Priorities unchanged


In a recent Daily Tar Heel (DTH) article about the fallout from the Wainstein report, UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham was quoted as saying: “At some point we’ve got to move forward. And I think we’re to that point.”

As part of our continuing series, “Why we can’t move forward,” we present another reason UNC-Chapel Hill is only treading water when it calls on everyone to help the flagship “move forward.”

Reason #4  The institution’s priorities remain unchanged.

A scandal is supposed to provide a wake-up call. A historic scandal serves notice that the culture and values of an institution have been thrown out of whack and require searching reevaluation. Yet the Carolina football program, once again, has recently provided another stinging reminder that UNC has failed spectacularly to learn from its scandal. A new coach has been hired to build a defensive line (how apt the symbolism at UNC-Chapel Hill.) The assistant coach is going to be paid significantly more than our Chancellor, but that is not the real outrage. It turns out that the coach, Gene Chizik, formerly of Auburn, is tainted by his own alleged involvement in various NCAA rules violations—including grade fixing. (And yet another newly hired assistant, John Papuchis, is alleged to have helped Kansas football players cheat their way to eligibility when he was  a grad assistant.) Gene Chizik may be a fine coach and human being, but as one ESPN reporter recently put it, “a scandal-plagued program like North Carolina needs all the squeaky-clean coaches it can find right now. And Chizik does not come without some dirt.” What does it say about the institutional leadership at UNC that the football team would be permitted—at this sensitive moment in University history—to hire an assistant coach with such a shady reputation? Does UNC care so little about its image? Does UNC really have such contempt for the opinions of everyone outside Chapel Hill? Does UNC really want to be so emphatic in announcing its real priorities to the world? These are, of course, only rhetorical questions.



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