NC continues to soil its once pristine image

(A look at what's happening in the Atlantic Coast Conference)

The sad part about the case involving suspended athletes for selling team-issued footwear was that, when the school was identified, most of college athletics just shrugged.


The school...the University of North Carolina.

UNC used to be a bastion of athletic success and academic integrity, while also maintaining a reputation of reaching those goals without cheating.


It could be argued outside of Chapel Hill that if you used the term ""lack of institutional control,'' you should include a Tar Heel logo as a prime example.

Let's look at UNC's "rap'' sheet over the past several years.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

*A major case of academic fraud, which took more than seven years to unravel and included athletes from numerous sports, including men's basketball and football. The Tar Heels weren't severely punished because of what the NCAA conceded was a technical loop hole. But the organization made it felt UNC had violated the spirit of the mission of providing a solid education for its student athletes.

*A tone-deaf head football coach in Larry Fedora, who argued against growing evidence that football and brain damage and injuries were strongly connected and that he worried about the future of the game because of an over-emphasis on CTE cases.

*And most recently 13 Tar Heel football players selling their school issued Air Jordan 3 footwear, which resulted in multi- game suspensions for the players, which included several starters or players competing for a starting position.

I've known UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham since his days when he was an assistant athletic director at Notre Dame almost 30 years ago. He is a good man. So are lots of people working at UNC.

It's also a great school, in a great college town, in a highly prestigious conference. But clearly something is broken in the NC athletic department and it needs to be fixed--sooner--rather than later.

Boston College: Both coach Steve Addazio and athletic director Martin Jarmond have connections to former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith and Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, who is now on paid administrative leave as OSU investigates the spousal abuse issue involving Smith.

Jarmond came to BC from Ohio State when the Smith issue was bubbling, while Addazio not only knows Smith since they both worked on Meyer's staff at Flordia, but Addazio also hired Smith on his staff at Temple a year after the first issue of domestic violence involving Smith and his ex-wife Courtney.

What did Addazio, who recited the mantra this week that no domestic abuse issues would be tolerated for football staff members at BC, know and when did he know it? It is an interesting question.

It would seem likely that the commission at Ohio State created to examine the Smith case, will talk to both men in the next few weeks. But then again, with a two-week, self-imposed deadline, maybe not.

Football wise, there is a feeling of optimism around The Heights, based largely on the return of 17 starters, including an All American-caliber running back in AJ Dillon and the return (from a knee injury) of QB Anthony Brown.

Clemson: How good are the Tigers going to be on defense this season? Consider: Coach Dabo Swinney has four potential first round draft choices--DL Clelin Ferrell, DT Dexter Lawrence, DT Christian Wilkins and LB Kendall Joseph in his starting line up. In preseason picks, Clemson has six of its 11 starters as All Conference (or better) pre-season picks.

Georgia Tech: A sign of the times: Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson is having his quarterbacks wear yellow jerseys during drills this summer, which is a change in procedure. The quarterbacks aren't happy about it because, it limits the flow of what they can do, but season-ending injuries in training camp can cripple a program. Too high a risk for not enough reward...FSU: New FSU coach Willie Taggart expects a strong training camp battle at QB between last year's opening game starter Deondre Francois and James Blackmon, who started the final 12 games and underwent a rough on the job training...Louisville: Quarterback Juwan Pass, who is replacing Lamar Jackson at QB this season for the Cardinals, will have a tough debut when Louisville meets Alabama in its opener on Sept. 1 in Orlando. But Pass is already earning respect from his teammates, being elected a captain, without one start. "A lot of times the leadership of the team goes with the QB position,'' says Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. ""But you have to earn It. Juwan has earned that respect from his teammates by how hard ..he has worked, how competitive he is and how tough he is.''...NC State: A good gauge on the status of a program is the interest in the off season from NFL scouts and coaches. Coach Dave Doeren's Wolfpack drew the attention of Patriot coach Bill Belichick this spring who watched an assortment of players, led by DL Bradley Chubb, who was a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos.[/membership]