB

  24. choppack1 04/30/2008 at 1:47 PM #

    So evidently the NCAA needs to make an exception to the rule:
    1) The rule which prohibits coaches to observe a team playing pick-up basketball does not apply in the event a Presidential candidate wishes to play basketball w/ the team.

    That’s what we’re saying here right? We all agree the rule is reasonable and this is the only reason it should be broken right?

  25. ruffles31 04/30/2008 at 1:53 PM #

    I don’t think this is a big deal that they played the pickup game. However, it is a violation, Roy knew about it, and still came. Was he thumbing his nose at the NCAA and saying I dare you to penalize this?

    So, does this mean that anytime a big time celebrity wants to play basketball with an athletic team it would be OK in the NCAA’s eyes? What necessitates a “unique experience?” The precedence here is scary. What if Tiger Woods wanted to play ball in the RBC Center this week with the team and Coach Lowe was watching? Would the NCAA turn its back on that as well?

    For the record, that is 3 known violations Roy has committed in the past few years and pleaded ignorance or just didn’t care. Oh yeah, he and the school didn’t get in any trouble at all for any of them. How convenient.

    1. Giving cash gifts to seniors after their career is over.
    2. Pickup games with a recruit with former athletes who are not current students.
    3. Pickup game with Obama during exams.

    At least the NCAA is consistent in how it penalizes each institution (see Ball State and Tennessee State). If NC State did this, here comes the death penalty!

Leave a Reply