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An Old Article May Give UNC, Admins, The Willies

Very interesting news out of Indiana, of all places, where an old article about Carolina basketball may present some problems: apparently a couple of years ago, native son Sean May talked about how he changed a double major to just Afro-American Studies where he had lots of independent study classes - and that seven of his teammates were also A-A majors.

May said he took "more independent electives, independent study. I could take a lot of classes during the season. Communications, I had to be there in the actual classroom. We just made sure all the classes I had to take, I could take during the summer."'

Talk about bad timing.

Anyway, while there is no hard evidence, there is circumstantial intrigue: May's comments, and his Facebook link with Deborah Crowder, who has resigned, fit the template.

For UNC, of course, basketball is the Crown Jewel. They'll gut football if need be - not happily but they'll do it. Basketball? There's a firewall there that'll be hard to break down.

Again, though, the N&O seems to be building towards something. And may we point out one change which will not favor the Tar Heels: years ago, when a former Heel visited the newsroom, nearly every reporter - and a sports editor at the time - fawned over him.

In 1993, when the Heels won the title, the sports department abandoned neutrality, and according to a witness present at that time, celebrated openly.

At that point, UNC had the good fortune of dominating the N&O with graduates of the Journalism school. That's not the case as much anymore. After the N&O was sold to McClatchy, whatever you can say about them and we've heard plenty, their corporate focus is much less provincial, and we expect the newsroom is less controlled by homers.

One other point to bear in mind: we don't know yet who the players were who majored in Afro-American studies, but we're guessing that May wasn't the only one who spent part of his career under Matt Doherty's erratic iron fist. Why is that relevant?

Because of this: while Roy Williams may not be every ACC fan's favorite coach, he has managed to run a coherent program where morale isn't really an issue. It's generally understood that under Doherty, however, things were not as predictable or structured (we're trying to be nice here; you have probably heard the stories as well), and morale was clearly a problem.

What we're wondering is this: Doherty was never able to fully control the program and in the end, many of the players and much of the UNC family turned on him.

In a situation like that, where the program became essentially dysfunctional, and you could get a grade with no effort, would there have been enough oversight to stop it?

Which leads us back to another question which is difficult to answer: we can understand why a player might wish to take a course which required no work. What on earth would induce a professor to do it? If Deborah Crowder is involved, what was her motivation?

We think you could reasonably say that it would be one of three things, or a combination thereof: 1) self-interest; 2) ideology; or conceivably, 3) some sort of psychological maladjustment.

The smart money is on #1 until proven otherwise.