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Truth Orr Consequences?

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Robert Orr, formerly of the N.C. Supreme Court, says that student-athletes are being "used" by UNC.

"You let these kids in and put them to work 30 hours a week in an intensely physical job [as athletes], and then if they make a misstep we kick them under the bus," Orr told the N&O Monday. "That's what irritates me."

He also placed a certain blame on admissions, arguing that Butch Davis merely asked:

"I do think (former coach) Butch Davis didn't admit Michael McAdoo or any of these other players. All he said is, 'Here's a kid I'd like to have play on the team.' It's the academic side that has to review the academic abilities and limitations of these kids...This is what really angers me having gotten into this. This isn't just UNC's football program. This is a system run amok nationally."

A few points here: BS on Davis being a passive force in this.  Whatever McAdoo is, Davis knew exactly what he was getting.

Whatever one thinks of the punishment, and there's room for disagreement, no one is more responsible for McAdoo than McAdoo himself.  He may not have been prepared for UNC academically, but if he got the impression that they'd grease the skids for him, well, bad on UNC in that case, but who made the decision to buy the load of malarkey but McAdoo and his family?

And as far as UNC admitting weak students who happen to be gifted athletes, there's nothing new about that.  Years ago there was a controversy about a basketball player with a very weak SAT score, supposedly under 500, and after that a famous Duke-UNC spat as Dean Smith said that Scott Williams and JR Reid had a higher score together than did Christian Laettner and (if memory serves) Crawford Palmer, although critics shot back that Williams carried the better part of that load and that presenting them together was a way of glossing over Reid's supposedly poor scores.

As most of us know, an SAT score is nice but not particularly indicative of potential. Smith was defending his player after signs in Cameron read "JR Can't Reid," which was more of a pun than an insult. Reid was a smart enough guy to deal with college regardless of his SAT scores.

McAdoo? We only know what we read (heh), but the fact remains that he plagiarized and did so wildly. Punishment is a separate issue from the offense, but there's no denying the offense.

Should he have been admitted in the first place? That's a call for UNC's admissions department.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but there are hundreds of thousands (read that again and weep) of boys and teenagers in this country who get caught up in the fantasy that they will play major league pro sports.

The reality though is that those jobs are incredibly hard to get, harder still to keep, and don't last for very long under any circumstance.

This point should be driven home at every opportunity, particularly to families who are wagering their children's future on what, in nearly every case, is a pipe dream.

Make no mistake, UNC deserves plenty of blame and they're going to get hammered before this is all said and done.  But for every Milton Jennings or Charlie Ward or Shane Battier that comes along, tens of thousands of kids have no backup plan if sports fail them. That their families buy into it to the point of joining the exploitation is particularly sad.

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